OC LIVE! : Lava Room Erupts to Overflowing With Style and Substance


Bryce Osborne and his supporting cast have taken a medium-size building in an industrial section of Costa Mesa, a building that could just as well be a plumbing supply warehouse, and have transformed it into a rollicking two-night-a-week spot called the Lava Room. And boy, does it go off.

Osborne took over the place from his father, who ran a successful country bar there until his death five years ago. Much time and money have been spent on it since then, and it now features impressive lighting, a booming sound system, adequate ventilation provided by numerous fans and two-story ceilings to ward off claustrophobia.

For a $5 cover charge, patrons can enjoy live performances and very good dance music on Monday and Friday nights and sometimes other nights as well. A 24-hour hot line, (714) 631-0526, keeps you posted. (The place operates, without live music, as Newport Station Thursdays and Saturdays. Disco Wednesdays, featured in OC Live! earlier this year, have been discontinued).

Notable national acts have appeared at the Lava Room, including Mudhoney, SNFU, the Fleshtones and everclear. Due next month: the Melvins and Neurotic Boy Outsiders (featuring Duran Duran’s John Taylor, ex-Sex Pistol wild man Steve Jones and Duff McKagen and Matt Sorum from Guns ‘N’ Roses).


On Mondays, starting around 10, local up-and-comers perform showcase-style 40-minute sets that largely go unnoticed by people seemingly more intent on boozing and schmoozing. Come midnight, though, the place is hopping and shaking with DJ Roly, who begins with recognizable if overplayed disco and progresses into more obscure (and louder!) dance music. Fridays bring the touring bands, which usually bring opening bands, and DJs vary.

The lazy/family vibe ensures that the Lava Room routinely is filled with people letting it all hang out or unwinding over some hotly contested pool games ($1 per) or trying their luck at the lone for-amusement-only blackjack table nestled in the far corner.

An informal survey of the crowd revealed that some had come from as far as Torrance.

Young Kurts and Courtneys danced alongside yuppies, surfers, snowboarders and punks. This was some serious booty-quaking going on. And the crowd was a refreshingly mixed bag ethnically, which isn’t always the case with Costa Mesa night life. MORE CLUBS, F10 *


THE LAVA ROOM 1945 Placentia Ave., Costa Mesa. 21 and older. (714) 631-0526. Usually open on Mondays and Fridays only, from 8 p.m. till 2 a.m. $5 cover. Visa, MasterCard and ATM.