Well, I went to a nice club last week over at a brand new place and I decided it was time to come up with a format on writing a salsa club review. Here we go on a first try (sorry, no editors)
If you want a great Sunday night location to dance, at no cover and in a great atmosphere – this is the place to be (if you don't mind the high priced drinks). This can become one of the best hots spots on Sunday nights in San Diego for salsa.
The Atmosphere: Well, the Estancia Hotel at La Jolla is a very interesting place. The dance location is in a club/cabana/restaurant location within the Hotel village-like section. They have removed all the tables in the restaurant for dance space. The floor is what I'd like to call smooth-cement (not polished). While this may sound like it's bad to dance in, it is actually not. Don't expect to be doing 10 spins easily without having to work on it – but you can do your doubles and triples easily if you are light on your feet. However, because the floor is not too slippery, it does provide enough friction so that you won't slip doing any complicated patterns or footwork. The dance floor however is pretty small (for now because this place is becoming quite popular).
In addition, one of my favorite things about the atmosphere, is the overall environment around the dancing area. All that there is in the dancing area is the bar, comfortable chairs (really comfy) and the dance floor. Four doors lets you enter this restaurant area – which actually lead you to the outside. This makes the dance location very well ventilated on a nice Sunday night. Additionally, the space outside is decorated with nice comfortable couches (kind of like a common area) with a fireplace incase it gets chilly outside. Its an amazing look and feel, that for sure its going to make you want to come back for more. Either you can be dancing, or go outside next to the giant fireplace in the nice couches and relax and rest. This alone gives it a huge bonus touch.
The Music: The music is basically the same as in other clubs. However, the night that I went, it was mostly salsa music (very little bachata and merengue – and no reggaeton [yippie] ), which I tend to prefer. The DJ plays a lot of the classics and plays a few unknown tracks which makes it interesting because you don't end up hearing the same music you listen to at the other salsa clubs.
The Drinks: Especially if there is no cover, I tend to buy at least 1 drink at the bar (so that the place makes money and they keep the event going). But how do you consistently measure drink quality? Well, I'm just going to measure what I usually get at the salsa clubs and base it on a standard. So, for those who don't know – I usually get a Sex On The Beach (SB) and a Amaretto Sour (AS). My base price for a SB is $6 and an AS is $6 (based on the Marriott price). Therefore average Drink Value (DV) baseline is $6.
As for the Estancia Hotel, the prices were insane. A SB costs $9.25 (which actually the guy at the bar when I gave him al 20, only gave me 10 bucks back). I guess he assumed that I didn't care about change. The AS was about 9 dollars too. Which means, the DV is 9.50 (since he took my extra 75 cents).
Although, with that said – the water is free, which is always a plus!
The Crowd: Lots of friendly people. Lots of great dancers. This is when you know you got something great. When most of the good dancers from the usual scene show up. While people do dance on1 here, it is also a pretty big on2 crowd. I always tell students, if you want to get really good, really fast – you have to go to where the best dancers are – and on Sundays, they are coming to Estancia.
Parking: Plenty and FREE.
Location: 9700 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA (http://www.estancialajolla.com/ )
When: Sundays, 8pm-12am.
Hosted by: A Time To Dance Studio of Angel and Tulane (see sponsors above).
(Please note: This is my first review, hopefully I will start making a better standard format on club reviews).