Electronic dance music has quickly become the hottest musical genre in decades, bringing together young and old, underground and pop culture into a world where musical lines are blurred and the only motivation is to have a good time. While EDM can be created in a basement in the middle of nowhere, plenty of venues have dedicated their spaces to showcasing the eclectic musical style. In Orange County, a few offer a variety of experiences, from the club setting to larger, more visually appealing venues equipped with laser light shows and more. Check out this guide for an idea of where to go to hear the bass drop.
Heat Ultra Lounge
321 W. Disney Way, #214
Anaheim, CA 92802
Heat Ultra Lounge is the place to go whether its your birthday or for any other occasion and all you want is EDM all night long. Heat offers a few different packages for your special day, from bottle service and free entrance for your homies to a shoutout from the DJ that night and a few songs that will be played at your request. Disco balls, chandeliers and some of the hottest people in Orange County decorate this nightclub. Even titans of the industry like Tiesto have stopped here, so check the calendar to make sure you don’t miss the next big thing or another pioneer of EDM. Make sure to reserve a special occasion in advance, as those slots fill up quickly and not all bookings can be honored if not done in advance.
307 N. Spurgeon St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
The Yost has hosted many of the best and brightest EDM stars, focusing more on the up-and-comers, such as Zedd before he got really huge. The venue offers a large dance section down the middle, table service on either side and an upper echelon for a better view of the show. While compact, the music resonates perfectly against each wall and the room is big enough for plenty of lights and lasers. It’s located in a nice part of Santa Ana that has close-by parking and a low-hassle environment, definitely a plus in a world full of smokey clubs without much class.
1870 Harbor Blvd., A-200
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
This tiny club in Costa Mesa manages to book some top-tier talent for such a small place. Things get crazy quickly once the smoke machines go off and the heat gets cranked up, as the diminutive dance club becomes semi-claustrophobic. For those who love that type of intimate gig, this is your place, but do avoid it if trying to have some breathing room. This is a perfect place for bringing parties and large groups, however, as your posse can quickly dominate the club if you’re big enough.
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3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
What once was the Galaxy Bar, a venue that didn’t jive too well with EDM’s rise in popularity, is now The Observatory. And with it came an amazing new sound system primed and ready for EDM. This is still set up like a traditional rock venue though, with one main stage and a semi-panoramic crowd area in front, but the sound quality and leveled dance floor means you should be able to see just fine and also hear your favorite playlist the way it was meant to be heard. Huge artists also play this spot, as it’s a common off-tour stop for acts traveling through Los Angeles to San Diego, or vice versa. Parking gets packed early, so bring the $10 it will take to drop your vehicle off in the adjacent industrial park. Don’t try and tempt fate by parking anywhere else, as you will get towed.
215 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Located in Santa Ana, Proof Bar is pretty much the opposite of the typical EDM club, as you won’t find any pole dancers, lasers, smog juice canisters or bottle service VIPs. No, this is a bar that has a DJ and dance music nights various times a week. You’ll still hear the music you want, but you won’t be paying a high cover to maybe see the big act you got all dressed up for, only to be shoved in a back corner and miss the illustrious disc jockey. Proof Bar gives you a more personal spin, with a better (or maybe just cheaper) bar than otherwise offered and the weekends are where it’s at, as the place gets crazy packed with people not looking to get bottle service on a random Tuesday night.
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