The best dance clubs in New York

Your guide to the best dance clubs in New York City, from legendary house music havens to upscale rooftop lounges to Brooklyn's underground gems

New York's club scene has come a long way—from the early days of Danceteria to the growing popularity of afterhours parties in Bushwick. With so many choices of clubs in NYC nightlife, it can quickly become overwhelming to pick out the best of the best; luckily for you, we've spared you the stress of having to do so. Our music editors contributed their favorite clubs in NYC, from Funktion One-armed Output to one-of-a-kind Martin Audio-laced Verboten—we guarantee you'll get nothing less than quality dance music from our recommendations.

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the New York nightlife scene

Manhattan

Cielo

Critics' pick

You’d never guess from the Heidi Montag wanna-bes hanging out in the neighborhood that the attitude at this club is close to zero, at least once you get past the bouncers guarding the door. On the sunken dance floor, hip-to-hip crowds gyrate to deep beats from top DJs, including NYC old-schoolers François K, Tedd Patterson and Louie Vega. Cielo, which features a crystal-clear sound system, has won a bevy of Best Club awards in its half-decade of existence—and it deserves them all.

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Meatpacking District

Le Bain

The rooftop bar of the still-trendy Standard Hotel, Le Bain offers stunning views of the Hudson River and, er, New Jersey.

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Meatpacking District

Le Poisson Rouge

Critics' pick

Situated in the basement of the long-gone Village Gate—a legendary performance space that hosted everyone from Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix—Le Poisson Rouge was opened in 2008 by a group of young music enthusiasts with ties to both the classical and indie-rock worlds. In addition to their adult offerings, the club also regularly hosts the popular Baby Loves Disco dance party.

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Greenwich Village

Marquee

Critics' pick

After shutting down for major renovations, the one-time models-and-bottles clubs Marquee has reemerged, phoenixlike…as a models-and-bottles club! In fairness, Marquee 2.0 is an entirely different—and in our opinion, far better—beast than it was in its original incarntation, with more open space, disco lights of all manner (including an impressive LCD screen behind the booth) and enough general razzle-dazzle to make your head spin. Most importantly, the Friday-night bookings have been taken over by NYC power couple Sleepy & Boo, who have been bringing in the world's house-and-techo elite—Slam, Marco Carola, Damian Lazarus, the Martinez Brothers and the like—to work their four-to-the-floor magic.

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Chelsea

Pacha

The international glam-club chain Pacha (with outposts in London, Ibiza, et al) hit the U.S. market in 2005 with this swanky joint helmed by superstar spinner Erick Morillo. The spot attracts heavyweights ranging from local hero Danny Tenaglia to international crowd-pleasers like Fedde Le Grande and Benny Benassi. As with most big clubs, it pays to check the lineup in advance if you’re into underground (as opposed to lowest-common-denominator) beats.

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Hell's Kitchen

Space Ibiza New York

Award-winning nightclub Space has been a staple of Ibiza nightlife for over two decades. The Hell's Kitchen incarnation marks Space Ibiza's North American debut and spans 20,000 square feet, comprising a multi-level main room, a lounge and a rooftop terrace boasting panoramic views of the West Side skyline. As the ever-influential John Digweed put it, “Great to see the legendary Space club from Ibiza spread its wings to the big apple. The city that never sleeps will have to stock up on some more energy drinks now.”

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Hell's Kitchen

Brooklyn

Bossa Nova Civic Club

This “tropical fantasy dance club” is another entry in the thriving Bushwick scene—setting itself apart from its competitors with a legitimate sound system and consistently hot lineups of underground house and techno DJs manning the decks. The bar only opened its doors in December of 2012, but it's already made a big name for itself in the community, curating its own stage at Sustain-Release in September and hosting original techno pioneer Adam X on his Irreformable Album Tour in November.  All photos by Luis Nieto Dickens (Instagram: @nietodickens)

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Bushwick Free

Cameo

Cameo Gallery is a performance space situated behind Williamsburg's Lovin' Cup Cafe, typically hosting bills of up-and-coming indie-rockers, booked by local-scene enthusiasts. Though the sound isn't exactly the greatest (the venue's sound engineer has been known to scamper onstage during performances to quickly squash problems), Cameo's a decent place to catch a show and observe that slice of life on the hipster fringe. In between sets, you can take advantage of the café's full bar and menu.

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Williamsburg

Output

Critics' pick

This multiroom dance club, located next to the Wythe Hotel in North Williamsburg, was hailed as the savior of NYC nightlife even before it opened. Time will tell if that's even close to being true—but in the meantime, enjoy its great sound system and firm commitment to the underground, both in its house- and techno-heavy booking policy and general lack of bottle-service inanity.

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Williamsburg

TBA Brooklyn

Critics' pick

This intimate party space, helmed by scene stalwarts Mehmet “Memo” Erkaya and Gio Gulez, is dedicated to the underground end of the house and techno spectrum.

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Williamsburg

The Bell House

Critics' pick

For night owls who equate clubs on desolate streets with hipness, the Bell House has your number. But this Gowanus bar and music venue is worth the bleak trek. The sprawling spot’s two bars—one nestled in an ornate front room, the other in the rear performance space—provide plenty of drinking options. Skip toxic cocktails in favor of one of 12 beers on tap—from Anchor Steam to Smuttynose—or a taste of more than 20 bourbons. A can’t-miss drinking destination the Bell House is not. But if a band draws you in, stick to a Booker’s and you’ll do fine.

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Gowanus

Verboten

Critics' pick

Finally! The Verboten club has joined the north Williamsburg nightlife scene, with tons of house, techno, bass music and live gigs filling the 750-person-capacity spot. The main room features an expansive dance floor and Martin Audio sound system, while the side room serves as a restaurant and lounge; both have a modern-industrial feel, or as the crew behind the club puts it, "the brick-and-mortar realization of Verboten's dystopian aesthetic." Trouble & Bass, Bespoke Musik, Push the Night and PopGun all join Verboten in curatorial duties, and Carl Craig, Matthew Dear, Davide Squillace, Ida Engberg, Matt Tolfrey and Lee Curtiss are among the notables claiming residencies.

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Williamsburg

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