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Versus Returning, Craby Joes Becomes Haven and Yojie Bringing Shabu Shabu to South Park

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at 12:09PM
Versus Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A February photo shows restoration work on the historic doors of the 1931 Stock Exchange building, home to Versus.

Versus nightclub could reopen this summer with new ownership, but first it must complete its navigation through the waters of amending the venue's complicated Conditional Use Permit (CUP). Kate Bartolo is representing the venue, and she appeared last night before DLANC's Planning committee to ask the neighborhood council's support for the project.

Also on the agenda were the conversion of former dive Craby Joe's into a new neighborhood bar named Haven and Yojie, a restaurant and sake bar that plans to offer shabu shabu at the corner of Olympic and Grand.


Located in the historic Stock Exchange building at 618 S. Spring, Versus opened in October of 2008 after a $2 million renovation to the building. "Opened" may be the wrong way to put it, though. After only a handful of events in the space, the venue was shut down for a laundry list of building permit and CUP issues.

The original ownership group went into bankruptcy, and the venue was purchased in December by the owners of a sports and entertainment firm based in Sherman Oaks. They've since put another $500,000 into the space, and Bartolo has spent the last four months sorting out the permit situation. Still left is the CUP, which waits on a Zoning Administrator hearing that Bartolo said likely won't take place until June.

The revived Versus plans to focus on private special events, with one or two nights of nightclub operation. The 17,000 square foot club's hours of operation will be from 7pm to 3am, with an occupancy of roughly 1000. Neighbors will be pleased to hear that there will be no outside queuing -- the line to enter the club will be located inside, in the lobby.


Bartolo also represented Haven, a small bar slated to replace Craby Joe's, the 1933 Main street dive bar made famous by Charles Bukowski. New operator Fairfax Partners runs Crown Bar and Winston's in West Hollywood and The Dime on Fairfax.

On the exterior, a rendering shows the existing facade with an Old English-style H for signage. Inside, plans are for a 1940's lounge aesthetic with leather upholstery and chandelier lighting. The space at 656 S. Main is 1,645 square feet.


Down in South Park, Yojie plans to bring Japanese fondue and sake to the northwest corner of Olympic and Grand. The restaurant takes over the Fusion Cafe space at 501 W. Olympic, a 2,500 square foot space that will hold 60 seats and a bar. The site will be the second location for the chain-to-be, which first opened in Artesia two years ago.

The restaurant will offer both shabu shabu and sukiyaki cooking, and plans to be open late into the evening seven days a week. The firm appeared before DLANC to ask support for its application for a Beer and Wine license.


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