The Regent Theater began its life in downtown Los Angeles in 1914, showing the first moving pictures ever made. But by the 21st century, it was in total disrepair; that is, until music promoter Mitchell Frank and his partners took over the lease and reopened it in the fall of 2014.
Now, The Regent Theater is a standing-room-only venue for the hottest indy bands around, putting on live music concerts that regularly sell out to packed crowds. But music isn't the only thing to experience at the Regent. They also present films, feature comedy shows and do private parties, as well.
The Love Song Bar at The Regent Theater — Photo courtesy of The Regent Theater
Plus, the venue features two hot new spots for eating and drinking. Prufrock Pizzeria offers Neapolitan-style pizza pies cooked in a 900-degree wood oven, with toppings ranging from Burrata and tomatoes to Italian salumi and fennel. They even offer a gluten-free-crust pizza that's made with a cauliflower crust.
There are warm pretzels; salads and spiedini (skewers) made with chicken, portobello mushrooms or Roman meatballs; and hearty soups, too. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays until 2 p.m., featuring skillet meals like Brussels Hash, Truffled Egg in a Hole or Blackberry Brie Pizza.
Prufrock Pizzeria at The Regent Theater makes wood-fired pizza pies — Photo courtesy of The Regent Theater
Also inside the large theater space is The Love Song Bar, open before, during and after the shows and featuring plenty of craft cocktails.
The Love Song Bar is a dark-wood enclave of cool, which actually has a vinyl record player installed, so that all the music played in the bar sounds slightly retro and totally modern in the same moment. Meanwhile, the cocktails take a decidedly modern twist, with names like the "Biggie Smalls" (a mimosa) and the "Beyonce," which is made with vodka, maraschino liqueur and more.
Both Prufrock Pizzeria and The Love Song Bar pay homage to the T.S. Eliot poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." How does that relate to pizza and booze served at a music hall?
As Mitchell Frank explains, it is a dedication "to all the frustrated poets turned musicians, vocalists and beekeepers who make honey. To songwriters who've painfully crafted each song that we relive each time we hear it. To the fans who can't miss a single note or lyric, are the first in line and first to rush the stage to get a listen up close. To the person in love – with the poet, poetry and the poem."
The Regent Theater is a new music venue in downtown L.A. — Photo courtesy of The Regent Theater
And beyond the concerts and other shows that roll into the venue both during the week and every weekend, there are plenty of other things happening in this completely renovated space.
Every first Sunday of the month, for example, you'll find the Rock 'n' Roll Flea Market set up. That's a curated group of vendors who bring music memorabilia, vintage instruments, clothing, antiques, jewelry and plenty of records to browse through.
There are food trucks and other local food vendors on hand to satisfy every appetite. While admission is $2, if you eat at Prufrock Pizzeria first, your admission is free.
So whether it's live music, comedy, cocktails, pizza or shopping that strike your fancy, nowadays The Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles has it all, right under one roof and right in the heart of the city.