Behind LA’s swanky destinations such as Mother Wolf, Bar Lis, and Desert 5 Spot, which have steadily assumed dominance in the Hollywood scene, is Ten Five Hospitality—a food, beverage, and nightlife machine. You might spot the likes of Beyoncé, Anya Taylor-Joy, Malia Obama, or Robert Pattinson enjoying any of the stylish destinations in the Ten Five Portfolio. Also offering services behind the scenes with expertise and assistance in branding, development, management, and advisory services to real estate developers and owners, Ten Five is tucking in despite the years-long pandemic battering of the hospitality industry.
In Hollywood’s burgeoning Vinyl District at the intersection of Selma and Wilcox, Ten Five has marked its territory with the Thompson Hollywood, tommie Hollywood, and Dream Hollywood, which all offer a unique ambiance and experience for guests. Thompson Hollywood is avant-garde and electric, tommie is California charming, and Dream is mid-century modern.
Ten Five’s latest opening, The Chap (named after Charlie Chaplin) is a traditional English pub located in Hollywood but inspired by the English countryside and neighborhoods in London such as Soho and Hampstead. Head bartender Daniel F. Torres serves up more casual fare, soundtracked by live Irish fiddle band Fiddler and the Chaps, or Britpop DJ sets.
Years of economic crisis has begun to give way to a revitalized hospitality industry, increasing demand for places to stay, eat, and congregate—and Ten Five has its sights set on transforming its corner of Hollywood for guests and residents alike. Flaunt spoke with CEO Dan Daley, CMO Kim Walker, and EVP of Brand Experience, Sebastian Puga, about Ten Five, the hospitality industry, and what makes an experience exceptional.
How would you describe Ten Five Hospitality in your own words?
Dan: Ten Five is a vertically integrated hospitality firm. We specialize in luxury hotel operations, world-class dining, and world-class nightlife destinations. Full stop. That’s us. Kim, Sebastian, and I met about five years ago working on a project for Ian Schrager in New York. We got together about two years ago to fill what we think is a niche in the hospitality market, which is a group that specializes in the three different disciplines that are associated with hospitality development. And that’s how we started, that’s what we are.
What was your first job in the hospitality industry?
Kim: I have been in the hospitality industry for thirty years, I graduated from Boston University with finance and hospitality majors. My first job was working for Ian Schrager where I then worked in every department of the hospitality industry. So front desk, concierge, housekeeping coordinator. I worked in room service as a room service department manager. Then I went into sales. My first job was at the front desk at Morgan’s. I then went on to all the different areas to end up in marketing. I eventually did marketing in the corporate office with Ian for fifteen years. I could go on and on, but that’s the start of my career.
Sebastian: My start in hospitality was during college. I was a DJ and a party promoter in South Beach, and that’s how I was introduced to the nightlife business.
Dan: My very first job was as a bartender at a German restaurant on the Upper East Side at seventeen. Das Boot. That’s where Das Boot is from. The Heidelberg. It’s still there, guys. It’s still there.
You guys founded Ten Five in 2021, correct?
Dan: Tail end of 2020.
You guys obviously have several great locations. What does it take externally and internally to build such a successful business?
Dan: It takes an incredible amount of coordination and creativity and good old-fashioned hard work. Our projects are—any hospitality project, if it’s a hotel, a bar, a restaurant, a nightclub, an event space—it’s the same amount of hard work, effort, and coordination that’s required to make it successful.
Sebastian: As creative entrepreneurs, our work is to conceptualize and create spaces and be the architects of how they are executed, operated and experienced. So to Dan’s point its hard work, dedication, design and review of every small detail, and that’s really the alchemy to execute on all of our concepts. There’s no magic wand. It’s hard work and discipline.
Kim: I would echo what both Sebastian and Dan said. I think, coming from all of us having a long history of hospitality and working our way up from the bottom and knowing all the different aspects of how to make any of these places run, we all come to know it, we dig in, and roll up our sleeves. We do go, we are there at every opening, we are involved with it from the smallest detail to the opening event to the way it’s designed to who's going to be DJing. It’s very hands-on and meticulous. Very very detail oriented.
Why do you guys love the industry? Why do you think the hospitality industry is important?
Dan: Human beings, by nature, are social creatures. We crave human connection, we crave connectivity, we crave each other’s energy. We’re social beings. And again, whether it’s a hotel, a restaurant, a bar, it’s really just an exercise in, how can you create a space where people feel a connection? Where do people want to feel a connection? Especially in the post-COVID area, where you were isolated to a greater or lesser extent for 24 months, confined to a very small circle, I think you’ve seen it. Human beings crave connection. We need connection like we need oxygen. Through that lens, it’s incredibly important, the hospitality space.
Sebastian: There’s also a connection to the subculture in any city we open, whether it’s a lobby bar, nightclub, a restaurant, it really could add to the social fabric of what that community and culture surrounds itself with. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing our venues taking part in that and having guests coming back two or three nights a week. If the venues can contribute to changing the landscape of the city we’ve done our part. To Dan’s point, we’re all social creatures. I think hospitality has and always will be part of the social cultures of any city. And I simply get so much joy from it!
Kim: From the other side also, for us, we thrive on it individually. So for us, every day is a brand new day. It’s exciting, it keeps the three of us engaged, always wanting to do something new, always pushing the envelope. How can we do something better? How can we make it so that people do want to come back two or three times a week? Starting in a new city: what does that city bring to the table and how can we even enhance that? So that when our guests are coming from other cities, to really have them experience what that city feels like, and where locals want to go and locals want to hang out at. That’s very important to us. That we don’t design any of our projects, or from a certain person. It’s for the locals to come and make it part of the fabric of that city. So I think that’s a huge thing for us, is to really feel part of the community.
What does it take to make an experience exceptional?
Dan: I’d probably update our answer a little bit. We design and create spaces that we would want to spend time in. You know? And I think that when it comes to the creation of a space, there’s an alchemy. It’s not a formula, like 1+1=2, or else everybody would do it, and everybody would have successful places. There’s also this concept of, sometimes people don't know what they need until you show them. Or what they want until you show them. Or you give them a space to experience it. So we create spaces that, first of all, we all enjoy spending time in. That’s first and foremost—we’d never create a space where we’d go, ‘oh, I never want to go there.’ That’s antithetical to the creative process. But, you know, we start from that premise and then it goes through so many iterations in the creative process.
Sebastian: I think first and foremost it’s that, it’s creating spaces that we all would want to spend time in.
You have locations in some of the most desirable cities in the US. What is your favorite place? If you were to have a night off, where would you go?
Seb: Depends on what city we’re in.
Kim: Any city in the world?
Dan: I’ll go to Desert 5 Spot. We love all of our places. I’ll go to Desert 5 Spot.
Kim: I would go to—well, I would go to The Chap.
Sebastian: I would go to Mother Wolf for dinner.
Photographer: Andi Elloway
Stylist: Gorge Villalpando
Groomer & Makeup: Hee Soo Kown
Location: Bar Lis