I don’t know who needs to hear this, but…
Los Angeles was, is, and will always be a HIP-HOP town.
Sure, electronic dance music has surged in popularity around the world over the past decade. And yes, an international hub like LA has world-class venues that cater to this genre (Academy, Sound, and the legendary Avalon to name a few).
However, let’s not forget that hip-hop had a similar – if not bigger – global surge across 2+ decades in the 90s and aughts, and Los Angeles was THE MOST INSTRUMENTAL CITY in this rise to prominence. From Boston to Barcelona to Bangkok, an entire generation of humanity was culturally shaped by the beats, rhymes, and lifestyles of LA’s enduring hip-hop legends: Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, The Game, Tyga, Kendrick Lamar, YG, and Nipsey Hussle. The preponderance of a taste for hip-hop music among Angelenos – owing to its noticeably large population of blacks and Latinos – has always exerted strong influence on Hollywood and the power players and tastemakers who have resided in LA’s neighborhoods and controlled pop culture for decades before the internet and social media existed. Nowhere is this more evident than in LA’s nightlife scene, where the hottest spots – established paparazzi “it” spots and well-funded newcomers alike – always spin hip-hop to packed crowds of locals and tourists.
In 2020, hip-hop is making a comeback…. but here in LA, our old friend never really went anywhere. Here are the most popular hip-hop nightclubs across the sprawling City of Angels. And when you have some time, grab a cool drink, chillax in the Cali sunshine and dive into the ocean of hundreds of available entertainment venues and events across LA using our Discotech app.
For 6+ years, Warwick has been endlessly lauded by celebrity glitterati, globetrotting party people, and hospitality industry insiders alike as one of THE BEST nightclub experiences in the world. The venue perfectly captures the chic vibe and glamorous ethos that has defined Hollywood for a century, while incorporating unique modern touches such as tableside craft cocktail service, ultra-friendly service staff, and themed interior design decor that changes periodically to create the fresh feel of a brand-new upscale venue. The “X” you’ll see in Warwick’s social media posts refers to Warwick’s tenth and current remodel, which calls to mind a pink-hued secret garden with fresh flower arrangements hanging from the ceiling and walls. (The previous remodel No. 9 was a dimly lit French brasserie; No. 8 was an airy, colorful Moroccan bazaar theme.) Weekend nights are certainly can’t-miss, but it’s the Wednesday nights here that are what partying in Hollywood is all about.
Formerly known as the Trousdale Lounge, actor David Arquette revamped this space into a nightclub in 2012 and named it after his mother. Bootsy Bellows is a luxurious celebrity hotspot that sports a swanky vintage style courtesy of a multimillion-dollar remodel completed in 2019. With a rosy pink hue, bright green accents punctuated by a plethora of live house plants, sparking chandeliers viewed through a reflective main bar, and plenty of plush banquette seating, the space radiates a vintage Hollywood shimmer. A night at Bootsy will rarely go by without a celebrity sighting, but it’s no easy feat to gain entry particularly with a male-heavy group – bottle service is the only surefire way into the greatness that lies within.
A high-end dinner spot from 6-10pm, Hyde Sunset transforms into a top go-to place for celebrities and affluent club-goers when the clock strikes midnight. Its capacity is relatively smaller – only 500 max – and thus the doormen can be pretty selective (but hey, you already knew that). However, that doesn’t stop this place from being one of the best hip-hop venues in one of the most trafficked tourist areas of the city. Weekdays are for young Hollywood, where fashionable artists and college kids (and NBA players) mingle to a mix of hip-hop classics and new radio cuts; on weekends, bigger-name stars and their entourages fill up the couches (and sometimes even take the stage). When you’re ready to see and be seen, hop on our app and schedule a night to “Hyde” out with your besties.
