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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: 'Resident' In The Arts District Is L.A.'s Newest Music Venue

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Resident, Los Angeles' newest live music venue in the Arts District, is a laid-back and funky destination to catch up-and-coming bands, while sipping craft cocktails and beer.

The new venue—which opens to the public today—offers a cool alternative for seeing live acts, as well as a welcoming space to kick back for an afternoon. The thoughtfully designed, multi-purpose space offers an indoor area with an intimate stage, DJ booth and lengthy bar, as well as a spacious outdoor beer garden with a bar in a vintage Airstream and a landing pad for food trucks, so you can drink and grub at the same time. Created by music industry vets and longtime Arts District locals, Resident is a charming and rustic haven for music-lovers, artists and musicians, and anyone looking for a new chill spot in the neighborhood.

"Working in music, managing bands and labels, I've always dreamt of having my own place where I can have my favorite bands play," Larry Little, one of the partners behind Resident who will help develop the programming, tells LAist. "Because of the nature of the place, we're not about 'tickets, tickets, tickets,' this can be a place where you can come to discover music."

Little partnered with architect Jacek Ostoya, Paul Oberman and Tim Kreihbel, who purchased the building that houses Resident in 2000 with his wife, Bridget, and has lived there since. They also brought on board, Duncan Smith (formerly of Spaceland Productions/The Echo) to help with booking acts for the show, which will include musicians, as well as other performers, including DJs, comedians and more.

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"My basic philosophy is to be as diverse and inclusive as possible with all of the various genres and subcultures around L.A.," Smith tells LAist. "Our core business will be touring bands—both national and international—but it's also very important to me to book local acts, themed DJ nights and stuff like that to lower the barrier of entry for people."

Smith also says they already have a few monthly series planned, including a '50s to '60s retro rock and soul night on Sundays, a slow dance night with bands covering classic ballads, and a Tuesday night residency series. The first residency kicks off with Brainstory, an Inland Empire-based group with a heavy psychedelic and jazz influence.

The 1904 building was previously used by Kreihbel as an automotive restoration shop for vintage Woodies and motorcycles, as well as a machine workshop for artists. So, Ostoya, Resident's designer, took cues from the previous incarnation, "We kept the I-beams, and we've added perforated metal, a custom cast aluminum bar-front that's meant to evoke a piece of machinery, and lots of solid brass plates, Ostoya tells LAist. So, there's a mix of industrial and automotive elements."

You'll enter Resident through the outdoor space, where you'll encounter the Airstream bar—a nod to the several trailers that once served as places for the machine shop's artists to stay. There's also a spot for a food truck or other vendors to set up within the space. The large patio features concrete platforms—that can be cleverly heated from beneath—with benches wrapped around. There's also plenty of beer garden benches and tables, as well as cacti, succulents and small trees, which give the space an Austin, Texas vibe. Eventually they plan to offer coffee and Wi-Fi, so you can come during the day, hang out, grab a beer and maybe catch a show later.

Once inside, you'll find a long bar that stretches down towards the small, slightly elevated stage with a huge fishbowl-like window to the street outside. In a few corners, there are banquettes, which were custom upholstered by the craftsman who once restored cars here. There's also an elevated DJ booth on one side. Forgoing the trendy Edison bulbs found just about everywhere, Ostoya tracked down an artist to custom design special neon lights, which can be found hanging throughout. You'll find other thoughtful flourishes as well, like the bespoke wallpaper—featuring nods to the neighborhood and the venue—and a vintage pig trough that now serves as the unisex sink.

At the bars, you'll find a wide selection of craft beers—including taps that run from a state-of-the-art keg room outside. You'll also find an impressive cocktail menu—designed by Randy Tarlow of Liquid Alchemist—so you'll have more options than just your typical rum and Cokes or gin and tonics.

As they dive into their opening weekend, the team behind Resident has planned a lot for the space, with an eclectic line-up, and the possibility of a smaller, more intimate stage on the rooftop further down the road. They not only plan to offer a residency for artists, but also intend to be residents for the long haul.

We want it to feel like we're a real fixture, we're not going away, and we're here to stay as a part of the community, Little explains. "We want it to be a place where art is showcased and not run out of the neighborhood."

Residentis located at 428 S. Hewitt St., Arts District. The grand opening, featuring Mystery Skulls and Wes Period, is sold out, but they will be announcing upcoming shows on their site shortly.