The Best Places to Dance in NYC

Alyson Penn
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If you’re tired of standing around at another bar, sipping a beer and sizing up Tinder profiles with your friends, there’s good news: New York City has plenty of bars and clubs where you can shake, shimmy, boogie or twerk your winter blues away. We’ve rounded up our favorite places to show off your moves. 

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For the EDM Head

Strobe lights, fog machines, DJs and lots of bass.

Bossa Nova Civic Club 
In-the-know EDM fans gather around this impossibly cool, tropically themed spot in Bushwick, Brooklyn, that says no to attitude and yes to a fog machine.
Dance to: House and techno.
Getting in? There is a small cover charge (up to $10) weekend nights.

cielo dance club Cielo. Photo: David Cova

Cielo 
Located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, this club earns raves from audiophiles for its Funktion One sound system. Its small size and welcoming crowd make it feel like a really cool house party where revelers dance like nobody’s watching.
Dance to: Cielo’s motto might be Where House Music Lives, but you can hear other subgenres of EDM there, such as trance. François K is a regular DJ. 
Getting in? Tickets or cover ($20–30).  

Good Room interior in Brooklyn Courtesy, Good Room

Good Room 
This Greenpoint spot is where you go for the club experience without all the annoying clubby stuff. Rather than pretension, expect reasonably priced drinks and an all-are-welcome attitude. 
Dance to: Really cool, slightly hipster DJs and producers like Justin Strauss, Soul Clap and the Juan MacLean are on the roster.
Getting in? Easy, but you’ll pay a small cover ($10–20). 

Output 
We’re trying hard not to use “Brooklyn” as an adjective here…but Output is in a converted warehouse, it hosts big-name DJs and a lot of its patrons wear flannel.
Dance to: Music from DJs like Gareth Emery, Bonobo and Dirtyphonics.
Getting in? Tickets or cover ($15–30). Expect long lines either way. 

For the Casual Dancer

Drink and chat. Chat and dance. Dance and drink. Whatever, man.

Blind Barber 
This hangout might be the worst-kept secret in the City. The speakeasy is a barbershop by day and a cocktail-bar-cum-dance-party by night. It’s a go-to spot for those prowling the East Village.
Dance to: Mostly hip-hop, with some Top 40 thrown in.
Getting in? There’s usually a line after 11pm, and the doormen can sometimes be fickle in the later hours. 

Kinfolk 94 
The defining feature of this very cool Brooklyn spot (which shares a block with its café-restaurant-bar and menswear boutique counterparts) is a wooden geodesic dome around the bar area, which creates a log-cabin-meets-spaceship feel. Adjacent to the bar is a large room just for dancing. It gets filled up.
Dance to: Hip-hop, rap and house.
Getting in? There will be a line, but if you wait and pay cover fee ($5–10), you’ll be fine.

The Metropolitan 
The outdoor patio is the main draw in the warmer months, but this popular Williamsburg gay bar has a small, friendly dance floor all year round. Don’t miss regular theme nights like Queeraoke and Alotta Trivia.
Dance to: Pop and electronic.
Getting in? All you need is an ID.  

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The Woods 
Drink, dance and eat tacos at this multipurpose Williamsburg spot. While the inside can get a bit rowdy in the wee hours, there’s always the (heated) outdoor area filled with picnic benches, a taco truck and another bar. Wednesday nights bring the LGBTQ Misster! party.
Dance to: Hip-hop, R&B and pop.
Getting in? Easy peasy. Once you wait in line and pay the $5 cover fee after 10pm on weekends, of course.

The Jane Ballroom, interior Courtesy, The Jane Ballroom

For Those That Want to Get Dressed Up

The Jane Ballroom 
The Jane Ballroom, located at the end of a quiet Meatpacking District street just before the West Side Highway, is the stuff that party fever-dreams are made of. Enter a hotel lobby (past the bouncer) through large doors into a two-story “living room” that feels opulent enough for F. Scott Fitzgerald and woodsy enough for Ernest Hemingway—with a disco ball. Dancing on furniture is encouraged.
Dance to: Hip-hop and top 40.
Getting in? It’s easier than it used to be—show up by 11pm and you’ll usually do OK.

Le Bain 
A staple in the Meatpacking District, Le Bain might have a reputation for pretentiousness—but that’s part of the charm, right? Once you get the tepid nod from the bouncer, you head through a dark hallway, up an elevator and into a swinging rooftop scene that is famous for its indoor hot tub right on the dance floor and its 360-degree views of the City.
Dance to: Mainly techno and house.
Getting in? Just try to look cool without looking like you’re trying. Got it? 

PHD Rooftop at Dream Downtown, interior Courtesy, PHD Rooftop at Dream Downtown

PH-D Lounge
If you want to feel like a true VIP, head up the elevators to the Penthouse at Dream Downtown. The ceilings are high, the chandeliers are shiny, the crowd is beautiful and the skyline views are outstanding.
Dance to: EDM and hip-hop spun by DJs. 
Getting in? Tough. Arrive early to help your chances. 

vandal exterior Photo: Warren Jagger

Vandal 
This newish Lower East Side spot is a buzzy restaurant on top and a hodge-podge of a dance party downstairs. Be part of a sophisticated, friendly crowd that orders rounds of high-end cocktails and dances with abandon.
Dance to: Everything.
Getting in? Again, the earlier the better. And it certainly helps if you dress to impress.

Marathon Dancing

Your boss just piled on extra work, your roommate locked you out again and your morning commute took forever. Tonight, you’re gonna dance till you drop.

Beauty Bar 
Get your groove thing on at this decades-old salon with a dance floor in the back room.
Dance to: An ’80s-heavy playlist.
Getting in? Just bring your ID. 

The Bowery Electric 
The worst thing about Bowery Electric? Waiting in two lines to get downstairs. The best thing about Bowery Electric? The raucous dance party downstairs. The energy of the youngish crowd is electric (sorry, we couldn’t resist).
Dance to: Top 40 and throwbacks.
Getting in? Long lines are the only hurdle. 

Home Sweet Home 
Listen to throwbacks and current tunes at this divey subterranean bar, whose funky décor includes taxidermy, exposed brick and Victorian-style chandeliers.
Dance to: Hits of the ’80s, ’90s and today. Friday is doo-wop and oldies night, presided over by renowned DJ Jonathan Toubin.
Getting in? There’s a small cover ($5) on weekend nights, and sometimes a line.   

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Pianos  
Cut loose at this two-story joint that features areas for eating and drinking, along with a stage for live bands. The upstairs lounge has DJs spinning popular tunes for a high-energy dance floor. Pro tip: go for the frozen margaritas, which are inexpensive and eminently enjoyable.
Dance to: Hip-hop and Top 40.
Getting in? There’s a cover on weekend nights after 10pm. 


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