Catalina Jazz Club owner shares restaurant history

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif .– A once bustling room with diners eager to enjoy live jazz music is still empty, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Catalina Popescu, owner of the Catalina Jazz Club, spoke about her migration journey from Romania to Hollywood, where she found freedom through the arts and created one of Los Angeles’ most iconic jazz clubs for artists. from all walks of life. It also serves as a haven for jazz lovers.


What would you like to know

  • Catalina Popescu immigrated from Romania to the United States and settled in Hollywood
  • Popescu and her husband opened the Catalina Jazz Club, which has become an iconic venue for jazz artists and jazz fans.
  • In communist Romania, she did not have free access to outdoor music
  • The pandemic prompted Popescu to launch GoFundMe campaigns in hopes of ensuring the survival of his club, which has been closed for nearly a year now.

“I left Romania in 1976 and I was very young at the time, and I always wanted to come to America,” Popescu said. “It was my dream since I was 5 years old.”

Guests like the late Mary Wilson have taken Popescu’s dream to new heights as the club have thrived for three decades now.

Popescu has attracted both emerging and established talent, providing artists with a platform to have their voices heard. Keeping her club alive in the midst of a pandemic means a lot more to her because of what she had to sacrifice to get here.

“Coming from a communist country, we are not allowed to have contact with anything from the outside world,” Popescu said. “But the only person I knew and listened to was Dizzie Gillespie.”


Sure enough, Dizzie Gillespie was the first act to perform at his club – and certainly not the last. Popescu said she hopes to continue to empower local talent through her venue, but is relying on GoFundMe campaigns to keep paying rent until live music is allowed in Hollywood again.

“Nothing in this world will bring people together like music. Nothing. People who love music speak the same language. They feel the same. They look the same. They hear the same thing. “

Popescu hopes, with the support of the community, that the power of music will endure at the Catalina Jazz Club.

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