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The clubs where phones aren’t wanted

KANYE West famously rapped about there being ‘no more parties in LA’ but he could have easily been referring to photography.

Clubs and ‘it’ restaurants in the City of Angels are increasingly banning photos because, evidently, celebrities and the rich kids of Beverly Hills need privacy too.

In a city obsessed with fame and where almost everything is a photo op, some of Los Angeles’ most exclusive venues are saying no to pictures.

Soho House in West Hollywood, Little Beach House (aka Malibu’s Soho House), The Nice Guy, Poppy, Chateau Marmont and Delilah have basically banned photography.

So why are they doing it? And is it strictly enforced?

News Corp Australia observed the policy in action at Delilah, a frequent haunt of young Hollywood.

A guest who tried to take a quick snap of the art deco light fitting was swiftly told — ever so politely by a waiter — that there were “no photos allowed” (there is a small sign at the entrance to Delilah about the venue’s camera shy policy).

At Chateau Marmont, where this writer saw Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, Australian actor Abbie Cornish, and comedian Adam DeVine in the space of a day, the brunch menu states: “Please refrain from taking photographs”.

Australian entrepreneur Grant Smillie, who co-owns West Hollywood hotspot EP & LP, said the no photos trend “has been happening for a while and it’s with good reason”.

“In reality, if you’re trying to attract an A-list client base you don’t want (other) guests in their faces taking pictures of them while they are trying to relax and enjoy time with their friends,” Smillie said (photography, for the record, is allowed at EP & LP).

“This would hopefully have two outcomes for the venue … the A-list guests inside have a great time and come back,” Smillie added.

“And secondly, the paparazzi stalk the front door religiously to catch a glimpse of someone famous, which in turn increases the perception of the venue.”

This was particularly the case outside The Nice Guy and Delilah in West Hollywood, with paparazzi photographers staking out the entrances on one Friday night observed by News Corp Australia.

“Ultimately it all comes down to guest experience,” Smillie added.

“Nobody likes flashing lights in their faces and reduced phone activity encourages communication between guests.”

At Soho House in Malibu, even the staff — speaking on the condition of anonymity — said that they were frustrated by the policy. The venue is quite literally on the beach, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking Malibu.

“Soho are very strict on it although even they have become a little relaxed … but don’t test them if you want to keep your membership,” Smillie said.

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