Catching Up With Pavan Pardasani on Tao Group’s Left Coast Expansion

Avenue. Photographs courtesy of Tao Group

A new level of hype has come to Los Angeles with Tao Group’s collection of world-class hospitality brands landing in Hollywood—and they are definitely delivering. With operations here in Las Vegas as well as New York and Sydney (plus upcoming openings in Singapore and Chicago), Tao Group has added the City of Angels to the list with a 150,000-square-foot project that takes over nearly a full city block at N. Cahuenga and Selma.

With the mission to create an all-in-one experience for clientele, the complex includes brands Beauty & Essex, Tao Asian Bistro, Avenue, Luchini Pizzeria & Bar, the Dream Hollywood Hotel and The Highlight Room. The latter is luxuriously equipped with a rooftop lounge, pool and grill, all of which offer stunning views of the iconic Hollywood sign.

“This is the first time we have brought so many different brands within our portfolio together in one space,” says Rich Wolf, co-founder of Tao Group. “There is truly something for everyone to enjoy, and we want all of our guests to feel [like they’re] a part of one community.”

In a city where sitting in traffic takes up more time than one would like, Tao Group’s new project gives the opportunity to hit a multitude of high-class, cutting-edge venues without having to travel to new locations. It’s a fresh, new social experience for the city that Tao Group Los Angeles’ vice president of marketing Pavan Pardasani (who previously served as executive director of nightlife for Hakkasan Group in Las Vegas), says will change the social fabric of the city. As for the design, it’s nothing short of extraordinary.

“Every venue has something really beautiful and unique to it,” Pardasani said in an exclusive interview. “[At Tao] we excavated three levels to create the grade that we have here, so when you enter, you’re in a one-story building. Nobody really imagines that they’re going to walk in and see really what’s a three-story building.”

Restaurant Beauty & Essex has two outdoor spaces—a first-time design for the brand—and the main dining room has double-height ceilings that offers natural light from a 20-foot oval skylight. The menu is glazed with chef Chris Santos’ signature dishes, such as Grilled Cheese and Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings, Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos, Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs and Tomato Tartare.

Avenue, which is known in New York for being the meeting place of many high-profile clientele such as LeBron James, Rihanna and Marc Jacobs, also has an indoor/outdoor nature to it. Guests enter through a custom glass and metal greenhouse before gradually descending into an intimate club space, which is connected to a semi-exposed outdoor patio.

Luchini Pizzeria & Bar is open for lunch, dinner and late-night seatings for all those who like to grab an afterhours bite to eat. Consulting on Luchini is Chef Alvin Cailan, the man behind LA’s popular Eggslut—which also has an outpost inside the Cosmopolitan. Corporate executive chef for TAO Group Las Vegas and Los Angeles Marc Marrone took over and completed the project.

The Highlight Room

The Dream Hollywood Hotel features 178 rooms and suites and is winged to the adjacent restaurant and nightlife venues by a pedestrian walkway. The Highlight Room, on the rooftop of The Dream Hotel, should feel like three venues in one. The daytime pool and grill, which turns into a cocktail bar by night, and a curated lounge space are all on the 11,000 square-foot rooftop set high above Hollywood overlooking the cityscape of L.A.

Pardasani says Tao Group’s clientele was eager for the nightlife and dining company to bring its energy to Hollywood. “A lot of our New York crowd actually lives in L.A. and comes to New York often,” said Pardasani. “So, coming into this market, while there is a learning curve, we found it’s a lot of the same guests we’ve been taking care of. … [They] were really thirsty for this experience that we bring.”

Bringing something new to the city while at the same time maintaining its culture was something that Tao Group found important in their L.A. launch. So, a partnership with a local team well versed with L.A. nightlife was an important thing to add to the mix. Avenue and The Highlight room will be supported by local group Horse & Carriage Hospitality, which currently runs Warwick in Hollywood.  

“When we looked at this market we were very honest with ourselves that we’re not L.A. guys, and we wanted to bring an entity on board with us here that really spoke to the local community in an authentic way,” said Pardasani. “We found in our success in expanding to Las Vegas when we did, [in] Australia, and as we will in Singapore, that having as many people from the local community to be a part of our project, the better we are set up for success.”