Electric Circus Gets Into the Act

<i> Rose Apodaca is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition. </i>

Even an unfinished work can show signs of eventually becoming a masterpiece, and Anaheim’s newest nightclub, Electric Circus, is certainly headed in that direction. Only a month old, the 6,500-square-foot venue is a diamond in the rough that could rank among the county’s brightest party sites in ’94.

From the outside, this renovated Chinese restaurant in the Tower Records shopping center looks like an uninspired dive. But inside, Electric Circus unfolds with a gorgeous neo-baroque-meets-industrial interior. At a glance, it resembles Irvine’s Metropolis and Costa Mesa’s Shark Club; all three are very much inspired by nightclubs in cosmopolitan capitals in Europe.

The walls at Electric Circus have been washed in gold and red and the ceiling is saturated in purple. Yards of plush fabrics in those colors will drape the walls soon; the club--inside and out--is still in the decorating stages. A rich palette of velveteen also covers the curvy love seats and chaise lounges where patrons can have a glamour fit.

Lounge lizards will go gaga over the tuck-n-roll applied to the matte black bar in the main room, and the large gold vinyl couch occupying a corner.


There are Roman-style pillars throughout the two adjoining rooms, enormous mirrors in gilded baroque frames hanging over the bar and the stage and chandeliers of bent golden rods; but other than that, accessories are kept to a minimum. A romantic leaf print carpet like those found in old luxury hotels stretches up to the chipped concrete flooring that dominates the front of the club.

Even the nine billiards tables look elegant, topped in red felt and each lit by a narrow lamp covered in burgundy velvet and trimmed in gold fringe.

Deja vu ? Well, the difference between Electric Circus and Metropolis and the Shark Club is its appeal. Where the latter two draw an upscale, yuppie clientele who go for such amenities as valet parking, the 18 and older scenesters at Electric Circus are often those who might have been considered weird in high school and who continue to be categorized under alternative.

Electric Circus owner Allen Ornstein knows this crowd well. He’s been clothing them for years with his stores London Calling (in the Buena Park and Puente Hills malls). Six months ago, he took over the Beach Boulevard building and expanded his talents to include club management and furniture design.


Still in the works are tables and a dance floor that lights up, and a private room where part of the kitchen used to be. Risers are being added to the stage, where bands already perform Friday and Saturday nights, so performance artists can use them on Wednesdays in a weekly installation of Theatre.

Hosted by the club’s new artistic director Beej (who promotes and deejays at Disco 2000 at Club 5902 in Huntington Beach), Theatre pounds out techno by deejays Taylor and Steve Loria. Although still a viable musical form, techno doesn’t seem to completely work at Theatre--even once the performance art kicks in. A more innovative musical diet such as acid jazz could probably better serve the night better.

The rest of the week will get billed with theme nights come January. Tuesdays will cater to a KNAC-style headbanger crowd. Thursdays will offer a dance party of KROQ and old skool music and Sundays will get mellow with reggae. The weekends will always rage to live local and bigger acts, Ornstein says.

Until next month, a mix of good recorded beats will soundtrack the night through the week, for anyone interested in just coming in to bum around, shoot pool or snack from the kitchen opening up next week. The menu will offer munchies such as buffalo wings, Caesar salad and pastas, all under $7, from 4 to 10 p.m.


Wash it down with one of the 20 beer selections on tap. Pick imports such as Foster’s, Killian Red, Newcastle, Steinlager, Amstel and others for $3 a mug. Domestics such as Coors, Bud and Miller are $2. Only Zima comes in a bottle ($3). Wells and wine are $3 and sodas are $2.

Because patrons age 18 and over are welcome, a wrist band and stamp are given to those of legal drinking age. Those between 18 and 21 will also have to pay an extra couple of bucks on those nights when a cover is charged.


* 314 N. Beach Blvd., Anaheim.


* (714) 826-9686.

* Open daily, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

* No cover Sunday through Tuesday and on Thursday; Wednesday is $3, $5 for ages 18 to 21; Friday and Saturday, $2 to $3.