There is no doubt that a remarkable collection of musicians and bands with O.C. roots have sprung to stardom. Here are five attractive Orange County venues worth visiting if you’re into discovering sounds from musicians who never knew you’d love. These are the best places to discover new tunes in Orange County.
2930 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Sometimes, in a truly unexpected spot and moment, the perfect place for finding great music emerges. The LAB (“Little American Business”) indoor and outdoor area is this very type of venue. Musicians love this cozy, youth-oriented, hipster hang out because it is well-suited for folk, rock, and pop music’s up-and-coming artists. Established in 1993, the LAB also offers an ARTery, a walk-through community art space for exhibitions that has been transformed from steel shipping containers into a happening art location. You’ll want to check ahead on the web calendar to see who is playing and when to come. Time your trip with enjoying restaurants here like Zipangu, as well as stores like Buffalo Exchange and Urban Outfitters, a perfect combination with the delicious sounds of the next big thing.
843 W 19th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Previously known as The Detroit Bar, The Wayfarer brings a friendly staff and succeeds in its stated mission to combine Silverlake’s style with that of Orange County, forming a brand new vision. The music is extraordinarily eclectic and indie rock and hip-hop are among the more frequently played options music here. DJs also spin an assortment of sounds that include house, electro and more. It is not always easy to combine a hip aesthetic with a professional attitude, but this is exactly what makes The Wayfarer distinct.
1652 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801
It is important that youth have the opportunity to contribute to the community but also for them to have a place to enjoy rocking out. It is emphasized that absolutely no alcohol is allowed at this reasonably-priced music venue. This all-ages venue is aimed at 14-to-19-year-olds. The bands receiving rocking reaction are typically punk, hardcore, rock and alternative, but all styles are welcome. Music potential is unlimited but parking is not.
122 E. Commonwealth Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832
The Slidebar rock ‘n’ roll kitchen loves more than just rock, as it enjoys bringing in all different genres, depending on the night. So, it’s important to check ahead, and the staff specifically also recommends checking its Facebook page for the schedule. The Slidebar attracts music talent specifically because it combines modern marketing with an appreciation for O.C.’s storied music history. The venue of Slidebar itself initially started as a petite Fullerton café called The Hub.
3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
A remarkable collection of musicians perform night after night here as the audience arrives to observe and hear a unique set. A sister room to the Observatory, the Constellation Room carries a solid sound, and logistics make it so that there is often an opportunity for artist-audience connection. Indie music is attracted into this atmosphere. Note that dinner reservations are only for shows in the main room, not for those in the Constellation Room.
Will Engel is a musician and music journalist with eight years of experience. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Will is a singer, keyboardist/pianist, and songwriter who released a well-received album and frequently performs around Southern California. He lives in the Los Angeles area. His work can be found at Examiner.com.