The East Bay salsa scene had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s at places such as La Peña Cultural Center and Dock of the Bay, where old-school bands such as Salsa de Berkeley used to rock the joint. Now a healthy scene exists at the Down Low Lounge on Wednesdays and Maiko’s on Saturdays. But last month the newly remodeled Club Montero’s in Albany reopened and quickly become the place to be Fridays and Saturdays with live salsa bands and DJs Jose Ruiz & Carlito’s Way. The dance floor is spacious and holds about 150 people. Three sets of music for $12-$15 is a good deal. The atmosphere is cordial, and if you’re a novice to salsa, Joel and Sorcy will teach you the basics. The ample stage is a plus for performers. Today’s Bay Area salsa scene now offers more than a dozen clubs with live music, which are supported by a healthy community of dancers, thanks to Web sites such as SalsaSF.com, SalsaCrazy.com, and LatinBayArea.com. But not since the days of Kimball’s Carnival in Emeryville has there been a classier club to offer salsa in the East Bay. Club Montero’s certainly fills a void for suburban salseros y salseras who don’t want to drive all the way to the city to dance.
Wednesday nights at Shattuck Down Low
2284 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-548-1159