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Best Indie Rock Venues In OC

December 6, 2012 6:00 AM

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(credit: Chain Reaction)

(credit: Chain Reaction)

(credit: The Observatory OC)

(credit: The Observatory)


There are plenty of gigantic venues in Los Angeles, but Orange County offers intimacy built just for indie rock. Indie can mean a ton of different styles, but small, sometimes quiet, and always personal is the mark of a true independent musician or group. Some of these venues look innocuous when you drive past them, but at night become beacons of light and hope for a generation of fans.

Photo Credit: Detroit Bar via Facebook

Photo Credit: Detroit Bar via Facebook

Detroit Bar
843 W. 19th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 642-0600
detroitbar.com

Detroit Bar hosts a great mix of local talent as well as top indie acts from around the country. This place gives dive bars a good name, as the dimly lit but always packed bar in Costa Mesa caters to all forms of musicians, but especially to those extroverted introverts known as indie bands. The stage and crowd are nearly one and the same, as the maximum occupancy can’t be more than 250 people. Even when it’s not packed to the brim, which it almost always is, the energy that stems from such an intimate venue is palpable.

(credit: The Observatory OC)

(credit: The Observatory)

Observatory
3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 957-0600
www.observatoryoc.com

Right in the heart of a business park, the newly revamped Observatory took over where The Galaxy left off. After a redesigned sound system was installed and new management took over, the influx of popular artists, especially indie bands, infiltrated the space. With free parking (unless the show gets sold out) and a small stage, indie bands get to flex their muscles without having to try and fill an arena. The Observatory serves a whole host of drinks, boasts a solid merch set up, the wait staff is efficient and security is respectful.

(credit: Constellation Room)

(credit: Constellation Room)

Constellation Room
3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 957-0600
www.constellationroom.com/

The Observatory’s sister room, The Constellation Room, is the perfect venue for indie bands. The crowd envelops the stage, lining three sides of it while artists croon the night away. Indie darlings including Nick Waterhouse, and Margot and The Nuclear So & Sos have graced this stage, to the delight of 20-somethings in the area. When the band is within spitting distance, the bridge between art and observer is much stronger. Mix all of this with a sound system fit for Coachella, and you’ve got the recipe for indie success.

Related: Best Singles Bars In Orange County

(credit: Chain Reaction)

(credit: Chain Reaction)

Chain Reaction
1652 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 635-6067
www.allages.com

While normally home to hardcore punk and metal bands, the occasional indie rock that plays Chain Reaction finds it quite welcoming. Maybe it’s the all-ages policy, or the reasonably priced tickets, rarely exceeding $20. Whatever the secret sauce, this is another venue where, when the singer reaches out into the crowd, he or she is close enough to shake hands with two dozen fans. The lighting is poor, the sound isn’t perfect, but sometimes that is all a part of the charm that makes do-it-yourself music making so endearing.

(credit: La Cave)

(credit: La Cave)

La Cave
1695 Irvine Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA  92627
(949) 646-7944
www.facebook.com

Orange County is known for its indie rock scene, and a ton the best musicians make their way through La Cave before hitting it big. Nobody from Top 40 or MTV will blow through any time soon, but those that eventually get there just might. Normally known for its mouthwatering steaks and high-quality dining, La Cave also serves up excellent local indie talent. Self-described as a dimly lit underground cellar, the vibe is one of classic style and those that enter tend to leave the aggression at the door.

Related: Best Bartending Classes In Orange County

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.

 

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