Kiss the Girls: Is Nepenthe a Real Nightclub in Los Angeles?

After Dr. William Rudolph becomes a person of interest in the missing women case in ‘Kiss the Girls,’ Detective Alex Cross and Dr. Kate McTiernan follow him to the Nepenthe nightclub in Durham, North Carolina. Suspicious that Rudolph is a serial killer called the Gentleman Caller, the two keep an eye on him with the intent of discovering his ties to the ongoing abduction case. However, the nightclub’s electric atmosphere is soon disturbed by Cross and McTiernan witnessing Rudolph pick up a woman at the bar, choosing her as his next prey. With Nepenthe playing such a pivotal role in establishing the Gentleman Caller’s mode of operation, the origins of the nightclub become worth exploring!

Nepenthe is Not a Real Nightclub

The Nepenthe nightclub featured in ‘Kiss the Girls’ is a fictional club conceived by scriptwriter David Klass, who adapted the narrative from James Patterson’s novel of the same name. Although it makes a brief appearance in the film, the nightclub becomes the hunting ground for the serial killer known as the Gentleman Caller, who operates in California. Detective Alex Cross calls upon support from his cousin, Detective John Sampson, to help him assemble a sting operation to capture the killer. Although they are led to Dr. William Rudolph through the abducted women’s case in Durham, North Carolina, Cross is alerted after witnessing the man seduce a woman at the nightclub’s bar and take her away. Both the detective and McTiernan identify Rudolph as an essential puzzle piece in the nightclub’s interiors.

While Nepenthe nightclub doesn’t exist in real life, a restaurant with the same name can be found in the coastal mountains of Big Sur, California. The establishment was launched in 1949 after being constructed around a cabin. It provides great scenic views of the ocean and the choppy terrain graced with lush trees, bushes, and coasts. The restaurant has a Greek-themed menu, where the food is derived from local produce. Although the Nepenthe club from the film and the cuisine situated at 48510 California State Route 1 share their names, they differ in their locale and the kind of customers they serve. In the film, the club hosts a bar and a leisure area where William Rudolph garners the attention of a potential victim.

The production team shot most of the film in Los Angeles, California, and also shot on location in Durham, North Carolina, for a few weeks. The scenes featuring the nightclub were likely shot in the former as it neatly doubles up with its narrative setting. The nightclub’s pivotal role in ‘Kiss the Girls’ is through the revelation it offers on the serial killer Gentleman Caller. While Detective Cross continues to tag him and observe his moves, they gain insight into the collaboration between Rudolph and Casanova. Even Dr. Kate plays a key role, albeit she wrongly identifies Rudolph as Casanova, which leads to a huge sting operation to capture him. Though the Nepenthe nightclub cannot be found in real life, its impact on the narrative is significant in uncovering the mystery at the heart of ‘Kiss the Girls.’

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