By Isaiah Castaneda
Whether it’s watching your favorite band play at a small bar, experiencing folks express themselves on poetry nights, or seeking a new place to show off your own talents, the Orange County area has plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes to keep you entertained.
Ziings Bistro and Bar
209 N. Harbor Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92832
Ziings Bistro is known for their “Asian fare” with a “Western flair”; for instance Asian nachos, spicy tuna tostadas, and on Tuesdays, Asian tacos. What you may not know is that they host an open mic night every Thursday, as well as free live entertainment Friday and Saturday nights, according to the owner, Robert Marenco.
The talent performed on open mic nights ranges from live music, to comedy, and even poetry. To get permission to perform, you must sign up as soon as you walk in the door and the order is on a “first come, first serve basis”. If the staff at Ziings Bistro thinks you are really good at what you do, they could ask you to perform Friday or Saturday night paid gigs at the restaurant, according to Marenco.
“Fullerton has a history of lending arms to artists and we are glad to be a part of that,” Marenco said.
Classic Rock Coffee Co.
1015 N. Harbor Blvd Fullerton, CA 92832
Only open for about a year now, Classic Rock Coffee Co. in Fullerton has made a name for itself due to the various ways you can stay entertained while enjoying a cup of coffee and some pastries.
With open mic nights held every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., residents are always welcomed to come in and show off their talents. If the owner or staff members of the Classic Rock Coffee Co. enjoy your open mic performance, they could ask you if you would like to perform on Fridays or Saturdays for their paid gigs.
Not only can you enjoy live music performances, but this coffee shop also offers yoga nights, painting nights and you can always go towards the back of the cafe to pick up a board game for you and your friends to play. An event calendar with all the listed entertainment hosted by the Classic Rock Coffee Co. is posted every month on its Facebook page.
“We encourage high school students, college students, and locals to come to open mic and show off their talent,” said barista Emily Fahrmeier.
Programme Skate & Sound
2495 E. Chapman Ave. Fullerton, CA 92831
Located a block away from Cal State Fullerton, Programme Skate and Sound is home to skateboarding gear; but this skate shop is unique from others as it hosts live music performances from inside the shop.
Although this is not the size of your typical concert hall, the shop manages to squeeze in a little over 100 people to watch their favorite bands perform, according to staff member David Bishop. Bishop also added that crowds who do not manage to make it into the shop will stand outside to peep through the windows while watching performances.
Different bands from all around the world have stopped in to perform while on tour, including acts from Japan and Europe. Local bands play frequently on weekends, Bishop said.
Friday through Sunday, the skate shop closes around 8 p.m. to accommodate the live entertainment being hosted that night. Tickets are available for purchase at the door on a “first come, first serve” basis. If bigger bands happen to perform, presale tickets are available on their website.
Bands looking to book themselves can contact Programme Skate and Sound through their email, email@example.com.
99 Bottles and Cocktails
8901 Katella Ave. Anaheim, CA 92804
Less than 15 minutes away from Disneyland, 99 Bottles and Cocktails entertains customers with dart competitions, NFL games, UFC fights, karaoke, and live music performances.
Mondays through Wednesdays, this establishment hosts dart competitions, beer pong tournaments, pool leagues, and karaoke nights. Thursdays are home to live DJ performances consisting of Latin music, top 40s, old school hip hop and R&B. Friday and Saturday nights, starting at 9 p.m., the bar turns into a nightclub with a live DJ performance. Ladies get in for free while fellas are charged a $5 entrance fee. During football season, 99 Bottles and Cocktails is a popular spot to watch games.
To book yourself as a performer simply call (714) 826-2040 and ask to speak to the manager, Daisy, or ask for Amanda.
This restaurant only serves customers who are 21 and over. With reasonable prices for food and drinks, 99 Bottles and Cocktails is a great place to enjoy all types of entertainment, every day of the week.
“We pride ourselves on establishing a family-like atmosphere for our locals,” said bartender Chris Hopsin.
The World Famous Doll Hut
107 S. Adams St. Anaheim, CA 92802
The World Famous Doll Hut has been known to host live performances inside its tiny bar on the lot just outside. Local Anaheim residents have continued to show their love for this establishment since it first opened in 1957, according to staff member Mac McGarvui.
This live music venue has bookings available every day of the week and is open to all genres of music. Typically, the best nights to book yourself are on weekends, Wednesdays or Thursdays, according to Mac McGarvui. Booking yourself is as easy as calling or going on their website and contacting this establishment through their email.
Most events hosted by the World Famous Doll Hut are posted weekly on their Facebook page.
Max Bloom’s Cafe Noir
220 N. Malden Ave. Fullerton, CA 92832
Whether you are looking to enjoy a cup of coffee, vintage art, or live entertainment, Max Bloom’s Cafe Noir has it all. Open every day of the week, there is always some type of entertainment available.
This cafe hosts movie nights every Monday and Tuesday starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays are open mic nights starting at 8 p.m. Acts wanting to perform need to sign up at 7:30 p.m. If the owner or staff members like your performance, they can ask to book you for Thursday or Saturday nights when the cafe showcases live music from local bands of all genres.
Every first Friday of the month, Max Bloom’s partakes in the Downtown Fullerton Artwalk. Stand-up comedy is hosted every second, third, and fourth Friday starting at 7 p.m. Open mic poetry is available every first Saturday of the month starting at 8 p.m. Every third Sunday of the month is home to a “free discussion society” starting at 8 p.m.
Max Bloom’s Cafe Noir hopes to help patrons and performers. “We want to make people comfortable and make sure they know they have a home here, we try to accommodate everyone when it comes to their talents and interests,” said owner Kevin Carter.
The Gypsy Den
125 N. Broadway Santa Ana, CA 92701
The Gypsy Den’s location in Santa Ana features live entertainment, open mic nights on Mondays and Thursdays with sign ups starting at 7:30 p.m. and performances at 8 p.m. They ask the talent to purchase something from their vegan friendly menu when wanting to perform.
Poetry nights happen every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Some Friday nights songwriters, with original songs and lyrics, are booked to perform live inside the establishment while customers enjoy dinner or drinks. Every Sunday, a live local jazz band plays during brunch.
The Gypsy Den also hosts private events, birthday parties, and rehearsal dinners through the email provided on its website.
“We are all about the arts, community, and people showing off their talents since we opened back in 1999,” said regional manager and co-owner Nicole Walcott.