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Get Your Groove On with Downtown Dance Spots

By Michael F. Robleto
Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010, at 03:10PM
Elevate Lounge Courtesy Elevate Lounge

Downing artisanal cocktails and microbrews around downtown is undoubtedly the way most of us roll, but occasionally you get drawn to tear up a dance floor. This guide will list the top hot spots to dance Downtown, other than the obvious choices of The Standard and The Conga Room at L.A. Live.

Club 740

Situated in a grandiose former Broadway theater, this club is nothing short of being impressive to the eye. The grandeur of the balconies and the ornate décor takes you back to the Mad Men era.

Focus on the dance floor takes center stage at Club 740 and a large investment has been made on high-end lighting and laser shows reminding one of a Vegas based mega club.

However the similarities end there. The bathrooms aren’t great and you can see significant wear and tear throughout the club. Bartenders are light on the pour and heavy on the credit card charges, so it’s best to pay with cash. The crowd is generally not a Downtown one and leans to be a bit on the sketchy and overly-aggressive-to-women type of crowd. The club is at its best for reserving a VIP booth when your favorite DJ or hip hop artist is performing.

Open Friday and Saturday nights with special events once a month on Sundays. Enter through alley between Broadway and Spring. Cover charge varies. 740 S. Broadway (at 8th Street) 213-627-6277


One of the newer dance halls Downtown, B-52 has a very year-2000 vibe to it. The large open hall feel is reminiscent of a small industrial rave, the large underlit bar screams South Beach and lingerie clad go-go girls are straight out of a import car show.

Add in a serious sound system and dramatic lighting and you have a place that is prime to get your dance on. Best of all there is rarely a line here and the massive bar houses a gaggle of bartenders making it easy for one to get a drink.

The crowds vary from your standard ethnic group theme--with the most diversity on Thursday nights. The open schedule is sporadic with Thursdays through Sundays being the possible nights of business.

Note, all seating in the club is by reservation, so call ahead to book if you are coming with a group. Cover charge is $20. 801 S. Hill. 213-489-4342

Elevate Lounge

This club seems to rule the roost when it comes to Downtown dance clubs. The views are a big plus, taking advantage of the venue’s location up on the 21st floor, tucked amidst the Downtown skyline.Exposed and ample seating wraps around the entire club doubling as a smoking lounge, yet the club never seems smokey.

The club features one main bar and two small temporary bars that are always busy, so exercise patience when ordering. The dance floor is on the smaller size when compared to other clubs in Downtown but the crowd is definitely on the more upscale end proving value with the line that often forms outside. Generally men pay a cover charge and women are allowed in free. One tip is to have dinner at Takami located on the very same floor. Take care of your waiter and you can most often get in without the line hassle or cover. Dress code in the form of collared shirts for guys is strictly enforced. Currently only open Friday and Saturday unless is it a special event. 811 Wilshire Blvd. 213-623-7100

Exchange LA

This is Downtown’s most often talked about club. The former Stock Exchange has been upgraded with impressive décor, lighting and sound as well as a stage for musical performances, but unfortunately the crowd hasn’t upgraded along with it. The Exchange needs some work in the form of a crowd draw to become a downtown favorite. Credit card purchases require a $30 minimum and the wait is most often four to five people deep. The the look and potential of this location are the best part and most Downtowners often go here for special events like the Official DTLA ArtWalk after party. Cover charge is $20 for guys and girls. Open to the public Friday and Saturday nights. 618 S. Spring / 213-627-8070

J Lounge

Running double-duty as a club and a restaurant J Lounge gets really jumping on Friday and Saturday nights. The multi levels and a massive outdoor patio make it easy for large groups to land and roam throughout the night. An Asian-fusion crowd is the norm. An upstairs room features a large dance floor with an oddly low ceiling so it tends to get a little warm, but you can always dip to the outside smoking lounge located on the same floor to cool off. Drinks are priced reasonably and bottle service is available. Cover charge ranges from $15 to $20 depending on the night.
1119 S. Olive / 213-746-7746

La Cita

The king of dive bar dancing, La Cita is the strongest draw for downtown locals liking to dance. Heavy on the Mexican vibe, the crowd is an eclectic mix of Latino immigrants and hipsters looking to get away from anything mainstream. Drinks here are cheap and the music is played loud. A large outdoor patio features a separate bar and an escape from the thumping bass inside. Crowds vary according to themes like ‘Mustache Mondays’ for the gay crowd and Punk Reggae for the alternative crowd. The general feeling is this place is always upbeat so if you don’t care about fancy places and just want to get sweaty on the dance floor, La Cita is for you. _ 336 S. Hill / 213-687-7111_

The Mayan

Not frequented by Downtowners as much as some of the other mainstays, The Mayan is nothing short of massive and nothing short of being 90 percent Hispanic. Modern salsa and hip hop dominates the main dance floor and Spanish music packs the basement dance floor. Drinks are cheap, incredibly strong and it is most often a very friendly vibe. If you are not into the whole Latin thing, try checking this venue out for one of its many special events and or concerts like Lucha Va Voom in October. Cover charge is $10 before 10:30 and $20 after. Open Friday and Saturday. 1038 S. Hill / 213-746-4287

Hopefully this guide will get you off that bar stool and into one of the many spots we have in Downtown LA just remember to leave your glow sticks at home.

Have a favorite spot in Downtown LA to dance that is not listed here? Well then, chime in and share with the community in the comments.


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