The Conga Room Returns

The denizens of Los Angeles nightlife are fickle partners who hunt down good times in music venues citywide, not willing to spend time with just anything dressed up as a club. They want something special.

For a while they had a love affair on Wilshire Boulevard, where The Conga Room was the sizzle; a place to salso, talk politics and bring forth a multi-Latino-culture that was worn on a silk sleeve.  Alas, when The Conga Room closed in 2006, the denizens and the club took a last dance and drink together, leaving the clubbers wondering if the affair would ever happen again.

Club resurrection is coming soon.  The Conga Room is about to extend a hand to the habitues of Los Angeles nightlife once again. The clubbers, often playing hard to get, will ask will this downtown dance scene in new Downtown digs turn out to be a hit like it once was on Wilshire? Maybe, say the compadres of the nightlife,  but it must know how to lead.

I do, says The Conga Room, and this time I’d like to entice you with some dining.

This December, the Conga Room will show off 15,000 square feet featuring a dance floor, a main performance stage, a restaurant, a lounge, and a broadcast facility at L.A. Live. The music and performance will be booked through a partnership with AEG Live/Golden Voice, promising a stronger line up of acts that follow through with the Pan-Latin theme.

Inside, Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo designed the Papaya Bar, and film director and artist Sergio Arau completed the digital mural and sculpture that accents the Mexico City-Barcelona influenced space designed by Hagy Belzberg.

That same sizzle will hop the tables of Boca at the Conga Room, the Pan-Latin restaurant with a menu now being designed and tested by Executive Chef Alex Garcia.  Recently at the Wolfgang Puck test kitchen, Pan-Latin samplings proved to be taste bud seductions, with influences from the Caribbean, South America and Cuba. One of the hits was a hearty, seasoned pork chop caressed by freshness and sass.

"It's a collection of Pan-Latin dishes that will introduce everyone to a wide range of Latin influences while using fresh ingredients that Angelenos expect," said Garcia, sitting at the table in the middle of the Wolfgang Puck Kitchen.  The menu will also include tapas, pizza, and entrees like plantain-crusted halibut, pollo mojitos, plantain mash, and a posse of desserts.

If all of this successfully melds and The Conga Room clicks, the wandering souls of nightlife surely welcome back the romance back.  Maybe they will stay a little longer for the Hangover Menu that will be served until 4 am on weekends.

Can the Downtown Congo Room recapture the magic and allure of its predecessor? That remains to be seen, but early previews indicate that the reborn club and the nomadic nightlife-people will be together once again.

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