Best Place to Dance to Mexican Music - 2013
For decades now, this downtown Santa Ana venue has hosted the best and brightest of Mexican regional music in its cavernous building, which used to be a bus depot. But even Festival Hall isn't immune to the gentrification that has afflicted the area—and in this case, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Its in-house bar has upped the ante with exclusive tequilas; the restaurant connected to el Festival, Diego's Downtown, is wowing people with its alta cocina take on Latin American favorites. And the bar downstairs, long a dive in which images of people killed by the narcos would flash on the wall and no one would blink, is being renovated for the area's chipsters (a.k.a. Chicano hipsters). But if your idea of a good time is still to don a tejana and some tight wranglers and ask for a bottle of bukanas? Festival Hall still offers that experience, along with some of the cutest prietas this side of Tehuantepec.