Exclusive: Highland Grounds Tuning Out, Changing Name

highlandgrounds.jpgThe venerable — at times adorable — Highland Grounds is pulling the plug on live music after 17 years, owners of the coffee-house-turn-local-bar tell FBLA.


When it opened, Highland Grounds featured poetry nights, Shakespeare on the Patio, the Actor’s Gang doing a mock radio show, art openings, a storyteller night, a Jack Kerouac night and a nurturing home for the then-burgeoning acoustic music scene.

But success breeds success and the owners ended up partnering with Hugo’s in West Hollywood, opening a second Hugo’s in Studio City and a Hugo’s Tacos last year. In that time, Highland Grounds opened up a kitchen and got a liquor license. And all of a sudden, the quaint coffee house became something quite different, co-owner Leslie W. Brenner said.

“It seems the perfect time to simplify our lives and concentrate on what we think we do best. It was fun, but it’s time to move on. And with a full liquor license, ‘Highland Grounds’ conjures up coffeehouse more than bar. So a name change and some renovations seemed in order, completing what we started last year. We expect to re-open as The D!VE mid-January.”

The joint’s famous open-mic night is moving to El Cid in Silverlake in January, host Michael McCarthy tells FBLA.

“We’ve had many very talented artists who’ve gone on to land big record and publishing deals. Two artists who come to mind who have made it big are Tenacious D and Jason Mraz.”

Some last appearances this week include Molly Bryant and King Straggler on Saturday and Rob Z presents Sounds from the Holiday Lounge featuring Madame Sunset’s Burlesque Nutcracker and the Cool Fools for Yule, (Rob Z and Brandon Meyer,) on Tues. 12-19.

It’ll also be open on the 23rd and 24th for Brunch. After that, Brenner says, “Highland Grounds has left the building.”