There is a rising club in town where electronic dance music (EDM) plays and the fans fill the room with fist-pumping adoration. By day, it’s nothing but the beautiful art deco Stock Exchange building constructed in 1929. But by night it’s Exchange LA, one of the hottest electronic dance music nightclubs in Los Angeles and only about 10 minutes away from the University of Southern California if you drive.

So what makes this nightclub a great place for electronic music? Well, part of it involves joining up with Insomniac, the company that hosts some of the most popular electronic dance music concerts like the Electronic Daisy Carnival. Insomniac has been producing its “experience-based” concerts since 1993, and its work on Exchange LA has allowed the venue to fill its 1,700-guest quota every week.

On Fridays, all guests come for an event called “Awakening”, and on Saturdays they come for “Inception.” Both nights feature up-and-coming names in the EDM world like Danny Tenaglia, who headlined “Awakening” last month.

That night began with an opening act that played ordinary head-bobbing beats, allowing the crowd to jig as they warmed up with their cocktails. Just past midnight, the atmosphere manifested a new serge of energy spurned on by Tenaglia, who had everyone hooked. All of a sudden, the segregated clumps of people half-heartedly grooving to the beat became one enthusiastic gyrating blob.

As the many perspiring EDM connoisseurs moved to the high intensity beats under the faded ceiling, it was interesting to think about all of the changes that the building has seen throughout the years. In 1931, rather than being filled with young partiers, the building was filled with panicked businessman, trying to resolve the economic crisis in the midst of the Great Depression. It was not a happy time. Back then the large hall resounded with the cacophony of shouts and bells as men argued over money. Now, it’s filled with high tempo beats and a bass that shakes the soul. Isn’t it funny how things change?

One of the nicest things about this club is that is lacks the same pretentiousness that is common in the L.A. club scene. The bouncers at Exchange LA are nice and respectful, and they actually smile! The only thing that they are uptight about is the dress code.

While waiting to get in, three different customers were refused entry for their clothing. Two of those customers had easy fixes like taking off a baseball cap or putting on a jacket. However, one man had zero chance of getting in. That’s what you get for trying to wear sweatpants to a nightclub. Let that be a lesson for all.

Inside the building, there are six full-service bars and different VIP areas such as the “Sky Loft,” which accommodates 35 special guests and the “Rockefeller Room” for 50 guests. The state-of-the-art lighting system moves rhythmically with the music and a giant disco ball casts glitter on the scene. To make sure the musicians get their well-deserved credit, the venue has a raised staged so fans can admire the head DJ in all his sweaty glory as he spins the tracks.

With all of the lights and smoke, Exchange LA has created a perfect atmosphere for dancing the night away. However, these things do not come cheap. A normal ticket to get in to Exchange LA is $20 plus a $4 service fee. For a nice nightclub, this price is doable. The real problem is that the cocktails at this club are also expensive, so the combination of the ticket price in addition to the drinks adds up to a pretty sizeable bill that most college students on a budget would be upset about paying. 

Fortunately, Exchange LA is situated next to a couple of busy bars (Spring St. Bar and Down and Out, for example) where groups of friends can get some more affordable cocktails before walking into the club. Also, for those late night “drunchies,” Exchange LA is located right across the street from Syrup and LA Café, the best place to get late-night chili cheese fries downtown.

It’s not very common for a nightclub to also be a Historic Cultural Landmark, but that just adds to the fun. The exterior of the building is decorated with three bas-relief panels commemorating the pinnacles of capitalism. There are still people “getting busy” inside the building today, but it’s in a much different way.

Overall, Exchange LA may have been a place that was once perfect for debating numbers, but today it is perfect for blasting music for crowds to enjoy.

Exchange LA is located at 618 S. Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles.

For more information on Exchange LA, click here.