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Best Places for Live DJs in Orange County

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(credit: Wayfarer)

With the popularity of EDM music, dance clubs and live music venues are all the rage. People step out to dance and have a good time, but the music plays a major role in that. The DJ is tasked with setting the club's atmosphere and creating a space that everyone can enjoy. While many DJs play house or hip-hop music, still others incorporate music from various genres and decades. Stop by these OC clubs to hear some of the county's best DJs.

Yost Theater
(credit: Yost Theater)

Yost Theater
307 North Spurgeon Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(888) 862-9573

As both a historic landmark and the oldest theater in Orange County, the Yost Theater has been home to plenty of performances, comedy shows and musical acts. In 2011, new owners reopened the theater, working to blend its history—the "old"—with brand new technology and giving it a modern vibe that sets it apart in the local scene. It gets pretty crowded, making it a great spot for dancing. The DJs vary from up-and-coming artists to well established acts. There are special event nights for holidays or local festivals, but they also host Havoc Thursdays, a night of electro, house, dub step and trap music from various DJs.

(credit: Sutra)

1870 Harbor Boulevard
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 722-7103

Having been in business for more than a decade now, Sutra is one of Orange County's hottest nightclubs. The venue is filled with artistic visual elements, lasers and strobe lighting, giving it an enhanced atmosphere ideal for dancing, partying and listening to the latest DJs and hip-hop artists. Acts like Paul Oakenfold have taken the stage at Sutra to entertain and amaze. They have special themed nights as well like Element Thursday, dedicated to electronic music, and Social Saturdays, where DJs play the best pop, hip-hop and electro music. Sutra is also home to Sutra Fridays, which also feature live DJs.

Mansion - verified ashley ryan
(Credit: Jesse Castro)

Mansion Costa Mesa
841 Baker Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 549-1250

The newest spot on this list, Mansion Costa Mesa offers something a little different for Costa Mesa locals. While there are plenty of hipster-esque spots in the area, this club focuses on playing a mixture of old and new hip-hop. While they have smaller name DJs, they spin a great selection of music and there is no cover charge to stop by for a night. The interior is lavishly decorated, giving it the vibe of a Las Vegas nightclub. A color-changing light fixture hangs from the ceiling, casting colorful mood lighting over the dance floor. Cushy seats line the outskirts with views of the dance floor and bar's upscale décor.

heat ultra lounge
(credit: Simone V / Yelp)

Heat Ultra Lounge
321 Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 776-4328

Located at the Anaheim GardenWalk, Heat Ultra Lounge will soon be competing with the brand new House of Blues. However, expect to find more of a club setting here than you will at the former Downtown Disney music hotspot. There are two different rooms with their own stages, making it easy for two different DJs to play on the same night. There are also various patios—both outdoor and indoor—for guests to relax in. With outstanding sound and lighting systems, this club has a thrilling vibe with VIP sections that give you an edge up. The red, blue and purple lights inside enhance the modern design of the club.

Wayfarer - verified - ashley ryan
(credit: Wayfarer)

The Wayfarer
843 West 19th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 764-0039

While The Wayfarer hosts rock, blues and indie bands, they also have some fantastic DJ sets. Since taking over the Detroit Bar location following its closure, they have worked to keep the venue's fans enthralled and returning to check out their slew of live acts. Their Monday night residency shows, which vary in genre, are free but some shows do cost anywhere up to $15. The Wayfarer is more of a bar than a club, as they also serve bar food like tacos, quesadillas and mac n cheese. With happy hours six days per week—good for drafts, wine and well drinks—you can get good deals on drinks before 7 p.m., but the DJs usually hit the stage later on.

velvet lounge
(credit: Vic C./Yelp)

VLVT | Velvet Lounge
416 West 4th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 664-0663

DJs are a regular part of VLVT Velvet Lounge's nightly entertainment, with local acts playing music that is sure to get guests dancing. As one of the county's newest gay bars, there is a big emphasis on dancing and entertainment. DJs play during both ladies' and boys' nights, including various genres in their sets like pop, dance, hip-hop and house music. When they aren't hosting live DJs, they are presenting brunches and dinners accompanied by drag shows. They also have a monthly standup comedy show as well as karaoke nights. While many events are 21+, they do also host 18+ events.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.
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