Affable, alcohol-friendly owner Javier Castellanos has transformed the dingy strip mall existence of JC Fandango over the past 17 years into the finest Latin nightclub in the United States by constantly bringing in bands both big-name (the late Celia Cruz) and not-but-awesome (El Otro Yo) of any musical genre sung en español. Fear was that the nightclub's reputation would suffer after Anaheim fire officials shut it down after a too-packed spring concert. But Castellanos dutifully followed the city's requested regulations and reopened to full capacity in late summer. Loss of reputation? Tell that to vallenato-rap wunderkinds El Gran Silencio and Argentine demagogue Gustavo Cerati, who each played the year's best concerts at JC Fandango during August and left vowing to return soon. 1086 N. State College Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 758-1057.

BEST BAR AND LAUNDROMAT COMBO

Doing laundry used to be one of the most tiresome, frustrating chores in existence—especially if you had to go to a laundromat. Apart from jammed coin machines and uncomfortable, suspiciously sticky chairs, the seasoned fluff-and-folder also contended with disturbingly overpowering soap fumes and the occasional sociopathic patron. Until now: for those fortunate to live anywhere near Tustin, the Econ O-Wash on Irvine Boulevard, with its clean floors and new machines, is a laundry-doer's dream. And it's right next to a bar. Godfather's, the loveable dive bar next door, features free popcorn, fair prices, eight TVs and plenty of video-game trivia. Meet some friends for drinks and darts while your clothes magically become clean—could there be a better way to pass the time?! With a few beers under your belt, everything—even folding your T-shirts—is more fun. Doing laundry was never so cool. Godfather's, 416 Irvine Blvd., Tustin, (714) 544-4410; Econ O-Wash, 412 Irvine Blvd., Tustin.

MOST COST-EFFICIENT EMPLOYEE UNIFORMS

The waitresses at the Liquid Lounge are visions in white: five-inch go-go boots, fishnet tights, bare midriffs and hot pants. These women work hard for their money. So you'd better treat them right. 7887 Center Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 892-2227.

GREAT BEER SELECTION

You may remember the Abbey from Mark McGwire reppin' the place on his drive to 70 homeruns back in '98. But if you enjoy the Abbey for its rotating selection of some of the best beer on the planet, you may not remember it quite as well—it's always amusing to be filled in on all the stupid things I said the last time I was there. And not every aspect of the yuppiefication of Western civilization is inherently bad: if it wasn't for their boutiquing of beer, you might not be able to enjoy such regularly rotated nectars as Wittekerke, Chimay and Franziskaner (the old drunk monk's even on the sign out front). The staff is friendly, helpful and forgiving, and now that a national spotlight isn't on the (relatively small) place, you can saddle up to the bar with relative ease even on a weekend night. If you're lucky, you may even get a bartender from Australia—the favorite nation-of-origin of drunks with truly discriminating taste. 306 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 799-4246.

COME FOR THE STEAK, STAY FOR THE ROCK

Forget the desperate novelty nights and flaming-dice décor in LA: the best rock & roll bar in Southern California serves seafood and steak till 10, and the waitresses all look like your dear old grandma. Long Beach's Prospector—a restaurant by day, rock & roll petting zoo by night—offers giant, stick-to-your-ribs portions of truck-stop meat-and-potatoes fare that's worth a visit by itself, but you're there for the after-dinner action: Josh from Street Trash toppling table to table, Paloma from the Sharp Ease getting too hot for TV, Chris from the Distraction flinging ice at a giant cardboard cutout of himself, Wade from the Orphans breaking bottles over his head in time with the music. If greater hipsterlandia had a clue, there'd be stickered Volvos up and down Junipero, and Spaceland would be as dead and boring as . . . well, Spaceland is generally pretty dead and boring. But who cares? You're on your fourth $3 whisky-and-Coke, and Jenny Quitter is about to take a picture of you sliding your tongue down some stranger's throat. The Prospector rules—tell no one. 2400 E. Seventh St., Long Beach, (562) 438-3839.

SONIDO KWIZ-FM 96.7

Tropical music is experiencing a renaissance in the Spanish-language radio airwaves, with formed-last-year stations KZBA-FM 93.5 "La Sabrosa" and KLLY-FM 97.5 "Oye" dominating the Arbitron ratings. Lost among the attention given to these Los Angeles-based FM-ers is the young granddaddy of them all: Santa Ana-centered KWIZ-FM 96.7 "Sonido." The five-year-old radio riot maintains a loyal following by playing a hip-shaking mix of salsa, sonidero, cumbia, and even the stray merengue or two. And, unlike La Sabrosa and Oye, Sonido makes constant shout-outs to its Orange County audience, who respond in kind with fervor. Remember the near-riot earlier this year at JC Fandango after Anaheim code enforcers found the club over capacity during a concert? It happened because Sonido promoted the fuck out of that night's headliners, Monterrey ska morons Inspector. Any station who can pull people in to see them is amazing. 3101 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana, (714) 554-9670; www.sonido967.com.

PEPPERLAND
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