Wall Street Post
L.A.’s Answer to Soho House
By MARSHALL HEYMAN
Feb 22, 2013
For New Yorkers in Los Angeles this weekend for the Oscars, there are several new things to check out, including an Isabel Marant store on Melrose Place and a power restaurant called Hinoki & the Bird, in Century City.
Slightly more off the beaten path, by the beach, is a new 5,000-square-foot private club and restaurant called 41 Ocean in Santa Monica that is building buzz and membership since opening in late January. Locals are labeling it the West Side’s alternative to the popular local branch of Soho House in West Hollywood. They are also wondering if it can achieve anything like the Soho House’s grip on the entertainment industry.
Max Russo, a 31-year-old native Angeleno who previously owned treatment centers for young adults with drug and alcohol problems, co-founded 41 Ocean. Mr. Russo grew up in a Hollywood household–his father helped discover Bette Midler and went on to produce “The Rose” and “Trading Places.”
“I wanted to create an old Hollywood environment,” said Mr. Russo, of the impetus behind 41 Ocean, “a place that paid homage to California, where successful entrepreneurial people and creative people could eat great food and be entertained.”
Mr. Russo started with 10 to 15 friends, who each brought in 10 members to start. Membership is currently hovering at 300 members with an annual fee of around $2,000.
Magic and comedy acts have become a part of the scene at 41 Ocean, he said. As of now the club is open Wednesday through Sunday most of the day, serving lunch and dinner, with a menu that includes typical club favorites like burrata cheese and tuna tartare.
As membership increases, “the plan is to open full time.”
Mr. Russo’s goal is to approximate “the old Rat Pack days,” he said. “We want to provide something to watch and to talk about.”