Hundreds of art and food lovers bid a bittersweet farewell to the Royal/T at its "Greatest Hits" party Saturday night.
After five years of enchanting visitors with tasty treats, colorful art and Japanese-style cosplay, the quirky gallery-come-cafe on Washington Boulevard will close up shop in August.
"It's a sad but happy ending. We realize all the awesome things we've accomplished, but we also know it's time to move on," said Amy Lahn, general manager and director of events.
The night kicked off with speeches from past curators and artists who recounted some of the venue's "greatest hits." Curator and art asset adviser Amber Noland spoke of the success of her "TAG you're it" exhibition, aimed at engaging children with artwork through robots, giant puppies and other playful objects.
Eric Shiner, director of the Andy Warhol Museum, told the crowd that the original idea behind the Royal/T was formed during brainstorming session between him and Royal/T owner Susan Hancock.
"I never imagined it would have culminated in all this," he said, pointing to the buzzing crowd of people surrounding him.
Royal/T architect Kulapat Yantrasast said he was proud of how the space's architecture, especially the plexiglass-covered art - creates both a child-friendly space and a "look-but-don't-touch" atmosphere that gives it a sense of seduction.
After the opening remarks, the night of dancing and partying began. Patch talked to some of the party-goers to find out what they will miss the most about the venue.
Royal/T maid Kat Steel, who has worked at the venue since its opening, said she was always proud to take her out-of-state friends to the space and show them a little slice of the Los Angeles art scene.
"It's good food and culture but still accessible for so many," she said, smiling brightly in her Alice in Wonderland-esque maid outfit. "Oh, and the customers are some of the most wonderful, interesting people I've ever met."
Like Steel, Lahn said she values the diversity of customers and comfortable atmosphere.
"The best thing about this place is that we don't have a demographic," she said. "Everyone comes in here, from elementary schoolers, to famous art collectors, to the ladies who lunch."
Vincent Johnson, a self-described artist who has frequented the Royal/T for three years, said he will miss the uniqueness of the space.
"There are not many places that have a serious art collection but at the same time are so open and friendly," he said.
The word "unique" was echoed by many other partygoers.
"What you made here is absolutely magical," said video artist Lindsay Scoggins, addressing owner Susan Hancock. "I'm sure all of us can't wait so see what magic you'll bring about in the future."
The closing of the Culver City venue marks the start of a new chapter for the Royal/T. Hancock said there are plans in the works for Royal/T special events, brand partnerships, pop-up shows and exhibitions in Los Angeles and across the world.
To commemorate the end of the Royal/T's reign in Culver City, the evening capped off with midnight toast.