The latest show to join the Bravo network, “Southern Hospitality,” premiered on November 28 and its main cast member, restaurant owner Leva Bonaparte, addressed fans comparing her and the show to Lisa Vanderpump and “Vanderpump Rules.”
The newest Bravo show is a spinoff of “Southern Charm” and follows Charleston-based Bonaparte as she manages her staff and their drama at Republic Garden & Lounge. After the show was announced, some fans inevitably compared it to Vanderpump’s SUR-centric show on the west coast.
In a recent interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Bonaparte laughed at the comparison and said she felt more like Captain Sandy Yawn from “Below Deck” than Vanderpump. “I definitely am not living as fabulous of a life for sure, as Lisa Vanderpump,” she spilled. “I have no ponies in my backyard, guys.”
Bonaparte said while she and Vanderpump are both restaurant owners, she described her business as “so much more chaotic.” She explained, “when it’s game time, it’s game time. And it’s liability and it’s people and it’s hundreds of them and they’re out the door and there’s big feelings and there’s drinking.”
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Leva Bonaparte Explained Why Her Work Environment Is More Similar to ‘Below Deck’ Than ‘Vanderpump Rules’
Bonaparte went on to explain the key differences between her staff and the SUR employees, telling the publication they’re not allowed to drink while at work. Of course, Vanderpump’s SUR staff also aren’t allowed to drink, but viewers have seen several of the cast members sneaking drinks while on shift. “I’m not saying they won’t sneak things at times and get in trouble,” Bonaparte explained. “But it’s because I need them to be about their wits.”
She also compared some of the parties at Republic with parties on “Below Deck,” which follow a theme with costumes.
She described the environment as “madness” and told the producers before they began filming that they needed to simply experience Republic on a weekend night to get prepared. “I was like, ‘So before we do all this, you need to come in here on a Friday and Saturday and just sit in here and see what I’m talking about,’” she spilled. “Because it’s madness. It’s like an animal house, you know?”
Leva Bonaparte’s Republic Is More of a Nightclub & Shows Off the VIP Nightlife Scene in Charleston
Republic is quite different from SUR in the sense that it’s more of a club than a restaurant, the Bravo star explained. She described her business as having four separate spaces, with a full menu and a more low-key patio area. That space has live music and happy hour and people will often stop in for a more casual experience.
After 10 p.m., Bonaparte explained that there’s a lineup to get into the lounge area and that’s where the VIP experience comes in. The “Southern Charm” cast member said she’ll have VIP hosts at the front door who interact with guests that have booked VIP tables and experiences. “[It’s] like their sort of own real estate inside the club that’s been pre-booked based on how many people are joining us that evening and what they want to drink or what they’re celebrating,” she shared.