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O.C. Clubs | Wanna Dance?

Time's Right to Try Luck at 13th Floor

April 01, 1999|GENA PASILLAS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

If black cats, cracked sidewalks and broken mirrors give you the creeps, stay home and ride the couch. But if you're daring enough to challenge superstition, grab your broom and zoom: to the 13th Floor in Huntington Beach.

The club's atmosphere is ideal for dancing, playing pool or just hanging out. An eclectic crowd of twenty- to thirtysomethings welcomes everyone--no double-takes if your hair is blue.

The simple yet stylish decor isn't distracting, though you may see strobe lights or a disco ball if you stare hard enough at the stage lighting. Red and gray walls bear Generation X-ish art such as a Hawaiian hula girl with her derriere half-exposed. The decorators even threw in paintings of antique woody autos and a sketch of Frank Sinatra so geezers won't feel left out.

Three TVs set into the rippled wall above the bar usually broadcast dirt-bike races or surf videos, though sometimes they are preempted for big sports events. The place opens at noon, but deep red velvet curtains keep mean old Mr. Sun from ruining your buzz.

The bar does its best to showcase up-and-coming local bands, from punk and rockabilly to funk and blues. At a recent show, local punk bands, including Dead Bolt and the Neurotones, played their hearts out for a packed house.

Bands usually play Thursday through Saturday nights, but come summer, Sunday afternoons will add reggae and Jimmy Buffett-style bands to the mix. Keep in mind that better bands mean higher cover charges. The range is $2-$8, typically about $5.

Owners Ethan Hull and Greg Moak, both of Huntington Beach, just finished refurbishing the former biker bar, which they took over in June. Slowly but surely they've put in new TVs, tile, speakers, a carpeted stage and best of all, a beautiful new bar. Besides replacing the wooden bar for a sleek black surface, they've added a few new taps, including one with sweet pear cider. An enhanced wine list will soon be available.

Happy hour (3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday) offers $2 well drinks and domestic drafts; otherwise prices are $2.50 to $6. Sadly, there's not one crumb of food available at the 13th Floor. There is, however, a Super Mex restaurant (yummy fast food) next door, and Tsunami's Sushi Bar (a lively place for food, booze and music) is around the corner.

The 13th Floor is hidden in the corner of a seemingly dull strip mall, but don't to be fooled. After all, as luck would have it, the ocean is directly across the street. It's hard to go wrong with a view like that.

BE THERE

The 13th Floor, 17208 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach. (562) 592-5833. Daily, noon to 2 a.m. 21 and older.

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