Ruin at the Monte Cristo has been one of the most consistently enjoyable nights out to be had in the Los Angeles underground since it opened. Taking place in one of the few decent venues that has become a fixture for upscale Goths and alternative lifestylers, the club was at one time in danger of closing down. It seems to have bounced back with a vengeance.
I had heard rumors of the new renovations at the Monte Cristo and been curious for weeks to see how the décor could have possibly been improved upon. Between that and the noir theme for the night, I was unable to resist inviting a group of friends to join me for a warm up evening before the highly anticipated Edwardian Ball. So, we converged upon Ruin for a night of delicious escapism.
The remodeling was not as breathtaking as I had been expecting though it wasn’t without some useful improvements. The space was opened up quite a bit, making it seem twice as large. Windows were unearthed from behind a wall in the backroom. I imagine those will help when the summer hits as the venue is notoriously unbearable during a heat wave. Some additional seating was added, an inspired move as there is no longer seating out on the patio.
Unfortunately, the signature Red Room (which I have been referring to as the backroom now that it no longer exists in its previous splendor) was stripped down to a basic black. The elegance and over the top luxury that was once the hallmark of the Monte Cristo is no longer. Sadly, the place looks like any other club in any city across the US.
Thankfully, Ruin has enough substance to survive the disappointing renovation. It still has DJ Xian with her eclectic mix of music that never fails to enchant and incite the urgent need to succumb to primal desire communicated via movement on the shadow strewn dance floor. Further, the crowd now dwelling in the murky depths of Ruin is remarkably diverse and evidencing sparks of creativity, something that used to be the centerpiece of the darker scenes. I saw everything from the requisite dames in 1940’s attire to guys running around in ornate togas as if Rome had never fallen. It was very entertaining. It made me want more.
Another marvelous surprise was the improved bar. One of my major issues with the Monte Cristo through the years has been the glassware and the lack of high end offerings. In a town full of well stocked bars with extensive drink menus, they were woefully behind the times and unable to deal with the more sophisticated Hollywood night dwellers. I’ve been told that most alterna-kids do not sport the same tastes I have cultivated but I am willing to bet I’m not the only Elder Goth who has grown past a fast, dirty buzz. Plus, there is the undeniable love affair with red wine that pervades the scene. While I didn’t try to flex my inner socialite by testing those new bar limits, I did get a decent white wine in a glass that was full sized. Be warned, though – with those improvements came some new prices. Beer is still the same but cocktails and wine went up a bit.
We all had a truly fantastic time. I was sorry to have to leave before the Witching Hour, when the club starts to have a real pulse, but I will be back soon. Perhaps you will join me!