The Best Dance Clubs in Los Angeles

Photo courtesy of Exchange LA, Facebook

The electronic music scene, nightlife and DJ culture in Los Angeles have come a long way in a relatively short time. Once the Wild West compared to New York's well-established nightclub culture, Los Angeles has long been known for warehouse parties, underground events and full-moon desert parties. The echoes of the 80s and 90s underground scene are still heard at Moontribe and secretive events in Downtown L.A. with ever-changing locations, but legitimate nightclubs that fully embraced electronic music had a ways to go. Then around 2000, the “super club” craze caught on like lightning in a bottle, captured at clubs like Giant and Spundae. The exposure was massive and the underground suddenly started bubbling to the surface.

The after-effects are still being felt today, and the Los Angeles dance music scene has morphed into something strange, beautiful and vital. There are venues throughout the city where you can take part in the culture or just get your groove on and have a lost weekend. Read on for some of L.A.’s best clubs for electronic music.

Kevin Saunderson à l’Avalon | Crédit photo d’Avalon Hollywood, Facebook

Avalon Hollywood



This is it – the big daddy. Set in Hollywood proper directly across the street from the iconic Capitol Records building on Vine, Avalon Hollywood (formerly known as The Palace) offers a big night out experience. A converted theater with an EAW sound system, Avalon hosts Tigerheat on Thursday for the gay/mixed crowd, Control on Friday for alternative electronic dance acts, and their own Avalon night on Saturday for world-famous DJs like Paul Oakenfold and Kevin Saunderson. A little planning goes a long way - for big nights, buying presale tickets is highly recommended.

Photo courtesy of Sound Nightclub, Facebook

Sound Nightclub



Those of discerning ear and musical taste head to Sound Nightclub. A relative newcomer on the Hollywood club scene, many clubbers pinned their hopes and dreams on the opening of Sound, and its impact as a major player in L.A. has been felt. Sound boasts a Funktion One sound system, a devotion to electronic music culture and a club experience with a heavy emphasis on the music – if you’re a devotee of house and techno, this should be your destination. Sound is currently the host of the legendary Monday Night Social, the longest running club night in Los Angeles. Ask any serious L.A. clubber, and they should have a Monday Night Social story to tell you.

Photo courtesy of Exchange LA, Facebook

Exchange LA



Downtown Los Angeles has been a clubbing destination for years, with the high-rise city center giving way to industrial complexes and warehouses ripe for creative promoters to set up shop. The club scene has grown significantly, competing with Hollywood for L.A.’s nightlife attention. Named for the building’s historic housing of the Los Angeles stock exchange, Exchange LA on Spring Street is a beautiful Art Deco edifice that’s been retrofitted for the modern club experience. In addition to house and techno DJs, Exchange is also one of the few big clubs at which you can still see trance DJs. With four floors and 25,000 square feet, you have plenty of space to enjoy sets from artists such as Maya Jane Coles, Simon Patterson and Giuseppe Ottaviani.

Belasco Theater



The Belasco Theater on Hill Street in Downtown L.A. is a multi-purpose event complex, perfect for large-scale electronic music events when booked. Multiple levels, state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology easily put it on par with the other large Downtown venues.

Photo courtesy of The Mayan, Facebook

Mayan Theatre



The Mayan Theatre in Downtown L.A. looms large in Los Angeles clubbing lore - it was the setting for John Digweed's legendary parties upon which Global Underground 019 was based. The large two-level main room was designed with the look of a Mayan temple, and upstairs and downstairs spaces provide room for different grooves than what's playing in the main room. Many big name DJs still pass through its hallowed doors to play to a crowd assembled in the big converted theater, so be on the lookout for mid-week events that guarantee the presence of devoted locals.

Photo courtesy of The Standard Downtown L.A., Facebook

Rooftop at The Standard Downtown L.A.



Equally as legendary as the Mayan (or notorious, depending upon whom you ask) is the rooftop bar at The Standard Hotel in Downtown L.A. Located on Flower Street, the environment is unparalleled - promoters throw parties during the summer months, there's a pool and the views of the city are amazing. Droog’s Culprit Sessions was a recent series of successful summertime parties that embodied everything you’d want from a rooftop party. People come to have a good time - the bar's Mojitos, the respite of the beer garden and good music on offer have a lot to do with it. An easy summer choice.

Playhouse Nightclub



Located on Hollywood Boulevard, Playhouse is a well-known scenester spot, as evidenced by the ever-present line waiting to enter the club. Playhouse is slightly older compared to some of the other clubs on this list, but it's still a worthwhile destination when playing host to electronic artists. Other nights you can see and be seen to the tune of hip-hop DJs.

Complex | Photo courtesy of IHC Presents, Facebook

Complex



Located in Glendale, Complex may be a little off the beaten track, but it is absolutely worth the short trip.  Reminiscent of small rock club venues in Hollywood, Complex is the perfect venue to see DJs in an intimate setting. If you make the trek to Glendale for a club night, you know that you'll be in good company with other devoted clubbers. Local label Plastic Love hosted a night there recently that had a dance floor packed on a Sunday night. Perhaps best of all, because it's in Glendale you can actually find free parking!