Since 2011, Playhouse Hollywood has been a staple in the Hollywood night-life scene. That’s why when it was announced on Instagram that its doors were closing, many people were surprised.
Initially, it was believed that the closure was due to the Coronavirus and the government mandated shutdowns but that’s actually not the case.
According to the owner Robert Vinokur, the legendary club is being shut down because it attracts a certain type of crowd–predominantly Black–that Hollywood doesn’t want there.
“We have a different issue. We’ve been dealing with the LAPD for two years. It’s been constant harassment,” he added. “Being the only predominantly African-American club in Hollywood and that’s not what they really wanted. He continued, “So they did everything in their power to make it difficult for us. Then, in the end, they defeated us by getting the city to shut down and revoke our license to operate.”
He also stated that they were allegedly told they “were a bad operator” and “no good for the city of Hollywood,” he shared. “Basically they never renewed our license.”
He also stated that this all started with Capt. Cory Palka. Once he became Captain, Vinokur alleges that’s when things between the LAPD and the club started to go downhill.
Vinokur also revealed that the LAPD allegedly insisted that they changed the type of crowd they entertained.
“There were a couple of incidents that happened outside of Playhouse over the last 4 or 5 years. The city of Hollywood did not want those activities going on,” he shared. “They went after us to tell us to change our format and not have any hip hop, and that they were bringing a bad element to Hollywood,” he added.
In a 2018 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Capt. Palka had a lot to say about the “neon club culture” and how the LAPD “closed three clubs (including Supper) in Hollywood that were a magnet for the urban crowd of South L.A.”
Palka stated “the vast majority are good people,” but “an urban crowd from South L.A.” brings gang members “from different neighborhoods” and creates “killings.”
Interestingly enough, Palka is also the same officer who kneeled with protesters during the Black Lives Matter rally that happened in Los Angeles, after the tragic death of George Floyd.
He stated, “If I take a knee with you guys, will you give me your verbal acknowledgement that this is a peaceful rally,” Palka asked the protesters. “We stand together,” Palka can be heard saying on video.
Once news started to spread about the closure of the club, a host of entertainers and professional athletes reached out, including Jermaine Dupri, Bow Wow, a few Ram players, and DJ Drama just to name a few.
As far as an appeal, Rob Vinokur stated that is an option but opted not to because it had become too costly. The last official day for Playhouse Hollywood and its 100 employees is June 25th.