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Best nightlife in Chelsea: The hottest clubs and music venues

The best nightlife in the neighborhood isn’t exactly cutting-edge—but you can still find plenty of after-dark action in large clubs and live-music venues.

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Though the gay scene is hipper in Hell’s Kitchen, hedonist’s paradise Splash Bar is among the area’s best nightlife options. The slick Highline Ballroom hosts everything from big-ticket gigs to comedy and burlesque. Start (or end) your night at one of the area’s best bars.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Chelsea, New York

2012 in photos: Gay & Lesbian
Photograph: Grace Chu

Amnesia

Music Chelsea

Occupying the space once inhabited by Sol, Ruby Falls et al., this West Chelsea (really far West Chelsea) spot is a full-on club, with DJs, dancing and circus-style performers among the attractions. But little about it, including the often pedestrian music, makes Amnesia stand out from the pack, leading one to think it may fall to the same fate as its predecessors.

Highline Ballroom

Music Music venues Chelsea

This West Side club, next to a Western Beef grocer, is perfect on paper: The sound is top-of-the-heap and sight lines are pretty good. The bookings are also impressive, from a club appearance by the Arctic Monkeys to the great drag performer Justin Bond. Perhaps coolest of all is a weekly late-night residency by the Roots, who swing by after Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tapings in the mood to jam—and more often than not accompanied by big-named surprise guests.

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Splash Bar

Bars Lounges Flatiron

You know those ridiculously stereotypical ideas born-again preachers harbor about the “gay lifestyle”? Chances are they look something like SBNY (a.k.a. Splash Bar). Everything at this dance bar is big and, er, vivid: carb-free, pectoralicious bartenders; mirrors at every angle; and a full arsenal of body-rockin’ beats. It even has an ATM and a store (lube or condoms, anyone?), so come for happy hour, stay for dancing, and do your best to yank away the itty-bitty towels worn by the go-go boys. Jerry Falwell should be so lucky.

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