There won’t be dancing at Gotham Hall after the weekend of February 10-11. The dance club at 1431 Third Street Promenade is closing after 14 years in business.
The club building, which houses two clothing outlets on the ground floor and has 15,000 square feet of space on the club floor, will be converted to an outlet of the Forever 21 clothing store, a chain that stocks discounted clothing for young women.
Gotham Hall’s owner, Renee Mizrahi, says the decision to sell to Forever 21 was “an economic decision. They came to us and made us an offer. We never solicited.” Offers had been made before by other businesses, but her decision to go with Forever 21’s offer reflects her perception that “[The Promenade] has turned into a retail sector.”
Mizrahi’s father-in-law originally purchased the building that houses Gotham Hall 40 years ago. “This is the original Odd Fellows Hall in Santa Monica. It was built in the 1880s.” Her husband Albert created the club’s design concept, using original features of the former Odd Fellows speaking room, including the use of archways as a stage and the former dining area as the backstage area. According to Mizrahi, Forever 21 has agreed to incorporate the historic elements of the interior into the design concept of the clothing store.
Gotham Hall began as a dance club open to the public with no cover charge, but quickly developed a reputation for its entertainment industry parties.
“I did a party for Bruce Willis and Demi Moore,” says Mizrahi. “It got into People magazine. And the TV show, Beverly Hills 90210, I did their first party and it got written up. These articles spread the news and then people started to come.”
Thanks to the roominess of the venue, great DJs and sound and word of mouth about its “scene” (Mizrahi says she never had to advertise), Gotham did great business, with long lines waiting to get into the club on weekend nights.
For the last year, Gotham Hall has hosted only private parties, including Lionsgate’s Academy Awards party in 2006, and corporate events and product launch parties.
After the last night on February 10 – with Happy Hour prices and free pool – Gotham Hall is scheduled to bow out with an auction of its effects on February 18. Up for grabs will be club furniture such as cocktail tables and booths, kitchen fixtures, lighting and sound fixtures, JBL speakers, a Squirrel computer system and 12 Squirrel monitors.
Mizrahi, who plans to go into charity work, says she is not going to open another club.
“Fourteen years is a long run for this type of business to be in operation. Clubs in Hollywood come and go in less time.
“I’ve had a lot of calls from people who say things like, ‘I met my husband at Gotham Hall!’ There’s a lot of history here and it’s nice.
“We love Santa Monica. That’s why the sign out front says, ‘Thank you Santa Monica.’ Because we appreciate the business and the community work we’ve done here.”
For those interested in special viewings for the auction, call 310.394.8865 x2. Auction items may also be previewed at gothamhall.com/auction.php.