247 S. Main St., downtown L.A. (213) 833-2843
Art, experimental music, punk benefits for anarchist causes, indie-rock, Japanese noise and underground film screenings make up the bulk of the entertainment at this club, which looks and smells like a squatter’s camp. Having moved downtown from North Hollywood, this club is absolutely vital to the all-ages scene.
What the kids say: “It’s nice to have a club that’s not solely based on making money.”
1652 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim. (714) 635-6067
Chain Reaction is perhaps O.C.'s key all-ages club, especially since Koo’s Art Cafe closed recently. Hosting punk rock, ska and the occasional indie-rock shows (cover $7-$12), it is sweaty and crowded, as a punk venue should be.
What the kids say: “A lot of bands have a pretty big jock following, but that’s the same with any venue.”
5257 W. Adams Blvd., Mid-City. (323) 954-8080
John Coltrane played in this building in the ‘60s when it was an underground club. Now Fais Do-Do might host a drum-and-bass club, a neighborhood blues band, an R&B; diva, a KXLU benefit or a jazz and spoken word night, as well as offering fine Cajun food in its New Orleans-style saloon.
What the kids say: “There are not very many security guards and a really good mix of people.”
602 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 464-5269
The scene on Cahuenga Boulevard is not unlike the video games inside this spacious Internet gaming lounge, with transvestite hookers and various degenerates stumbling down the street. But inside Badlanz, kids can listen to music over the Net or play multi-player PC games in relative safety, most rolling in from 2:30 p.m. until 4 a.m. closing time.
What the kids say: “A group of kids come here from my school and play Medal of Honor, where we try our best to kill each other.”
3301 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 315-0056
Unurban is a laid-back coffeehouse with rickety thrift store furniture. It’s a fine place for teens to drink hot chocolate, read a book or just loiter--and there’s the requisite open mike nights on Fridays and Wednesdays, both popular with high school kids from nearby Crossroads School. Several high-school-aged bands have performed Saturday nights.
3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 828-4403
Down the street from the Unurban Coffeehouse, McCabe’s is a guitar store that hosts mostly acoustic, adult-oriented acts but is all-ages. The $10 and $20 cover charges are a little pricey, but it books the likes of Frank Black and Ben Lee.
What the kids say: “It’s good for seeing a really intimate concert.”
124 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton. (714) 871-2233
All of its shows are free. There’s coffee and coffeehouse-type food served by tattooed youngsters. The patio is a superb place to chill among trees and heat lamps, and so are the tables facing the parking lot and the nearby Fullerton Train Station and Greyhound Bus Station. And in the back, a video arcade called the Reagan Years has Tempest and Dig Dug. The Hub is the sort of all-ages neighborhood hangout that all neighborhoods should have but few do.
9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 276-6168
This well-known club, which once famously booted a drunk John Lennon onto the pavement, books an amazing lineup of bands but also has as many rules related to kids (no ins and outs to smoke, a $3 cover on the free night) as some high schools.
What the kids say: “They are pretty cool about letting kids wear what they want compared to the Palace and the Palladium.”
6800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 461-2017
Affiliated with Seventeen magazine, One Seven is a new dance club exclusively for kids between the ages of 15 and 20, a spacious room in the Hollywood & Highland shopping complex with a vast wooden dance floor, a large stage, giant video screens, fancy red lamps and a nonalcoholic energy bar. The cover is $20, and the entertainment is sugary and Britney Spears-oriented.
What the kids say: “Kind of lame but packed.”
426 N. Fairfax Ave., Hollywood. (323) 658-7533
Science fiction is the theme at Nova Express, a coffeehouse that serves pizza and has DJs seven nights a week. The chill-out vibe makes this a hang before and after raves, as it’s open until 4 a.m.
11609 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A. (310) 473-7283
Cacao is a simple tiki-themed coffeehouse where students from University, Palisades and Windward schools hang out. It’s located on a lively, all-ages-oriented block of Santa Monica Boulevard, which boasts a couple of sushi spots open late.