Like that old Gypsy song advises, “You gotta have a gimmick if you want to get ahead,” and going green certainly sets Ecco Ultra Lounge apart from your average Hollywood hot spot. But to its owners, it’s both a lifestyle and smart business. Co-owner David Stratton drives a hybrid and offers free valet parking to customers who do. And according to general manager Ian Ford, the LEED-certified club’s green elements save hundreds of dollars each month.

It all started with the infrastructure, when Stratton and partner Danny B. decided to give their club Tokio a green facelift, salvaging some of the beams and stainless steel, but otherwise gutting it to incorporate as many eco-friendly materials as possible including wood from a company that plants 10 trees for each one cut down, chemical-free insulation, low-emission concrete and low-V.O.C. paints, recycled denim on the walls and seating cushions, and recyclable Caesar stone for the bar countertop.

“We were putting paint on the floors right up until we opened a year ago for Halloween,” remembers Ford. “We had to touch it up every night because girls’ heels really kill the floor,” he says, noting that they’ve now found a brand of paint that’s more durable. They’ve also had to replace the original cushion covers, which encase recycled padding, with stronger fabric, but the original black denim remains on the walls.

While Ecco rents its space and can’t put up solar panels, it uses energy-saving LED lights, and even conserves in the restrooms, which feature low-flow fixtures, waterless urinals, and high-efficiency restroom hand dryers from Dyson Airblades. Its Turbosound audio system “recycles some of the energy back into the amplifier,” Ford explains, noting that Ecco was nominated for the best sound system in Los Angeles.

As for the bar menu, Ecco serves many organic liquors including Tru vodka. “For every case that you buy, they plant a tree,” Ford says. After too many broken glasses, the club switched to recyclable acrylic barware, and uses inkless thermal paper to print bills and receipts. Ford says, “It all adds up.”

Right now, it’s adding up to success for the club, which is a magnet for celebs from film, TV and sports. “We’ve had every celebrity you can name,” declares Ford. “Leonardo DiCaprio has been here a few times. Eliza Dushku hosted a film premiere party here. We just had the Game, the rapper, here and players from the Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves. Lindsay Lohan comes here all the time.”

Ecco has also hosted everything from Sweet 16s to holiday-themed parties to corporate mixers, and it is actively pitching green businesses for future events. “It’s kind of a mix between the green side of things and the Hollywood side of things,” Ford sums up, noting that New Year’s Eve will be a major bash. As they did on Halloween, they plan to put up a tent on the back parking lot so more people can ring in 2010 in eco-festive style.

Ecco is located 1640 N. Cahuenga Blvd. (just south of Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood), 323-464-2065,

Ecco friendly
From its organic liquors and LED lighting to its low-flow toilets, Ecco Ultra Lounge is setting itself apart from other Hollywood nightclubs.