It was another great year for nightlife in Los Angeles. Despite the economy, party vibes inside the clubs were as creative and crazy as ever. From hip-hop haps to gay grinders, electro-a-go-go's to arty parties, the energy was contagious. Sure, many of Hollywood's swankier spots struggled to sell enough bottles, but those aren't our focus anyway. The club nights that kept us coming back never rested on their laurels. They sought to book the best DJs and attract the most bodacious crowds. Here, then, are the ten best Los Angeles club nights of the year.
10. Part Time Punks
Part Time Punks has been going strong for several years, and in 2011 the indie/punk party offered plenty of relevant bands (both new and old), a memorable vaudevillian-style performance by David J, and many packed tribute nights. The Smiths night were always stellar but we never expected the ode to David Bowie to be so out of this world. We should have. Michael Stock may have created Part Time Punks as a sort of homage to the Manchester Factory scene, but it's transcended the peg, and it's well on its way to being just as legendary. www.parttimepunks.com
Adam 12 is one half of She Wants Revenge and Obamas' L.A. DJ. He's also been throwing one of the dopest old school hip-hop hangs in town for a couple years now. But it wasn't without controversy in 2011, after it moved from a dive bar to the velvet-roped haven Colony. After a brief stint at Los Globos, it's now found a happy home at Room 86 -- formerly Paul & Andre/Cinespace, and 12's deckstar pals continue to pop in for surprise sets. www.afex-djadam12.blogspot.com
Hollywood's largest gay club also dealt with some venue issues, but no matter where it went, it was off the homo hook. The poptastic dance party's super-sized soirees for Britney Spears and Lady Gaga (at the Palladium no less) were flamboyant and freaky on the dance floor, and more than worthy of the divas honored. www.clubtigerheat.com
7. Bootie LA
Mash-ups may not be for everyone, but Bootie LA proved that a lot of people still like to bust moves to musical blends. Robyn and AC/DC, Deadmaus and Maroon 5, Steve Miller Band and Arcade Fire... you get the idea. The crowds here are always full of vim, and the madness gets topped off around midnight when R.A.I.D. (Random Acts of Irreverent Dance) take the stage for interpretive movement that's as sassy and scrambled as the music creators A+D and DJ Paul V. provide on the decks. www.bootiemashup.com/la
6. Studio 69
As the name suggests, sex is always on folks minds at Studio 69. The ladies here are always dolled up in decadent, skimpy ensembles, usually connected with some theme. But the ringleader to this rager -- Perish Dignam -- gets all the attention, and not without good reason. His vision is always epic. Few clubs offer so many amusements and elements: Props, photo booths, fire and dance performances and dress up galore both on the floor and in every crevice of whatever club or warhouse the club decides to take over. www.perish69club.com
5. Dim Mak Tuesday
Haters will hate, especially when it comes to successful DJs and their long-running "hipster" haps. Say what you will about Steve Aoki, he's done something very, very right with his Dim Mak empire. We've been writing about the guy since well before he started his popular Tuesday night at Cinespace, and at the height of its popularity, too. Believe that his enthusiasm for music and people is 100% real, not douchey. Dim Mak Studios took over the back room at Cinespace last year, and continues to bring out the biggest names in rock and electronic music. www.dimmakrecs.com/events
Not only has Lady Gaga BFF Justin Tranter been in town recording with his band Semi-Precious Weapons, he's also been throwing one of the best club nights of the year. Naughty burlesque from the girls of Voyuer, live performances by SPW and friends and funky/punky DJ mixes courtesy of SPW's Cole Whittle and guests. There are stripper poles too! www.semipreciousweapons.com
3. Mr. Black
Ass-baring waiters, glamorous gay and mixed crowds and a wild selection of electro, pop and disco courtesy of Josh Peace make Mr. Black a blast. But it's host Luke Nero and his fabulous crew that make this a destination for scene queens and bonafide celebs like Adam Lambert and Lindsay Lohan alike. And the outfits -- oh the outfits! www.mrblackla.blogspot.com
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Adam Auburn and Homemade LA joined forces this year for a new dance party spotlighting electronic music in its most intense and infectious forms. It was one of the few parties that could fill the sizable Vanguard space inside and out, and make use of its great sound too. Diplo's headlining spot helped Departure take off big, and it shows no signs of crashing. www. auburneventsla.com
1. Low End Theory
Low End Theory stopped being a secret long before Odd Future, Erykah Badu or Thom Yorke made appearances there, but their presence ensured everyone knew them in 2011. The club not only brought together varied, groove-oriented music styles and people, it gave underground hip-hop in L.A. a forum both experimental and fun. Here's our in-depth story on the club's evolution. www.lowendtheoryclub.com