The Lounge – The Site of Britney and Justin’s Dance-OffMar 3rd, 2017 | By Lindsay | Category: This and That
If you are anything at all like me, you eagerly tuned in to watch Lifetime’s Britney Spears biopic Britney Ever After the evening of February 18th. If not, you seriously missed out. It was amazing – in the way that only bad Lifetime movies can be amazing. The two-hour made-for-television flick chronicled a decade of the pop star’s life in the spotlight, from her rise to fame with the release of 1998’s . . . Baby One More Time, through her many turbulent years, ending with her 2008 comeback. The moment I was most excited to see re-created was the infamous dance-off that took place between Britney and ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake in 2002. The scene did not disappoint – and got me interested in tracking down the spot where the real life event occurred. Due to the highly transitional nature of the nightclub business, though, it required quite a bit of legwork to do so.
Thanks to the place’s non-distinctive moniker, a Google search for “The Lounge” and “Los Angeles” did not provide much information. Adding “Britney Spears” into the search mix didn’t help. But when I swapped out her name for Justin’s, I started to make headway. Kicked back was a link to this 2003 MTV.com article which mentioned that the former *NSYNC-er was partnering with The Lounge owners Art and Allan Davis to open dim sum restaurant Chi. From there, I began searching for “The Lounge,” “Los Angeles,” and “Art and Allan Davis” and was finally yielded this 2002 image of actor Lukas Haas standing outside of the club. Though The Lounge was not visible in the photo, another restaurant was. While looking at the picture, I spotted the instantly identifiable yellow-paneling and green awning of Dan Tana’s in the background. The West Hollywood eatery has been a landmark since it was originally established in 1964 and the Grim Cheaper and I have dined there on several occasions, so I recognized it immediately. From there, it was not hard to discern that The Lounge was formerly located just west of Dan Tana’s at 9077 North Santa Monica Boulevard.
The Lounge saw its beginnings in January 1999 when the Davis brothers purchased La Masia, a decades-old Spanish restaurant/nightclub. The duo eventually revamped the site, re-opening it as the Latin Lounge in 2001.
The place was an instant hit with the Hollywood set, attracting such stars as Sarah Jessica Parker, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid, and Ricky Martin in its first months of operation.
The two-level supper club, which eventually dropped the “Latin” from its name, featured a small dance floor, live music, furry sconces (yes, you read that right – the light fixtures were apparently covered in fur), a leopard print bar, a chandelier that scaled two stories, colorful murals, and a mirrored mezzanine.
It was not long before The Lounge was the place to see and be seen with the likes of Matthew Perry, Hank Azaria, Hilary Swank, Melissa Joan Hart, Nicole Richie, Gisele Bündchen, Demi Moore, Brittany Murphy, Dean Cain, Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton, Ethan Embry, and Tiffany Amber Thiessen all popping in regularly. Oh yes, and Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.
As reported at the time by Us Weekly, on August 1st, 2002, nearly 5 months after their split, Britney and Justin ran into each other at The Lounge. Britney reportedly got upset with Justin for dancing with his new flame, Jenna Dewan – yes, the Jenna Dewan that went on to marry Channing Tatum – and it resulted in a 90-minute dance-off between the former couple and their respective entourages. Britney later denied the report, but by then it had already become the stuff of pop culture legend. Britney Ever After’s depiction of the moment (pictured below) was absolutely delicious and completely ridiculous at the same time. Though I believe it was a fairly realistic re-creation of what actually happened that night. I mean, I can’t imagine a dance-off scenario that isn’t completely ridiculous. While researching this post, I came across two images (you can see them here and here) that show Britney leaving The Lounge I believe on the night in question. Though dated August 2nd, 2002, the day following the alleged dance-off, I am guessing by the time she left the club, it was after midnight the next morning.
Though The Lounge had a pretty good run, as is typical of most nightclubs, it did not last. By 2005, the site had become Lobby. When Lobby closed, the space was transformed into Foxtail, which was owned in part by Brett Ratner, and then later Mi-6. All three clubs were insanely popular with celebrities during their brief tenures.
The exterior of the property changed considerably during those ensuing years. At the time that The Lounge was in existence, the exterior was Spanish in style, as you can see here, here, and here. By 2008, the style had shifted to Art Deco and the building was covered with a screened façade.
In 2011, the space underwent an even more drastic remodel. As you can see in the Google Street View images below from April and July of that year, the property was taken down to the studs and completely rebuilt before re-opening as Italian eatery Mercato di Vetro. So, sadly, the building no longer looks anything like it did the night of Britney and Justin’s dance-off.
Today, the site houses a restaurant/club named Doheny Room.
Much like its predecessors, Doheny Room is a major celebrity hot spot, attracting the likes of David Spade, Chris Brown, Vanessa Hudgens, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and The Game on any given night.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Lounge, aka the site of Britney and Justin’s infamous 2002 dance-off, was formerly located at 9077 North Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. The locale is now the site of Doheny Room.