If you can muster up your own partner or dance crew, Maxwell de Mille’s Cicada Club is a truly amazing vintage venue. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the 1930’s when you walk in (it was featured in “The Artist”). It has live bands from that period so brush up on your Balboa. There are not always a lot of partners (although sometimes there are), so it’s best to bring your own. Note, there is a dress code, so you have to dress vintage or at least upscale. Check the Lindy Calendar on the front page of this site to make sure it’s going on.
Lorenzo’s Happy Feet Mondays at Joe’s Great American Bar And Grill in the Valley is the place to be on Monday nights, with tons of really good dancers. A lot of Balboa is done here. It always features excellent live bands.
If you live in Orange County, go to Memories (even though it’s technically in southern L.A. county).
If you are in L.A., Joe’s Bar usually has danceable bands on Tuesday nights. Crowd varies depending on the band though.. Sometimes there are folks to dance with, sometimes not.
If you are in Orange County, go to Atomic, the long-running cornerstone of OC swing dancing. It has a friendly crowd and there are plenty of partners.
In L.A. go to Rusty’s Rhythm Club, a long-running venue with a friendly crowd, dancers of all skill levels, and lessons beforehand. It’s one of the few regular Swing venues on the West side. (If it’s a week with the first Friday of the month in it, then Rusty’s event is on Friday; check the calendar).
If you are in Orange County go to Strutter’s Ball. There are plenty of partners and lessons beforehand.
Lindy Groove in Pasadena is the largest weekly swing event in California (or the whole country?), with plenty of partners of all skill levels and good lessons beforehand. This is the default place to go on Thursday nights for many swing dancers.
On the first Friday of the month, Rusty’s Rhythm Club has a special monthly dance with live band. I highly recommend it! If you live in Orange County, go to Atomic Ballroom on Friday nights. Lots of partners, big floor, varying skill levels.
One Friday a month in downtown L.A. is the Lindy Loft. They have a beginner lesson beforehand, and always lots of people to dance with, mostly in their 20’s and 30’s.
Clifton’s in downtown LA has Swing dancing on their third floor Brookdale Ballroom on Friday and Saturday nights. However, they don’t publish the band until the last minute.
Probably the longest-running swing venue around is the Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association’s dance on Saturday night. They always feature live bands, lots of partners, and a friendly non-intimidating, somewhat older, crowd.
On third Saturdays, check out Ben and Sheri’s Third Saturday Swing, in Pasadena (Note, this is on hiatus now). You’ll find some of the best dancers there in a friendly environment. Since they are close to each other, you can go to PBDA first, then go to Third Saturday, since it runs late.
Clifton’s in downtown LA is an option on Saturdays.
Send me updates and your experiences at these or other swing clubs. Hope this is helpful. If there is a weekly swing club that is totally hoppin’ and not on this list, let me know! – Brian