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Rolling Stone magazine to open a club in L.A.

December 4, 2009 |  1:29 pm

Rolling Stone founder and editor Jann Wenner is going to launch a magazine-branded restaurant and nightclub in Hollywood. "We've been looking for the ideal opportunity to expand the Rolling Stone brand," co-founder and Editor Wenner said. Our business section reports:

Competitors such as Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe have taken embarrassing financial thrashings in the past, though both continue to operate.

Hard Rock, in fact, plans to open a large restaurant and bar of its own at Hollywood & Highland in May. Rolling Stone's joint will be smaller but fancier and, well, hipper, its creators insist.

"The food will be higher-end than Hard Rock," said Niall Donnelly, a partner of the magazine. "The venue itself will be for higher-end audiences."

Rolling Stone tapped Donnelly and his partner Joe Altounian, a real estate developer, to do the heavy lifting involved in building an establishment intended to appeal to both tourists and the chic celebrity set of young Hollywood.

As for the legacy of Hunter S. Thompson, whose political, occasionally doped-up rants in Rolling Stone helped build the magazine's circulation and change the shape of nonfiction journalism -- don't look too closely for it in the new restaurant. "We aren't going to have political debates," said publisher William Schenck. Instead, there will occasionally be live music, and, more likely, a DJ.

Sounds a lot like any number of other Hollywood establishments -- hardly anything particularly Rolling Stone-y about it. But then, it's been a long time since Thompson's pieces had bite, and Rolling Stone has been serving up the candy-colored side of pop culture for a long time now. That cover of Britney Spears? It's more than 10 years old.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Rolling Stone's April 15, 1999, issue. Credit: Rolling Stone.