A Beverly Hills landmark is about to waltz into a new era.


The Regent Beverly Wilshire's Dining Room, which features live music and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights and has been the place for beautifully coiffed ladies and elegant gentlemen to show off their footwork, will be closing in March to make way for a nontraditional steakhouse concept from Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group.


Major renovations are planned for the restaurant, which features rich blue and gold tones, mahogany and satinwood-paneled walls, and hand-blown Murano glass chandeliers. Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP, which designed the Getty Center and the Museum of Television & Radio, is the architect for the space.


"Richard Meier's work is very modern, with a lot of very clean lines, glass and steel," said Don Jones, director of marketing for the Wilshire Boulevard hotel, who has not seen the design plans. "It's certainly safe to say he has a much more modern approach to design and architecture than what we currently have there."


Puck spokeswoman Jannis Swerman said details have not been worked out. "That is completely premature," she said, when asked about the makeover.


Alan Reay, president of consulting firm Atlas Hospitality Group in Costa Mesa, believes the changes may appeal to a younger crowd.


"There's a lot being built around restaurants," Reay said. "It used to be that restaurants in hotels didn't make money and people always preferred to go out, but now, with hotels like the Viceroy in Santa Monica, the Standard downtown and the Mondrian, with Skybar, it's becoming a lot more appealing for people who aren't even staying at the hotel to frequent the restaurant."


The Regent Beverly Wilshire is one of several local hotels that have chosen to turn food and beverage operations over to a third party. Others include the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which is working with Tim and Liza Goodell of Aubergine fame; the Mondrian Hotel, where the Philippe Starck-designed Asia de Cuba restaurant was developed by Jeffrey Chodorow; and the W Hotel in Westwood, which recently launched a restaurant developed by Star Group Management Inc. called Nine Thirty.


"It's certainly a trend we're starting to see in other high-end luxury properties," said Jones. "If you turn it over to somebody who is a true restaurateur, they can provide an experience not only from a food and beverage standpoint but also an atmospheric standpoint."


The as-yet-unnamed steakhouse is expected to open in mid-September.

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