RMD Group (Rustic Root, Volcano Rabbit), which closed Side Bar in June, is gearing up to reopen the space in October. The long-standing club and lounge has operated in the Gaslamp since 2003, and gone through three refreshes in the past 15 years to keep up with the times. For this revamp, RMD collaborated again with interior design firm Davis Ink., whose extensive work in the nightclub scene includes local venues Fluxx, Parq, and Cake. Also returning to Side Bar is Shane Brennan, a seasoned veteran of the nightlife industry, who will take the lead as its VIP manager.
A new component of Side Bar is a lounge area, which will be opening starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Food will now be offered, mostly bar bites including ahi and crab-stuffed mushrooms, a poke martini, and jackfruit wonton. There’s also a menu of cocktails; indulgent and over-the-top options include the gold flake-topped Rich & Famous, The Duchess, which combines blackberries, basil and lemon with spicy ghost pepper tequila, and the shareable Champagne Tower, which upends a bottle of champagne into a vessel filled with Patron Silver Tequila, green tea, lime, and pineapple.
The nightclub side of the space will operate on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The bar and DJ booth have been repositioned, but the biggest change is an overhead LED light fixture custom designed by Los Angeles-based theatrical lighting expert Steve Lieberman of SJ Lighting. It extends arms of light over the dance floor, providing an intense sensory experience for clubgoers, while another light feature in the lounge area functions as an art installation, adding architectural interest.