Rrazz Room a hit despite recession

March 17, 2009 5:38:38 PM PDT
Who would expect in this economy that a night club would be a big hit in San Francisco? There is one success story.

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The Rrazz room inside Hotel Nikko is celebrating its first anniversary with a show of cabaret all-stars Tuesday night.

The Bay Area's Paula West, who is winding up a 7-week run in the Rrazz room, will be joined by the likes of Petula Clark, Rita Moreno, Freda Payne in a benefit performance for St. Jude Children's Hospital.

There are not many clubs like The Rrazz Room.

"It's one of the few places really, in the country, where you can see people in an intimate setting," says West.

The Rrazz room is off the lobby of the Hotel Nikko downtown and seats 200. A club like this seems like a risky venture in this economy.

"If you really asked me if we knew what was coming, would we have opened the club right at this moment? Probably not. However, we are holding our own. Could it be better? Yes," says Rrazz Co-Owner Robert Kotonly.

But, persistence is paying off. Even with their Union Square location, 95 percent of the customers are locals. And, they celebrate a year.

Robert and his business partner Rory are the two R's in Rrazz. They ran the Plush Room for three years and when it closed they created the Rrazz Room.

The Bay Area's Tim Hockenberry is on the bill and so is songwriter Paul Williams. "We've Only Just Begun" came after Williams was rejected for an acting role.

"In my life 'no' is a gift. If I don't get something I think I have to have, what I get is generally a gift. And, in this case it was a whole career," said Williams.

The Rrazz Room offers performers an opportunity to stretch and grow. Paula says it is a place to be challenged by musicians.

"You've got to keep up to their level or you're going to be left behind," she says.

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