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COVER STORY

At Orange County Venues, Distinctive Style Is Built-In

January 03, 2002|Michael Miller

Over the last 10 years, Orange County's clubs have debuted some of the nation's most popular rock bands. But there's more to a club than just the music. Some people go specifically to see the architecture--the colors, lights and decorations that give the guitars and drums that perfect ambience. Below are some of Orange County's most distinguished venues.

In terms of design, there's no grander club in Orange County than PJ's Abbey, which was established as a church in 1891 and now hosts music and comedy shows. The main dining room features original stained-glass windows that hold more than 100 years of religious history, while the walls of the Almond Room have angel sculptures watching over the customers. PJ's Abbey, 182 S. Orange St., Orange, (714) 771-8556.

For a true hybrid of steel and style, there's the Shark Club in Costa Mesa. Once a boat-manufacturing company, this nightclub describes its look as "industrial renaissance"--part wood and concrete, with exposed pipes along the walls and ceiling, and part classic European, with paintings and gold-leaf frames. There are two dance floors, many pool tables and a 2,000-gallon aquarium. Shark Club, 841 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 751-6428.

With the release of the "Lord of the Rings" movie, Elfstone Hollow in Huntington Beach might be increasingly in demand. This tiny English-style pub is cloaked in Tolkien style, with an all-wood interior and plants hanging from the ceiling beams. In addition, the walls sport paintings of fairies and sculptures of hobbits, dragons, unicorns and more. Elfstone Hollow, 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 899-9918.

From its name, you might suspect Detroit Bar to be a rugged industrial dive--but the former Club Mesa has an earthy, postmodernist look, with an orange-and-green color scheme and a late-'60s-style bar. The bar area-- with booths, pool tables and a back lounge-- accommodates 230 people. Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0600.

On the raw side is the Doll Hut, which peers up from between warehouses in Anaheim's factory district. The club, which covers only 1,000 square feet, has a 10-foot ceiling and stickers all over the walls. With the bar taking up much of the floor space, you can get close to the music--there is no stage, and the bands play in the corner. Doll Hut, 107 S. Adams Ave., Anaheim, (714) 533-1286.

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