Friends had an extra ticket to O.A.R last night at Club Nokia. Since most of us haven't been there yet, I'd share my review.
It’s on the third floor of L.A. live just above Lucky Strike. One escalator gets you to Lucky Strike, the next gets you to the entrance area to Club Nokia. It’s nice to have so many options at L.A. Live to pre-party right before the show and literally go upstairs to the show. I don’t like the overall death-star architecture of L.A. Live, but this review is about Club Nokia. Once you get inside, it’s fine.
Plenty of staff directing people where to go and the shortest lines to go through. Had to go through standard metal detectors and security seemed very relaxed. Staff was helpful and the entrance process was very efficient. Once inside, the lobby had some technology gimmicks with camera phones and so forth that put your picture on LED screens way up above. Signs indicated “Go to 5th floor for best view in the house”. (more on that in a minute).
The first floor of the club is comparable to House of Blues Sunset. Similar size stage with a standing only floor right in front. Only difference is that even though the entire show was GA, the very front part of the floor was roped off for some sort of VIPs. The first floor is a lot better layout than House of Blues because there are more tiers stepping up slowly all the way to the back bar (almost like the Wiltern, but not so big) so it’s easier to see for shorter people. In general, there were very few obstructions on the first floor. Very cool décor. No seating.
The bar was very well staffed and lines to get drinks were very short. Staff was quick, friendly, and always available.
You’d never know it, but there’s a small cutout in the ceiling right in front of the stage that allows about 30 rows of about 800 people to have very close and perfect unobstructed views of the stage from upstairs offering those who want to sit down fantastic vantage points. The first 5 rows upstairs were designated “VIP”, but the rest was GA. The worst seat in the house was still very very close to the stage.
Major props to the architects, mathematicians, and engineers who designed the upstairs. The angels are perfect and every venue to be built in the future should use Club Nokia as a benchmark.
Upstairs had a bar the same size and location as the downstairs bar. It was also very well staffed, and you could get a drink very quickly and return to your seats without missing a thing. A small patio overlooked Nokia Plaza for those needing fresh air or a smoke.
Sound was OK. My friends raved about the acoustics, but I didn’t notice anything special. I’ll take their word for it.
It was very easy to get out after the show. A steady stream of people going down stairs and escalators directed by “Red Coats” you’d see at Staples Center.
Overall, I highly recommend Club Nokia as a venue to check out your favorite acts or check out other acts that your on the fence about.