Everything old is new again, and nobody knows this better than nightclubs and bars with their themed nights and retro music. There really isn’t a better way to get people to drink than by reminding them of their past with everything fun from their youth. Party it up in Orange County at the best retro nights the area has to offer.
Every Tuesday night, the smallest (but mightiest) bar in Fullerton becomes “Totally ’80s.” Beyond excellent drink prices — which are more in line with how much a beer cost three decades ago — cheap tacos and an onslaught of ’80s tunes promise to take you back to those big-haired, tight-pantsed days. DJ SONIK from KROQ is in charge of spinning the best music from a time when neon Members Only jackets ruled the world.
Right near the border of Orange County and Long Beach, the Gaslamp hosts the best ’80s party every Friday night with the help of its ’80s cover band Knyght Ryder. This place gives you a great food selection and excellent wait staff, so if you like your ’80s nights to be less “sweaty and dancey” and more “sit down and eat,” Gaslamp is definitely your speed. Bikers are always welcome, and the parking lot is usually stacked with Harley Davidsons.
Hump day seems to be an appropriate night for ’80s music, so Flashpants seems like the best band to provide your flashback every Wednesday at The Starting Gate. It recommends you sport a fake (or real) mustache during the set, as the mix includes just about every great song from the Reagan era and is lightly choreographed to incorporate the ridiculous “dance moves” of back in the day.
843 W 19th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Nothing’s better than free parking, free admission, old-school hip-hop, and drink specials until last call. DJ Iszm and DJ Cali spin the best in classic tracks, but it is a 21-and-older night, so get a babysitter for the kids. Detroit Bar can get a bit warm and muggy, so be sure to dress in the flyest old-school gear you can without turning your pleather pants into a sweaty, ’80s-rockin’ mess. It’s great sweating to the oldies, but risque — and cooler — might be the way to go at Detroit Bar on ’80s night.
Every Tuesday night is “Pink Radio ’80s Night” with resident DJ Peter G. Doors open at 9 p.m., but the show is at 10 p.m. without any cover and only for the 21 and older crowd. The two-story club offers the kind of low-key vibe non-bar folk still feel comfortable with, while still providing the ’80s tunes your retro mind needs. Just be lucky this place doesn’t have a retro night based in the era the bar was built, as the music in the 1910s doesn’t quite measure up.
Jesse Seilhan is a writer, editor and photographer from the California Bay Area. After moving to Long Beach, Jesse continues his passion for writing and music by covering concerts, interviewing top artists, and giving a dose of wisdom in a crazy, mixed-up musical world. His work can be found at Examiner.com.