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The Best Retro Dance Clubs In Los Angeles
By Lina Lecaro
Today’s pop music leave you feeling deflated? EDM bangers not your bag? Hollywood hip-hop haps leave you hearkening back to the days when dancing was less about pouncing and more about playing off a partner and expressing yourself? Then one of L.A.’s retro nights may be just what you’re looking for. The word “retro” may be, well, retro, but for our purposes here it fits. These places and events celebrate music and even fashion from the past, most of them exclusively. No matter which era you choose, we can promise flashbacky fun is in your future.
Disco does not suck. At least when it comes to chic clubbing in L.A. right now. Daft Punk can take credit for giving the maligned genre back its cool, and “American Hustle” had a lot of us pulling out the polyester and hot rollers again. But it was Giorgios—which opened up at the Standard Hollywood before both of these stomped onto the pop culture consciousness—that made the bold move to celebrate disco’s decadence again in a high-profile way. Created by revered LA spinner DJ Adam 12 and events man Bryan Rabin (of ‘90’s fave Club Cherry), Giorgio’s has been likened to Studio 54’s VIP room, but its exclusive feel is never fussy or forced. It is retro-fabulous, though. If Mick Jagger, Jody Watley or Giorgio Moroder himself (it was named for the music legend) happen to be there as they have been the past few months, they won’t be hiding in some back room, they’ll be burning up the floor right next to you.
Funky Sole (60’s & 70’s)
Music Man Miles, Clifton (aka DJ Soft Touch) and Clinton Cameron have been throwing this sweaty-sweet dance party for 14 years now. They keep 60’s/70’s sounds at the core of what they spin here (all wax of course). Expect to lots of James Brown, Parliament and their peers, plus obscure stuff that gets soles stomping and booties shaking, both in the main room and outdoor patio.
Blue Mondays (80’s)
“How does it feel?” asked New Order on the ubiquitous dance hit from which this long-running 80’s night gets its name. Well at this gathering it feels crowded on the dance floor, that’s for sure. There is something about the synth-soaked sounds of new wave, goth-y KROQ hits of yore and the like that really makes ya move, no matter what age you may be. There’s an obvious, sort of melancholy infectiousness about The Cure, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie, etc. and the mostly black-clad crowd here devours all of it with their dramatic dance moves, even cheesy stuff like Dexy’s Midnight Runners and A-Ha. People don’t stand around too much at Blue Mondays, and since promoter Bruce Perdew (who has actually been throwing clubs since the 80’s) started celebrating other decades outside on Boardner’s patio, it’s a totally awesome party inside and out.
Spike’s (50’s and 80’s)
Let’s just get this out of the way: Rosemead is not that far. It’s less than 15 minutes from Hollywood via the 101 freeway to the 60, at least at night. It takes us longer to get to West Hollywood from Silver Lake on a Saturday night than it does to get to Spikes in Rosemead, which is essentially east of Montebello. Regardless, Spike’s Bar is worth the drive. For retro clubs, the place is a treasure trove. Every Monday, there’s a 50’s and “doo-wap” night attracting cool cats and banged Betties, not to mention classic cars out front. They’ve also got two 80’s clubs - The Breakfast Klub (every Wednesday) and Got 80s? once a month on Saturdays. Both nights feature guest DJs spinning new wave, rock and dance grooves from the decade of decadence and occasional live bands (see our pics from the recent appearance by Cramps cover band Teenage Werewolves). Every night here seems to attract cute kids with flair for old school eyeliner… and of course, guyliner.
Spike’s is located at 7813 Garvey Ave., Rosemead. 9 p.m.- 2 a.m.; over 21.
Part Time Punks (70’s—90’s)
If you saw the movie “24 Hour Party People” you get the vibe at PTP. The party focuses on indie and post-punk sounds with a very late 70’s-early 90’s sensibility and a very UK/European vibe. The Manchester scene from that flick, gets lots of play as does later-era British new wave, plus niche genres synth-punk, synthpop, minimal synth, dark wave, industrial, indiepop, twee, and shoegaze. Like the guys at Funky Sole (same venue) DJ Michael Stock plays all vinyl. He also makes all the club’s fliers by hand (no digital). Now that’s retro.
Part Time Punks is Sundays at the Echo, 1822 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. 10 p.m.- 2 a.m. ; over 21.
Club 90s, T.N.T. at Mickeys & The Grind (Nice in the Nineties)
Hard to believe when Prince sang about partying like it’s 1999, it was actually 1982! But even if you’re too young to remember that one’s megahit-heyday, it might still be hard to think of the 90’s as retro or “old school.” But to the generation that goes clubbing most, aka the “Clueless” generation, they totally are… so don’t be wiggin!’ The decade that brought us riot girls and The Spice Girls (and words like “wiggin”) hasn’t been celebrated in the same way the previous decades have been—at least where music is concerned—but that’s changing in a big, big way right now. There are several 90’s dance nights to choose from all over town. The best ones are gay-driven, but as is always the case in clubland, the straights will soon be following. They’re pretty much, “all that.” See info on each below.
Club 90’s at Los Globos, 3040 Sunset Blvd. Silverlake. Over 18; 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
TNT (Totally Nineties Tuesdays) at Mickey’s, 8857 Santa Monica Blvd. Over 21; 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
The Grind at The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd. Over 21. 9 p.m.- 2 a. m.
Lina Lecaro is an L.A. born & bred freelance writer, radio show host, mother and nightlife maven featured regularly in the LA Weekly and on The IndependentFM. She wrote a book about dive bars and is currently writing a book about relationships (with a rock n' roll twist). Follow her attempts to have it all on Twitter at @LinaLecaro and on Facebook.