Business & Real Estate

Harlow’s Nightclub’s upstairs venue, Momo Sacramento, rebranding as The Starlet Room

One of midtown Sacramento’s live music venues will be rebranding early next month with a new name and a new direction.

Momo Sacramento, the dance club and bar upstairs from Harlow’s Restaurant and Nightclub at 2708 J Street, will rebrand as The Starlet Room starting September 6.

The lounge, which has metamorphosed several times throughout its history, was borne out of six vacant apartments above Harlow’s that were first repurposed as a cigar bar.

Daniel Romandia, marketing director for Harlow’s and the soon-to-be Starlet Room, said the newly named upstairs venue will pivot more toward live music and will seek to connect the two venues.

Romandia said the Momo brand has always been hard to tie to Harlow’s – many people don’t even know that the two are owned and managed by the same team – and its meaning has always been elusive.

He’s heard some people hypothesize that Momo was a reference to an old Sacramento jazz club, or that it was an extension of a San Francisco establishment of the same name, while others said it came from an Italian steering wheel company.

Aside from the vagueness and malleability of the Momo name, the club’s owners have sought a new direction for the upstairs venue for some time, he said.

When new ownership, led by Jim Cornett, bought Harlow’s and Momo in 2012, they saw the dissonance between the upstairs and the downstairs venues and wanted to bring them closer together thematically, but decided to wait until the timing was right, Romandia said.

Now that staffing at Harlow’s has grown to a more comfortable level, he said, the club’s owners wanted to choose a name that works well with Harlow’s, which was named after 1930s Hollywood actress Jean Harlow. Ergo, The Starlet Room for the upstairs venue.

The Starlet Room will retain the art deco theme that Harlow’s is known for, with some redecoration and redesigning in the works, and Friday nights will be reserved almost exclusively for live music instead of club nights, Romandia said.

“People can expect same quality of shows that we put on downstairs at Harlow’s,” he said. “It’s our second room.”

The upstairs Starlet venue may serve as a sort of stepping stone for artists who aren’t yet ready to play for the 400 or so people that can fit into Harlow’s but still want to perform in a setting with a similar aesthetic.

Romandia said there are still more surprises in the works, and when The Starlet Room is unveiled September 6, it may not be fully settled into its new persona.

The Starlet Room will be hosting an opening night party, featuring live musical performances by Th’ Losin Streaks, Dog Party and DJ Larry Rodriguez.

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Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.
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