HALLS’ Coolest Dance Parties in the Country: Los Angeles

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HALLS and our intrepid party reporters hit dance floors coast-to-coast to find the coolest ongoing parties in the country. It was a hard job, but somebody had to do it. On our trip, we uncovered the coolest hot spots in LA where serious dancers seriously get down. We’re talkin’ places that really know how to party. So join us and get ready to let the cool in. It’s gonna be Mentho-Lyptical.

The Melt

It’s not easy to describe the smooth grooves and softening sounds of the Melt, but we’ll give it a try. Think liquefied loops and dissolving dubs meant to thaw away stress and help build momentum for what lies ahead. This monthly dance party is just as unpredictable as it is tried-and-true — a gorgeous nebula of visceral and vanguard refrains that refuse to distinguish between music and movement or melody and motion; instead, it all just melts away for a fresh new you.

The Melt, various prices, monthly at various LA locations.

Low End Theory

The Airliner’s Wednesday-night listening/dance party has spawned spinoffs in San Francisco and Japan, but Low End Theory remains LA to the core. From reggae-influenced hip-hop to global avant-rap, Low End Theory continuously explores uncharted musical terrain, specializing in smooth sounds and transcendent grooves that elude classification. Famous for sourcing emerging talent and catapulting new careers, Low End Theory often spawns mile-long queues outside, but inside, it’s well worth it.

Low End Theory, $10, weekly on Wednesday nights at the Airliner (2419 N Broadway, Downtown, 323.221.0771)

Church

From his hometown of New Zealand to his adopted towns of West London and Los Angeles, Mark de Clive Lowe’s remixes and rhythmic cinematic soundscapes hypnotize everyone from veteran dancers to vividly painted wallflowers just waiting to sway to his much-buzzed-about live sets. It’s a religious experience — almost as cathartic as going to Mass, which makes the weighty name of MdCL’s regular club night no accident.

Church, $10, monthly on Thursday nights at Del Monte Speakeasy (52 Windward Ave, Venice, 310.392.4040)

Afro Funké

DJ Jeremy Sole and Ghana’s own living legend Rocky Dawuni are just a few of the folks behind Afro Funké, which the crew describes as an “Afroboogie ritual” and “weekly funk invocation.” World dubs, global soul, salsa, reggae, and disco are just a few of the spices in this trademark exotic blend of inspired, intercontinental grooves. The funk-fueled dance-juggernaut has a softer side, too — it’s partnered with nonprofit humanitarian org NextAid for its annual World AIDS Day fundraiser. So you know that Afro Funké isn’t just a feel-good dance party; it actually does some good, too.

Afro Funké, $7 – 10, weekly on Thursday nights at Zanzibar (1301 5th St, Santa Monica, 310.451.2221)

Insomniac

In Los Angeles, all-night dance parties often extend into dawn, and nobody makes it more fun to stay awake than the Insomniac crew. Famous for the extra-large Electric Daisy Carnival, Insomniac hosts not one but two weekly LA dance nights designed to make you move. Awakening arouses the senses and stirs up dormant impulses while stimulating awareness. Meanwhile, Inception opens things up further by bringing about new beginnings. Either way, when it comes to dance parties, Insomniac is the very definition of wakefulness and it sets the bar high.

Insomniac: Awakening, $20 – 79, weekly on Friday nights; Inception, $20 – 79, weekly on Saturday nights at Exchange LA (618 S. Spring Street, Downtown)

Bootie LA

Bootie is America’s premier club night devoted exclusively to mixing and mashing up bootleg tunes, dishing out nonstop high-energy fare for music-lovers around the world. In LA, the soundtrack sets the stage for a crazy scene where there’s no escape from the Frankenstein-like monster of movement taking over the dance floor. Plus, in the spirit of fair use and independent merry-making, Bootie makes its one-of-a-kind dance mashups available online for any future private dance parties at home or elsewhere.

Bootie LA, $6 – 12, biweekly on Saturday nights at the Echoplex (1154 Glendale Blvd, Echo Park, 213.413.8200)

A Club Called Rhonda

LA’s gender-bending dance-party milieu has taken a few hits lately, with long-running favorites such as Mr. Black and Dragstrip 66 laid to rest. Thankfully, Rhonda is still going strong, and she shows no signs of calling it quits. So just who is Rhonda, exactly? She’s more than a party or a label — she’s the glamorous embodiment of an LA zeitgeist that feeds off sexy dress and playful peeps, along with a bacchanalian banquet of both homegrown and imported dance music. For all the city’s resident aliens, A Club Called Rhonda is the mothership.

A Club Called Rhonda, $5 – 15, monthly on Saturday nights at Los Globos (3040 W Sunset Blvd, Silver Lake, 323.663.6517)

Part Time Punks

The aptly named Part Time Punks is a Sunday-night trek into the beat-filled world of classic indie pop, tinged with new/no wave, industrial, post-punk, funk, synth, and everything in between. Whether live or on vinyl, these tunes are designed to get you into the groove and out on the dance floor. While they may not have invented the mosh pit, Part Time Punks definitely knows how to keep its spirit alive.

Part Time Punks, $5 – 10, weekly on Sunday nights at The Echo (1822 W Sunset Blvd, Echo Park, 213.413.8200)

Dim Mak

Steve Aoki is a local club fixture who’s won “Best DJ of the Year” from Paper Magazine and “Best Mix Album of the Year” from Billboard. The electro house musician founded Dim Mak Records in 1996, and has remixed artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Snoop Dogg, Peaches, and Moving Units. Aoki continues to work as a club promoter and DJ, and the Dim Mak label parties on at Drai’s on Sunday nights and Dim Mak Studios on Tuesday nights — with a fresh new lineup every week.

Dim Mak, $20 / free before 11PM, weekly on Sunday nights at Drai’s (6250 Hollywood Blvd, 323.962.1111) and $10 – 20, weekly on Tuesday nights at Dim Mak Studios (6356 Hollywood Blvd, 323.817-3456)

School Night

Once upon a time, the words “school night” brought up dreaded thoughts of early curfews and missed opportunities, but not at Bardot, where KCRW DJ Chris Douridas holds down the fort every Monday night with an expertly curated mix of vinyl and live shows. Here is where the weekend’s official end meets the week’s promising beginnings. Indeed, School Night is the place to both decompress from the recent past and make ready for whatever the near future has in store.

School Night, free w/ RSVP, weekly on Monday nights at Bardot Hollywood (1735 N Vine St, 323.462.1307)