Haute Street sits down with John Terzian, nightlife guru & owner/founder of H.WOOD group. John is the man behind many of Los Angeles’ #1 hot spots, including: SHOREbar, Bootsy Bellows & Hooray Henry’s to name a few. We picked his brain about local (& now expanding) entrepreneurship and his secrets in pushing the nightlife barometer. Some of our favorite anecdotes include his advice to “KEEP GOING,” his passion for doing what you love and to stay involved in what is right as he plays an active role in philanthropy through the GiveLove Foundation. #CHECKIT
Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you grew up.
I grew up in Los Angeles with an older brother and a big extended family. I stayed here my whole life through high school, college and law school. The company I have built is very reflective of my upbringing (family, friends, city etc.).
How did you get into the entertainment business?
It’s a combination of a few things. I have been an artist my whole life, yet also had a passion for business. I fell into the business I am currently in by just throwing events in college. The reason I was different was because I created different spaces for the kids to go to and always loved combining different groups of people. Over the years I built that into a business and eventually opened my own establishment.
What kind of crowd can our viewers expect at one of your venues?
Always expect a wide variety of people but overall have an underlying similarity of shared appreciation for art and/or decor.
We heard that you play an active role in philanthropy & are a member on the board of GiveLove. Can you tell us a little more about your passion project?
I have always had a charitable side and over the past few years I have been able to use my business side to help different charities. I am active with Children's Hospital, GiveLove and Imagine LA. I am undertaking my biggest charity project to date with Imagine LA by launching their first "Imagine Ball" which is basically a concert to raise money for the organization, in which is aimed at getting families off the streets. This concert is important because it will draw people in to donate money and support without having to spend a fortune on the typical banquet dinner.
How are you & the h.wood group constantly pushing the nightlife barometer, keeping your venues a constant hot spot?
It is about always staying fresh with new events, musical acts and groups of people. We are constantly searching for new things to be in the venues.
Do you have a favorite venue under the h.wood group at this moment?
SHOREbar is kind of my baby for a lot of reasons but primarily because I wanted a small bar just for my friends and family since I grew up in the area. Two and a half years ago we took an old run down dive bar and turned into a little gathering place for the locals and called it SHOREbar - it has turned into a much bigger deal than I ever anticipated. I enjoy going there because it is a very personable and hands on experience with customers.
We are familiar with Bootsy Bellows in Los Angeles. Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about a new “home-away-from-home” for Bootsy Bellows in Aspen. Can you tell us about it?
We opened Bootsy Bellows in Aspen (on Hopkins Ave) over the holidays and it has been a great new place for the town. It is in the basement of a building (formerly a restaurant) right in the heart of Aspen. It is also a restaurant and more of the lounge version of Bootsy Bellows.
When opening a new restaurant/venue where do you draw your inspiration in their overall interior design and aesthetic?
A lot of it comes from my art background and knowledge mixed with what is going in the city or time or where I think it will be headed. For example, Hooray Henry's was because I was spending so much time with my UK based friends and appreciated their style and culture. I created a world around it. I did the same thing with SHOREbar and Bootsys Bellows. Then I work hand in hand with my design team as they then collaborate with me to make that vision come to life.
What’s on your playlist right now?
A lot of Drake. Also Aloe Blacc, Florence and the Machine, and Bastille.
Best advice someone has giving you that has kept you going and growing?
What gets you up for work every day?
The thrill of it all...I genuinely love the business.
Best place for a business lunch?
Idea of happiness?
Doing the right thing always.
Your favorite place that you’ve ever traveled to?
What are some things viewers can look forward to in Spring/Summer 2014?
A new space for me that will be the new form of nightlife in LA which is more of the hybrid lounge/club experience.