Though it became world-famous as Ciro’s, 8433 Sunset Strip already had an interesting history. The first nightspot to occupy this site was Club Seville, opened New Year’s Eve 1935 by 12-31-35 Marcel Lamaze and Al “de Freitas” (Alfred B. Freitas). Both had long associations with Sunset Strip clubs: Freitas had run a previous Club Seville at 8428 Sunset that was raided during Prohibition; LaMaze, lately arrived from Miami by way of New York, would have ties to 9039 Sunset as well as the Clover Club at 8477 Sunset. The highlight of Club Seville was its Crystal Marine Room, featuring a crystal dance floor with subsurface fish, fountains and colored lights.
Three years later, Lamaze opened his first namesake restaurant here, December 29, 1938. It was short-lived. In 1939, having sold his previous Strip venture, The Café Trocadero, trade journal publisher Billy Wilkerson commissioned George Vernon Russell to design a new building at 8433. It opened January 30, 1940 as Ciro’s, eclipsing all others as the “in” spot of the Strip.
In 1942 Wilkerson leased the club to manager Herman Hover, who operated it in conjunction with Marcel Lamaze. A devastating fire on June 27 1943 required replacing two exterior walls. After that, Wilkerson sold Ciro’s to Albert Griffith, who had recently built the Last Frontier on the Las Vegas Strip. But Griffith died of a sudden heart attack on November 24, 1943, before taking over. Herman Hover was then able to by Ciro’s from Wilkerson.
Many of the acts who appeared at Ciro’s were also popular in Las Vegas.
Lili St. Cyr’s performance in October 1951 resulted in her arrest on charges of giving an indecent performance. After a short trial in December 1951, Lili prevailed.
Under Hover’s direction, Ciro’s retained its popularity through the war years and after, into the 1950s, until financial problems forced him to sell in 1957.
Frank Sennes, who also operated the Moulin Rouge on Sunset Blvd. (formerly the Earl Carroll Theater), ran the club briefly as the New Ciro’s for a while. After that it went through numerous ownership and name changes. The building, with renovations, has housed the Comedy Store since 1972.