John Terzian at one of his many venues, the Nice Guy
H. Wood Group
On the outside looking in, Los Angeles’ upscale nightlife can seem pretentious and business-driven, concerned mostly with big names, bottle service and bottom lines. A lot of it is. But for one of the biggest players in the game, it’s quite the opposite. It’s about long-held friendships (OK, a lot of them with famous people), creating welcoming environments and paying attention to even the most minute details within them.
With his nightlife company the H. Wood Group, John Terzian helms a handful of L.A.’s hottest nightclubs and restaurants, among them Bootsy Bellows (with David Arquette), the Nice Guy, Delilah, Shore Bar in Santa Monica and newish live-music spot the Peppermint Club. It took a lot of struggle and sacrifice to get where he is now, but savoring the sweetness of success doesn’t mean he’s about to slow down.
Terzian’s career path started with the relationships he established growing up in the Westwood area of L.A., attending first the private Harvard-Westlake school, then USC. “I basically built my whole business mentality and framework around catering to the people I grew up with,” the 37-year-old tells me on a warm summer evening over dinner at the Nice Guy, his restaurant and lounge on La Cienega Boulevard.
At USC he almost had a career as a quarterback in football, until he got “too many concussions” and had to stop playing. But he was good at recruiting. “They would have me talk to players who wanted to come in, so I would find a restaurant that wasn’t doing well and take it over for the night and fill it with people to do…
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