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Townhouse gets new life as Bey’s mom turns 65

Popular South LA restaurant

Carol Ozemhoya OW Contributor | 1/10/2019, 12:56 p.m.

The legendary New Townhouse has faced adversity during its nearly 40-year existence, even threats of being torn down. The structure on LaTiera and LaCienega re-opened in October and it looks like it’s become once again the venue of choice for L.A.’s Black elite.

Recently, the historic site was the time and place to be in Los Angeles’ trendy Ladera district, as Tina Knowles Lawson, the mother of super star and philanthropist Beyoncé and her sister singer Solange, was toasted and sang to as she celebrated her 65th birthday.

It was a surprise for Lawson, who was once married to Mathew Knowles. The fancy feast and gathering, attended by A-list celebrities the likes of Jay Z, Magic Johnson and Angela Bassett, was organized by actor Richard Lawson, the husband of the guest of honor.

“Sixty-five and proud of it,” Mrs. Lawson declared on her Instagram account (@mstinalawson), where she also shared photos and video. She also said that her “sweet husband” of four years treated her and her friends to a spa day earlier. And Beyoncé treated her mom to her version of “Happy Birthday.”

The New TownHouse restaurant is like a cat with nine lives. Every decade or so, it encounters financial hardship, threats of destruction, but always rebounds. The location on LaTiera and LaCienega is close to the Black middle-to-upper class area known as Ladera. No doubt that’s a factor in its survival. It was once a sports bar before they were called sports bars, reports Soul of America.com. Large TVs are placed strategically around the bar and dance floor. It’s also been a true chef-driven restaurant for many years, with Southern Cuisine as one of its features. “The vibe,” reports Soul of America.com, “is always sophisticated and warm.”

Rosalind Pennington became the owner of the restaurant/club in the 2007. During its early years in the 1980s, a lot big-name comedians performed at the venue and it became a popular spot for the Black elite. Pennington continues the Townhouse’s tradition of entertaining what she calls “mature” people to enjoy fine dining, specifically Southern Cuisine, and dancing and entertainment. In 2012, she leased it out until she took it back over last year. After some renovations, it was reopened and the New Townhouse and the venue’s tradition of offering classy dining and entertainment carried on.

As to the Jan. 4th event with the Lawsons and Beyoncé and friends, Pennington told Our Weekly that Knowles-Lawson is supportive of her business. “It’s her favorite dancing spot,” Pennington said.

Guests at the festive event in addition to those already mentioned included Octavia Spencer, Debbie Allen, Norm Nixon, Courtney Vance, Sugar Ray Leonard, Kelly Rowland, Tiffany Haddish and Kiki Shepherd, among others.

They enjoyed $1,000 champagne, as well as shrimp and grits, macaroni and cheese, greens, catfish and jambalaya.

“We hold parties like that and we also have organizational meetings as well, and of course entertainment, “Pennington said.

The venue’s website is www.thenewtownhousela.com