Dueling Piano Bar in the Works for DTLA

The lounge is planned for a basement space in a historic DTLA building
Photo: Official | The Reserve in downtown Los Angeles. Founder Eric Cloutier is starting a new lounge at 215 W 6th St. , also in DTLA.
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A fun and unique dueling piano bar is in the works for downtown Los Angeles.

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Eric Cloutier, owner of Emc Management Group and founder of The Reserve at 650 South Spring St., in DTLA, applied for a Conditional Use Permit to allow the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption at a basement bar and lounge being planned at 215 W 6th St. The 6,315 square-foot bar/lounge will have 363 interior seats and the CUB will also allow live entertainment and patron dancing at the location.

The new lounge will be a dueling piano bar, with a similar vibe as Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans, Cloutier explained during a phone interview with What Now Los Angeles on Monday. The piano players will entertain the crowd and people can request songs. It will be fun, he added.

“People will be having a good time,” he said. “That’s what we’re going for.”

Once he gets some more approvals, they’ll be able to start building the interior. It will be quite an investment to get it ready and built, likely more than $1 million. Although the timeline isn’t set, it will likely take more than a year, opening possibly by summer 2022.

“I want to open as soon as possible,” he said, but there’s a process to go through and that can take some time, he added.

It will be a very unique place, Cloutier said. The basement features an exposed rock wall that Cloutier plans on highlighting. The building has some historic interest as well, it was built in 1910 as the Pacific Southwest Bank.

Cloutier, who has been managing night clubs for about 22 years, said the location is unique.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said.

Currently, above ground, the building is home to the SB Manhattan Lofts. For the name of the underground club, Cloutier is leaning toward something featuring the same name, possibly The Manhattan Lounge.

Another project started in the space about a decade ago, Cloutier said, but never got past the development stage.

To keep up the ambience they’re aiming for, the lounge will be sectioned into areas that will be closed during the week and open up on weekends. It should hold about 250 people during the week and up to 650 on weekends.

Downtown has a different vibe, he explained, so they want to cater to that. There won’t be any long lines to stand in just to get in the door, it’s going to feel comfortable and tight-knit.

“We’re going to be a small town in a big community,” Cloutier said. “It’s all about the people.”

Sara Hall

Sara has nearly 14 years of experience as a news reporter and editor at several daily and weekly newspapers, including The Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif., The Daily Advocate in Greenville, Ohio, and most recently at the Newport Beach Independent in Newport Beach, Calif. Her work has included photography, writing, design and layout. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, backpacking, traveling and spending time with her husband and pets
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