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.
Opened with much fanfare as the city's first eco-friendly club, Greenhouse managed to quickly biodegrade into just another hangout for wanna-be players and Jersey Shore aficionados. One extremely notable exception: Party princess Susana Bartsch's gay-leaning Vandam Sundays soirees, attracting the most fanciful of Gotham's nightlife creatures and featuring Jackie 60 alum Johnny Dynell on the decks.
The rooftop bar of the still-trendy Standard Hotel, Le Bain offers stunning views of the Hudson River and, er, New Jersey. Despite its size (intimate) and not-exactly underground locale (the Meatpacking District), te boîte attracts an extremely credible array of spinners from the NYC area and around the world.
The owners tore the roof off a former garage and custom-made everything here: the vaulted ceiling, the glass-beaded chandelier, even the champagne buckets. The centerpiece is a spectacular double-sided staircase that leads to a mezzanine level overlooking the action below. The club accommodates up to 600 people, but despite having been around for a few years, is still so hot that you’ll have trouble getting past the velvet rope.
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.
Where’s the party? It’s right here in this unmarked subterranean space, which hosts some of the best deep-house, tech-house and breaks bashes the city has to offer. It’s an utterly unpretentious place, but hell, all you really need are some thumpin’ beats and a place to move your feet, right? Keep a special lookout for the nights hosted by local stalwarts Sleepy & Boo.
A great-sounding alternative for bands and DJs (and fans) who’ve had their fill of the comparably sized Irving Plaza, Webster Hall is booked by Bowery Presents, the folks who run Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge. Expect to find popular EDM acts, especially at Alex English and GBH's weekly Girls & Boys bash in the massive Grand Ballroom.