The Australian owners behind one of West Hollywood’s VVVIP bars are set to unveil their next project.
Grant Smillie, the Melbourne-raised entrepreneur behind E.P & L.P, will open Grandmaster Recorders this year, as the group expands its hospitality empire in Los Angeles.
The new venue, set inside one of Hollywood’s most famed former recording studios at 1518 N. Cahuenga Blvd and expected to open in August, will span three sections, Botanical Hospitality Group executive director Smillie revealed.
It will feature a 130-seat dining hall, a bar set in a recording studio (open until 2am), and a rooftop, overlooking the Hollywood Hills, fitting 300 guests and operating seven days a week.
Monty and Jaci Koludrovic, the husband and wife duo behind Sydney’s Bondi Icebergs, will oversee the venue’s culinary offering, described as an “elevated tale on modern Italian Australian cuisine”.
Located in Hollywood near Netflix and Oprah’s headquarters, the multistorey Grandmaster Recorders will retain its original name and trademark sign, “What fools these mortals be”, Smillie revealed.
The precinct is already home to busy nightspots including Tao’s Highlight Room and Mama Shelter.
The original studio, which opened in the ’70s and shut in 2016, was used by No Doubt circa Tragic Kingdom and Kanye West, for his Late Registration album.
“It’s like every single year you have to go back to the well and create new points of interest,” Smillie told News Corp, from Los Angeles.
E.P & L.P opened in 2015 and is a key player in LA’s bar and restaurant scene, thanks to its celebrity following and Instagram appeal (the venue’s neon-pink signs “young and free”, “where love lives” and “pick up booth” are seriously photogenic).
Its well-connected (and heeled) clientele means it still attracts 100m-long queues on Saturday nights, including some famous faces over the years – Harry Styles, Justin Bieber and the young Hollywood set.
So what’s the Australian’s secret to success in the notoriously competitive West Hollywood scene?
“The Melrose Rooftop Theatre goes under a complete metamorphosis every single year so it has a new aesthetic to keep relevant,” Smillie said, of the rooftop cinema that operates above E.P & L.P during the American summer.
“Meticulous attention to plating, food trends and much more are all needed to stay on top of the game,” he added.
Smillie has big plans for Grandmaster Recorders, which he has been working on “for the past couple of years”.
“Nothing that is great is easy to get the right permissions for use,” he said.
“In the case of converting a recording studio into a restaurant and rooftop is no mean feat.”
Smillie’s Botanical Group will also open a cafe, S.O.L. (“Strings Of Life”), on Melrose Ave next month, with plans already underway for a possible second site.
“We feel that the US really embraces spaces that do many things and you have to think big,” Smillie said.
The DJ-turned-business mogul isn’t ruling out further expansion into Australia (the group currently operates Melbourne’s Ponyfish Island). “When the right project presents itself there, we’ll never say never,” he said.
“Right now, LA is our home.”