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L.A.’s Conga Room to Permanently Close in March

The Conga Room is closing its doors.

The Los Angeles institution will bow out of the city’s nightlife scene after 25 years with one more final hurrah on March 27. Billed as a “farewell celebration,” the final night will be steered by investors Jimmy Smits and Paul Rodriguez and feature performances and appearances by Gilberto Santa Rosa (aka “el caballero de la salsa”) among other notable names (yet to be announced) from the worlds of music, politics and culture.

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Opened in 1999 on Wilshire Boulevard by entrepreneur Brad Gluckstein, the Conga Room counted Smits, Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez and Sheila E. as investors. The Conga Room became a go-to nightlife, special events and concert destination that boosted culture, music and entertainment. Over the years it has hosted the likes of Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Celia Cruz, the Buena Vista Social Club, Tito Puente, Carlos Santana, Alejandro Fernández, Jamie Foxx, Fito Páez, Justin Timberlake, Jenny Rivera, Bad Bunny, Maluma, J. Balvin, Prince, Ed Sheeran, Luis Fonsi, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Avicii and hordes of others.

The venue relocated to downtown hub L.A. Live in late 2008, and added Amaury Nolasco, Baron Davis, Trevor Ariza and will.i.am as investors. With a new location, the mission continued to focus on enhancing its tropical roots and cultural richness as the scene expanded to include genres like reggaeton and R&B. At one point, Oscar winner Foxx hosted a weekly industry night with his band. The venue has also hosted Hollywood premieres, award shows, panels and special cultural and community civic events.

Musician will.i.am, President and CEO of The Conga Room Brad Gluckstien, Musician Sheila Escovedo, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Actor Jimmy Smits attend the grand opening of the Conga Room at LA Live on December 10, 2008 in Los Angeles, California
Musician will.i.am, Brad Gluckstein, Sheila Escovedo, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Jimmy Smits attended the grand opening at L.A. Live on Dec. 10, 2008.

“The Conga Room brought Latin music to the forefront, presenting both international and local artists in an intimate and upscale setting,” said Gluckstein. “It also became part of the cultural fabric of Los Angeles, hosting cultural, political and community events for a quarter of a century. As we celebrate the closing, we pass the torch to Conga Kids to continue the mission of bringing music and arts to our communities.”

Gluckstein was referring to the nonprofit organization which serves approximately 50,000 elementary students per year across 14 school districts in largely underserved areas in Los Angeles and Orange Country. Core programs are designed to integrate “social and emotional well-being and an inclusive curriculum” by way of dances and music of the African diaspora, such as salsa, merengue, cumbia, reggaeton, authentic jazz and hip-hop.

Atmosphere at Jamie Foxx's Post Grammy Party at The Conga Room at L.A. Live on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Atmosphere at Jamie Foxx’s post-Grammy event at the Conga Room at L.A. Live on Jan. 31, 2010. The Oscar winner used to host a weekly industry night with his band.

Updated at 8:53 a.m. on Jan. 31: Jimmy Smits and Paul Rodriguez are investors and not co-owners as previously reported.

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