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End of an Era: Mortons to Close This Year

Since 1979, Mortons at the corner of Robertson and Melrose has been the 'it' place for Hollywood elite. It's home-base for the Vanity Fair Oscar party every year. It's not Arnie Morton's Steakhouse. And now, it's history: Mortons will close at the end of the year and British hotelier Nick Jones will turn it into a members-only social club, the Soho House West Hollywood. A little background, courtesy the LA Times:

Mortons was where the likes of Michael Ovitz, Michael Eisner, Sherry Lansing and Barry Diller held court when they ruled the town, with a celebrity quotient higher than most movie premieres.

Power players would go there to be seen but appreciated the spacious dining area that allowed for private conversations.

The phrase "Monday Nights at Mortons," when the powerful would regularly gather at the restaurant, came to symbolize a Hollywood culture in which as much business was done over free-range chicken and chopped salads as was conducted in office suites.

The late producer Julia Phillips immortalized Mortons in her bestselling 1991 Hollywood memoir, "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again."

Peter Morton opened the restaurant, and his sister Pam ran it for the last two decades. People close to them say a lease dispute is part of the problem, which was rumored in March.

In January, Nick Jones will take over the space, and after a $5 million renovation, he'll open the Soho House. The New York Soho House was immortalized by the gals in Sex and the City, and LA saw temporary outposts during awards season. According to the Times, Jones says he wants to offer a private "meeting environment" for media and entertainment figures: "There seems to be an appetite in LA for this sort of thing." No word yet if Vanity Fair will keep the Oscar party there. UPDATE: Not only did The Knife know it was coming, but editor Dana asks: "Who cares?"
· Mortons to be a memory [LAT]
· Mortons to Close [The Knife]
· Is Mortons Losing Its Lease? [~ELA~]