LA vs. OC: The club wars

by Natasha Martinez

When Samantha Brooks gets done with her dermatologist job in Mission Viejo and then drives back to her home in Redlands, all she wants to do is wind down with a couple of drinks, some good company, and a nice atmosphere. However you won’t find her at a pub near her job, or home. She’s be a whole 70 miles away from home partying in Hollywood. 

“I would rather drive far away because there’s not much variety where I’m from,” said Brooks.

She describes any place being better than the bars in Redlands. But LA vs. OC for clubs. LA wins it for Brooks.

“I've never really been "out" in OC, but I enjoy the club and bar scene in LA because of the glamorous Hollywood vibe most of the clubs emit,” said Brooks.

Hollywood has been the icon of glamour in Southern California for a century, and the celebrity obsession has brought tourists to not only want to catch a glimpse of these stars but to party with them too.

“I once shook hands with Leonardo DiCaprio inside this club called Vignette. I’m pretty sure that only happens in Hollywood,” said Brooks.

No, DiCaprio hasn’t been hanging out in OC latelyk.

Even if the chance to party with a celebrity is not in the cards for the night, the vibe of going to Hollywood is like a mini vacation. From up and coming hot spots like Warwick and Bootsy Bellows, to staple venues like the Sky Bar or the House of Blues, Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard have become a destination strip similar to the one in the high desert.

“Going out in Hollywood is like going to mini Vegas,” said Alicia Manzur, Chapman University senior. “It seems like trendy spots pop up all the time in LA, so every time you go there is something new to see,” said Manzur.

Beachers Madhouse at the Roosevelt Hotel is famous for its crazy costumed characters, dancers and celebrity filled tables.
Beachers Madhouse at the Roosevelt Hotel is famous for its crazy costumed characters, dancers and celebrity filled tables.

But not everyone thinks you have to drive to LA to find a good time at the bar scene. For some, Orange County has been deemed a hidden gem. It lacks the spotlight of Hollywood but it still shines with its upscale restaurants and trendy lounges.

“When I'm in OC, I usually do dinner at Javier's or Fig and Olive. The vibe is a little more laid back and the food and cocktails are fantastic, “ said Orange County resident Alexa Hosseini. Hosseini has been into more lounges and restaurants lately than nightclubs and feels that places like Newport and Costa Mesa have a leg up on Hollywood when it comes to places like that.

“Fig and Olive turns into a great lounge after 10. If I want a livelier scene and I want to dress up, Sutra is where I go,” said Hosseini.

Sutra is considered by many the number one nightclub in Orange County,  located at the Triangle in Costa Mesa. It has brought artists like LMFAO, Lil Jon, Far East Movement and Ludacris to it’s stage. 

Many say that, Sutra is the closest thing to an LA nightclub that you’ll get in Orange County and for professional paintball player and frequent LA nightclub attendee Bear Degidio it is his only option.  “Sutra is by far the best spot in OC. It's always throwing good one off parties and has a generally packed house every time with reasonable bottle pricing”, said Degidio.

OC night clubs can offer a laid back vibe while clubs in Hollywood are notorious for drawing bigger crowds and bigger DJs.
OC night clubs can offer a laid back vibe while clubs in Hollywood are notorious for drawing bigger crowds and bigger DJs.

Still when given the chance, Degidio prefers to go out in LA. However he is not a normal club goer who makes reservations, waits in line, or pleads the doorman to get in. Degidio gets the all-star treatment because the famed expression in Hollywood “it’s who you know” doesn’t just apply for the film industry, it applies for nightclubs as well. Since Degidio spends a lot of his time in Los Angeles he has come to know a lot of the promoters including Eli Wehbe the main host for Playhouse.  “Wehbe takes care of me every week. Playhouse has an insane atmosphere of electrifying heavy beats dropping, bottles popping everywhere, hot girls and good looking guys, and insane dj's and talent, with no riff raft or overly drunk idiots,” said Degidio.

According to Degidio there is a certain formula to guarantee a good night.

“Pre-purchase a bottle or have reservations to what ever spot your going to. Go in good guy to girl ratios, always having more girls then guys. Also tip the waitresses at the bar so your night keeps getting better,” said Degidio.

For Daniel Burke, Chapman University junior, the hustle to make a good impression at the clubs in Hollywood are superficial and he would much rather spend his time in Orange County.

“Los Angeles nightlife is a lot more crowded, but the people there are a lot more rude,” said Burke. Along with exclusive nightclubs comes exclusive attitudes and the crowd dynamic of LA is enough to keep some people away.

Brooks of Redlands agrees: “I think the people would be the main difference between the two places. A lot if people in LA are very superficial and egotistical.”

The mini rivalry between LA vs. OC is like East Coast vs. West Coast, or Lakers vs. Clippers, it’s all personal preference.  Both have great things to offer and both lack in certain areas.

“A lot of cities in Orange County are very casual, but it can be just as much fun going out with a bathing suit under your clothes as it can be in a dress and stilettos. It's all personal preference,” said Hosseini. “I love having the option of going to either place, as they are both just a very short car ride away”.

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