Shimmy, Grind the Night Away at El Mexi-Rock Cafe

Down deep in South County, where 24-hour grocery stores and an occasional country-Western bar supply the main night life, there's a place where people can shake, shimmy, bump or grind until the wee hours of the morning.

By day, El Mexi-Rock Cafe in Mission Viejo is just another pastel-colored medium-priced Mexican restaurant.

But when 9 p.m. rolls around, the DJ starts the speakers thumping and the floor is soon packed with pumping, gyrating bodies.

Music ranges from the most overplayed dance hits to heavy soul, R & B and rap, with an occasional heavy-metal anthem thrown in.

The music brings in a diverse but young crowd.

Long-haired hard-rockers rub shoulders with close-shaved hip-hoppers.

Dressed-to-kill dancers head out on the dance floor with steps that look as if they have been rehearsed for hours in front of the bathroom mirror.

There's a rather small, cramped dance floor and the bar makes full use of its excellent sound system. The only way to have an intimate conversation is out in the parking lot.

El Mexi-Rock Cafe is equipped with neon lights, modern furniture and yuppified Mexican touches of tile floors and doorway arches.

Food is also offered, but most patrons seem to take advantage of the cheap drink menu instead.

After a cover charge of $3 (waved if you come before 10 p.m., or if you happen to be female on Wednesdays, Ladies Night), draft beer and mixed drinks are only a buck.

The cafe also has a long happy hour from 3 to 9 p.m. and is one of the few clubs around that still offers discount drinks on the weekends.

And if that isn't enough, once a week women are treated to a male strip show and men can witness a female bathing suit contest.

Who said there's nothing to do in South Orange County?

El Mexi-Rock Cafe, 28411 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo. Open 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday. (714) 364-6674.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World