Jeffrey Trunell was an actor who did commercial work in L.A. before moving here. He was a doorman at La Esquina when Armin Amiri asked him to help open his new club. (Amiri must have reconsidered once turning Trunell away from Bungalow 8.) In the time Trunell’s worked the door at Socialista, he’s been spat on by at least one person he turned away, something he says was “exciting in a disgusting way” — all part of the “fluid experience” of his equally enviable and unenviable position.
When Socialista first opened, there was a rumor that a little person was going to be the doorman. What’s his story?
His name’s Anthony Cumberbatch — he’s an actor also. I’ve always been the doorman. When I’m not working, he’s my assistant or protégé. He’s a host — he’s a great personality.
What advice would you give someone trying to get in who isn’t friends with the owner?
I want to let in people I don’t know. I’m not always in the position to do that. Just be cool with us. Don’t come with eight guys — there’s no way. Some people want to give you money, and they keep talking and talking. They’re never getting in. It’s like, “You’re really getting under my skin.”
Do people have to be working a certain look?
I don’t know much about fashion, but you know when someone walks up and they look like they know what they’re doing for themselves — whether it’s a cool hat or a girl doesn’t look like she’s shopping off a rack at Bloomingdale’s. You don’t have to get super dressed up, or you can. You don’t have to look like a total hipster either.
Has anyone ever freaked out after you turned them away?
I was threatened by a movie director who had a conniption fit and wanted to fight me. He came with two other guys; he insisted the owner had invited him and wasn’t willing to elaborate on that at all. He was very pushy so I said, “No.” He walked down the street and I was looking past him and he went apeshit — “What the fuck you fuckin’ looking at? I’ll fuckin’ kill you.” He was like a child.
Have you ever caught someone lying?
People say, “I’m a great friend of Armin,” and Armin will be standing next to me. I told this one girl, “Give him a call.” She pretended to call him. She put me on the phone with a guy pretending to be Armin. I was on the phone saying, “Armin, I can’t understand what you’re saying. Should I let her in?” I begrudgingly sort of admired her.
Do people stand a better chance of getting in if they eat at the restaurant?
They’re on separate floors, and they might as well be on separate coasts. The restaurant is busy — we can’t take care of everyone eating there because we’d be too busy upstairs.
Is one night easier to get into than another?
It’s pretty consistently busy. I don’t think one night is better than the other. Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason.
Does it help to come earlier in the night?
Yeah. We open at 10 p.m. — if I were able to get people in, it would be around then. But there’s no guarantee.