When we think of Southern California nightlife, places like downtown L.A., Hollywood, or even the O.C. come to mind. Not often do we hear about the nightlife down in the Inland Empire, an area known more for its suburban features than its after-hours activities. Head over to the I.E. and check out some of the places on this list, however, and you might be surprised that the Inland Empire is not as quiet after dark as it may seem.
Dillon’s Irish Pub
13920 City Center Drive
Chino Hills, CA 91709
What better place to let your hair down and kick back than a good old Irish pub? Relatively new to the Inland Empire, this spot features a full bar, inexpensive draft beer specials, great food, and various seating areas with plasma TV’s all around, providing guests with optimal viewing of all the great sporting events on TV. One distinct feature that has made this place a hit with locals is the fact that there is never a cover charge to view major sporting events. Dillon’s features all the major pay-per-view Boxing, UFC, and other sporting events, and all guests are admitted for free viewing, which also means guests should come early and claim their spots. After 11 p.m., the bar takes on a nightclub atmosphere, as the D.J. takes his spot and churns out dance hits for guests who want to keep the fun going after the sporting event is over. Open until 2 a.m. and also open for breakfast on Saturday and Sundays at 9 a.m., you can keep the party going into the night, and perhaps ask for a Bloody Mary the following morning. The atmosphere here is casual, hip, and has all the makings for a great night out.
Lake Alice Trading Company Saloon and Eatery
3616 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92501
In the mood for some live rock music, a few rounds of pool, or a couple of games of darts in a laid-back bar atmosphere? Lake Alice in Riverside is just the place. This downtown, jeans-and-T-shirt kind of spot located in the heart of Downtown Riverside features live music, with original music on Wednesday nights and cover bands on Friday and Saturday nights. No hard-core techno or rap music beats heard here — the sounds of classic rock and alternative rock are what you’ll hear within these walls. A calendar listing of different events and what bands are playing when is available on their website. Catch a football game on one of their large plasma TV’s every Sunday, and enjoy happy hour specials such as the “Triple Play”, which includes $3 off domestic drafts, well drinks, and appetizers from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday (except on Taco Tuesdays).
Rock the Keys Dueling Piano Bar and Nightclub
10134 Foothill Boulevard
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Gather up a group of friends for a night of music, food, and hilarious entertainment at Rock the Keys in Rancho Cucamonga. The dueling piano bar concept is one in which paid musicians/actor-comedians sit at two pianos and conduct a musical comedy show that largely involves the audience, and makes for some hilarious entertainment in the process. The show’s humorous content is very liberal and not for anyone underage, so leave the kids at home and come with a good sense of humor. Reservations are highly recommended, as the show seating fills easily, and those without a reservation may be subject to standing room only. Parties are encouraged to arrive on time if not early, between 6 and 7:30 p.m.; after 7:30 p.m. any extra seats are given to walk-in guests. Only guests 21 and over are admitted.
Casino Morongo Resort and Spa
49500 Seminole Drive
Cabazon, CA 92230
Dance the night away in your finest attire to some of the hottest hits spun by renowned D.J.’s at this vibrant desert oasis. This 21 and over hotspot boasts three levels of lounge areas and several bars, and a large center dance floor on which to let loose to your favorite mixes. VIP reservations are available for a fee, cover charges are applicable, and a strict dress code policy is enforced. Check out the Casino Morongo website for details and for concert events occurring at Vibe Nightclub as well.
28721 Front Street
Temecula, CA 92590
Located in the heart of downtown Temecula, this country western music bar and club is the West Coast’s largest, offering something for everyone, from the line-dancing newbie to the experienced two-stepper. Special events like “Karaoke Mondays” and “$3 Thursdays” draw crowds in, as do the line dancing lessons that are offered on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Ride the mechanical bull if you dare, or just hit the dance floor for some good old country fun.
Julie Ordonez is a freelance writer and mom living in the Inland Empire. When she needs a break from all things parental, she grabs her husband and heads to any of the above given nightlife spots in the Inland Empire. Her work can be seen in OC Family and OC Metro Magazines.