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Travellers looking for a glamorous Hollywood nightlife experience in Los Angeles should head to the newly opened Emerson Theater for a glimpse of the debaucherous, decadent days of the Great Gatsby era. Cascading velvet curtains, marquee lights, distressed hardwood and grand staircases set the illusion of an elegant 1920s theatre, while multiple stages spotlighting feather-headressed burlesque dancers complete the vintage spectacle.

Despite the amazing decor, the nightlife scene is the venue’s main attraction. Unlike the neighbouring theatres on Hollywood Boulevard that show movies – such as the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the El Capitan – the Emerson features live musical acts and the occasional star sighting. Its sunken dance floor takes centre stage as sexily-attired patrons move to the beats set down by DJs in the elevated mirrored-glass booth.

To sate post-dancing thirst, order up a cocktail such as the Watermelon Mojito (rum, watermelon juice, mint and club soda) and Jalapeno Margarita (tequila, triple sec, jalapeno and lime) from one of the two bars framing the scene. If you want the best people-watching seats, take up residence at one of the booths and banquettes surrounding the dance floor and opt for premium bottle service or tableside mixology.

Look over at the next booth and you might spot paparazzi magnets like reality star Paris Hilton, who was there for the club’s opening party on 9 January, or singers Chris Brown and Rihanna.

The club is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 pm to 2 am. Vintage-modern attire is encouraged. Improve your chances of getting in by dressing to impress and arriving early.

Caroline Pardilla is the Los Angeles Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes Carolineoncrack.com.

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