Whether you're into salsa or EDM, heading to Hollywood or the SGV, there are no shortage of places in the Los Angeles area to get your groove on. For our 2015 Best of L.A. issue, our writers picked some of their favorite spots for a night (or, in one case, an early morning) of dancing.
Best Dance Club
Sam Nazarian's SBE club empire has produced a worthy super-club with Create, and Sound Nightclub, with a Pioneer sound system that pounds, is the small-venue champ. But the new boss in town remains the old boss: Avalon Hollywood, L.A.'s first and still best purpose-designed venue for EDM clubbing. The room, which started its life as a live theater, still emits cavernous magic. Even as DJ bookings have grown impossibly competitive, Dave Dean and the club's other promoters maintain dignity and gravitas by putting the likes of Erick Morillo and James Zabiela onstage. Owner John Lyons' custom sound system is the best in town, period. Get close enough and the world's largest subwoofers (40 inches) will punch you in the chest. And if bottle service is ruining L.A. nightlife, Avalon offers an antidote. Sure, you can still sit ringside and douche it hard-core with your fake friends, but the action here is on the floor, where fans still actually get up on their feet and dance. — Dennis Romero
1735 Vine St., Hollywood, 90028. 323-462-8900, avalonhollywood.com.
Best Club Night
At a recent edition of Night Bass, the VIP section was mostly deserted. No surprise: AC Slater's monthly at the intimate Sound Nightclub is for people who want to mix it up and get sweaty on the dance floor, not for the bottle-service crowd. Slater calls the signature Night Bass sound “just fun bass music you can dance to,” which about sums it up. Whether you're into Disclosure or Dirtybird, you'll find something to groove to in the high-energy mix of house, garage and bassline pumped out by Slater and his fellow residents, Bones and Petey Clicks. Night Bass is usually at Sound on the fourth Thursday of the month, but Slater is currently taking his show on the road, so its next L.A. stop will be Oct. 10 at Lot 613, with guests Jack Beats, Hannah Wants and Kry Wolf. Wherever it's happening, expect the bass to be funky and loud. — Andy Hermann
At Sound Nightclub, 1642 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood, 90028. 323-656-4800, www.nightbassrecords.com.
Best Non-Douchey Hollywood Club
For those who abandoned Hollywood clubs after the bro takeover, King King is the only reason to return. This long-running Hollywood haunt is small and bare-bones compared with the posh spots that surround it, but its schedule is top-notch. Programming runs the gamut from theatrical productions — we recently caught the Album Project's rock-opera re-creation of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours — to dance nights. If it's the latter you're seeking, you won't be disappointed. King King is a cornerstone of the local house scene, attracting promoters whose parties are more about the dance floor than bottle service. The hard-core will want to arrive early and practice their footwork before the headliners take the stage and the dance circles get intense. Some nights also offer discounted entry for early birds with RSVPs. Check the club's calendar for schedules. — Liz Ohanesian
6555 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 90028. 323-960-9234, kingkinghollywood.com.
Best Place to Watch Rock Stars DJ
You'll never know who you'll see in the Monty Bar's DJ booth during Pure Trash's free Friday-night parties. Take, for example, the night that London May (Samhain) and Tommy Victor (Danzig) played the event; it didn't take long for Glenn Danzig himself to join them. Promoted by Lethal Amounts, a nearby gallery and shop that specializes in band merch and rock-related art, the party has booked DJ sets from such hard-rockin' icons as Jennifer Finch of L7, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Jerry Casale of Devo. Musically, the party reflects the guests on the bill; you're likely to hear a mix of garage, glam and punk tunes throughout the night. The Monty, which is a few doors away from Teragram Ballroom, is spacious enough to keep patrons from feeling uncomfortable, even when it's a busy night. — Liz Ohanesian
1222 W. Seventh St., Westlake, 90017. 213-228-6000, montybar.com.
Best Salsa Club
Twirling fringe dresses, tapping shoes and a spicy tune to match. Walk into the Granada most nights and you'll feel as if you've been transported to another era, where couples dance in sync in duple-pulse. It may be intimidating to first-timers, but there are weekly group lessons in the early half of the evenings, when instructors are on hand to teach the basics. It's completely OK to come here alone, too; the custom is that partners rotate after every song. For a cover as low as $5, you gain access to dance lessons that feel more like a festive dance party. They also do nights featuring bachata, a dance that is essentially salsa's more sensual cousin. There is a full bar and you can also stop in for dinner and bottle service. If you plan to dance, wear comfortable shoes. — Clarissa Wei
17 S. First St., Alhambra, 91801. 626-227-2572, www.thegranadala.com.
Best Country Music Club (With Line Dancing)
Country music may not have a strong following in the Greater Los Angeles area, but its few aficionados can escape to San Dimas for their fix of line dining with a side of beer. The dance floor at Montana's is refreshingly spacious, with plenty of room to twirl around without bumping elbows. There are dance lessons occasionally, but even if you don't know the steps, it's a great place to practice your electric slide or just watch adorable couples do the two-step. Montana's is probably the best excuse you'll have to bust out those cowboy boots and worn-out jeans. — Clarissa Wei
657 W. Arrow Highway, San Dimas, 91733. 909-592-2211, www.dancingatmontanas.com.
Best Weekday Morning Dance Party
Yeah, you can party all night, but what about bright and early weekday mornings? Daybreaker is one of L.A.'s best dance affairs that just happens to take place at sunrise in the middle of the work week. The party atmosphere is what makes it a unique alternative to most workouts, and unlike traditional exercise programs, this one actually accommodates those who'd rather hang out and chill than hit the dance floor. World-class DJs spin high-energy music to get you in the mood while snacks, coffee and occasional pre-party yoga help fuel the groove. As far as attire, anything goes, from workout gear to Burning Man–inspired costumes and everything between. There's one major difference between Daybreaker and a “regular” party, though — here, there's no alcohol. But you don't need liquor with that natural morning rush to keep your body movin' at the break of dawn. Twice monthly, various locations. — Tanja M. Laden
Various locations, la.daybreaker.com.
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