The view alone is enough reason for you to try out the experience Elevate Lounge has to offer. Sitting 21 floors up in a skyscraper on Wilshire Boulevard, the club – one of the longest-running venues in the city – offers a breathtaking panorama view from the glittering Hollywood Hills in the backdrop all the way down to the DTLA skyline in the foreground. A clean and modern design complements a spacious and open venue, allowing guests to immerse themselves in an authentic big-city metropolis dancing experience with the option to take open-air breaks to enjoy the scenery. Unlike most other upscale LA hip-hop venues, Elevate is a place for the masses: there is a guestlist for free admission is on most nights before 10pm, and even though the Elevate’s bottle service packages are most certainly the cheapest and best value options in LA relative to the fun that awaits.
1 OAK LA
As EDM surged in popularity over the past decade, one hip-hop name has steadfastly kept its head above the rising tide: 1 OAK. With expanding locations across the globe, 1 OAK – a clever, catchy acronym for “1 Of A Kind” – has firmly established their brand as an enduring stalwart in the nightclub industry. Timeless designs and unparalleled hospitality make sure the VIP guest experience in 1 OAK will not soon be forgotten. The Los Angeles chapter of the franchise sits in the former home of the old Key Club, and it is now one of the most popular dancing, lounging, and stargazing hip-hop spots in the city – marquee artists like Chris Brown, Wiz Khalifa, and Rae Sremmurd have all recently performed on these hallowed grounds.
Out on the Westside ready to get crunk and drop it like it’s low tonight, but too lazy/broke/buzzed to take the 40-minute Uber out to Hollywood??? Have no fear, the solution to your problems is the most happening hip-hop spot west of the 405. Hidden in plain sight within a nondescript shopping complex on Santa Monica’s Main Street drag, 31Ten Lounge opens early – 5pm – and offers sunset craft cocktails and delicious bites to sun-drenched guests ambling over from the beaches a few blocks away. By 10pm, the venue is packed – both the inside dance floor and the spectacular fireplace-laden outdoor patio three times the size of the indoor area – and the resident DJ has the pedal to the metal spinning radio-friendly hip-hop hits to a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. On warm summer nights, the line at 31Ten can get long and stay long until 1am… so bottle service (which is much cheaper than in Hollywood) is highly suggested. Protip: bring out your inner extrovert – this spot is a notorious singles scene for recent college grads and white-collar professionals, and the vibe is an “aggressively friendly” one.
The latest SBE concept in the former Greystone Manor space, Nightingale is an avant-garde nightclub named after Hollywood’s after-party-rich Bird Streets. The first thing you’ll see upon entering is an elegant lounge with surreal wallpaper strewn with phantom limbs, flower with eyes and even dinosaurs designed by the acclaimed Rockwell Group. Four distinct areas allow guests to freely dine, lounge or dance in. A photo booth is also installed in line with the wallpaper to let up to 8 people capture their unforgettable memories in the club. Where refined elegance meets crafted technology, this venue is poised to be the next A-lister go to place. Cover charge is often not an option at the door, so you’ll want to get bottle service here, particularly on their signature Greystone Sundays event which for years has been a well-attended meetup/party for the up-and-coming actors, musicians, and creative artists of Black Hollywood.
A modern ode to stylish escapism in heart of Hollywood, Playhouse is one of the west coast’s most well-known gathering spots for urban trap aficionados. The venue sports a versatile layout that creates the ultimate entertainment playground for adults, featuring two fully equipped DJ booths and mixing consoles, Funktion One sound, custom lighting rigs with programmable LEDs, large projection screens, stage performances and 4 full service bars. The impressive high-ceilinged main room is dominated by a huge oval bar presided over by scantily-clad bartenders who, when not slinging drinks, leap onto trapezes for some aerial acrobatics or regale the crowd with a provocative burlesque show in the elevated cages. Additionally, the space – and its prime location along the hustle and bustle of Hollywood Boulevard is ideal for staging both corporate and private events as well as live music concerts, film premieres, fashion shows, film shoots, press junkets, movie / TV screenings and daytime conventions.