Dancing is a huge part of NYC nightlife. So it's no surprise that a lot of New Yorkers are missing the feeling of hearing a thumping baseline on a Saturday night and bobbing with a crowd of fellow dancers.
Luckily, even with the city's die-hard partiers staying-at-home, New York is still the city that never sleeps. How's that? Well, if you haven’t heard, New York has an entire nightlife ecosystem that's still happening through the digital ethers. And while you may not have flickering lights or giant disco balls in your living room, you can still enjoy the music while forging your own dance floor (without the reek of cheap booze and cigarettes at that.) Whatever you're into—warm vinyl, grimey bass, spacey techno, feel-good pop—there's a digital party out there for you to join—you just have to know where to tune in.
Here are the best virtual clubs where you can dance away some of that pent-up, stuck-inside energy.
Instead of heading to a lively party at Nowadays to dance your blues away, you can now hit up the popular Ridgewood dance spot's virtual incarnation. The club has created a sub-category for streaming on their site, and they go live every night from 8pm to midnight. You can blast all sorts of foot-tapping disco beats and listen in tandem with hundreds of others, dancing freely in their sweats and connecting through a live chatroom. You can even tune in for music-related tutorials to gain some new expertise. "Nowadays has become a trusted community for many to come together," co-founder Justin Carter tells us. "If this all lasts for a long time, people will really need this point of connection through streaming. We have this platform already and we have the ability to reach a lot of people—so we want to use it in the best way we can." You can experience Nowadays' beloved party, Mister Sundays, this weekend. Be sure to check their up-to-date schedule with a slew of other entertainment and programming on deck.
The Lot Radio
The livestream world is nothing new for this acclaimed radio station, formerly housed inside a reclaimed shipping container on an empty lot in Greenpoint. For the past four years, they’ve streamed audio and live shows 24 hours a day with no ad interruptions. The Lot Radio broadcasts live from 8am to midnight on weekdays and 10am to midnight on weekends.
They’ve now shifted operations to record from home—while still supplying the same constant source of dance music from resident DJs and guest. "With public spaces being closed and social gatherings prohibited for safety reasons, those online streams have helped a lot of people stay sane, hopeful and connected to the world around them. Livestreaming creates a feeling of connection that apps like Spotify and iTunes are just not able to provide, both on the audience and the artist side. Our artists are really happy to be able to continue hosting their regular show and the radio, it gives a sense of continuity and stability that is important right now.”
You can tune in on their site and chat with musicheads around the world in their live chatroom 24/7.
This space-themed, bar-club hybrid, nestled behind an unmarked door on Bushwick’s Flushing Ave, is known for churning out an eclectic range of music. You could hear DJs with a wide range of styles every night at the Brooklyn venue—ranging from noise rock, garage rock, dubstep and reggae to classic disco, deep house, hip hop, techno and beyond. Today, they’re keeping the party going through Instagram Live Takeovers on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. How do they find their DJs? "[We look for] artists who take risks and bring their unique energy to the booth every time they play," says Jupiter Disco’s booker J. "They are on a creative inner-journeys and want to connect with others in the role of a DJ and host. They’re someone who can command space through the booth and can speak to people through music."
Wanna have a kiki? This queer club, started by four queen Torontonians—comedian and producer Brad Allen, digital creator Mingus New, musician Casey MQ (the club's resident DJ) and recording artist Andres Sierra—is the virtual place to dance, flirt and and socialize with the LGBTQ+ community. On any given night, you could hear unreleased music from Charlotte Day Wilson, see a set from Charli XCX, or spot Kim Petras and Tinashe. The organizers arrange a line-up of DJs and performers for every party, who stage creative sets from inside their apartments.
After logging into the Zoom, you're greeted by a gallery of small windows (other partygoers faces) and you can choose an alias for the night or drop in some unique backgrounds like mountain landscapes to change things up. If you missed Chat Roulette’s glory days, Club Q similarly lets you spend hours in online chat rooms chatting with strangers. Anything goes, but a virtual bouncer will click you out of the party for hate speech of any kind. For proper party etiquette, be sure to mute your mic if you're not speaking. The club heats up every night from 9pm to midnight and entry is free, unless you’d like to make a PayPal donation. The Zoom code drops every night around 9pm on Instagram.
House of Yes
This theatrical nightclub and creative collective based in Bushwick is embracing the challenging of moving from IRL to URL, with digital dance parties every Saturday night (called "Cyber Saturday") and Sunday afternoons. On weekdays, they keep the party going while hosting digital programs like burlesque, dance classes, deep house yoga, drag shows and more. Just like their in-person weekend parties, where costumes are always encouraged, they’re encouraging themed looks in the digital realm.
"It felt good to throw ourselves into a new project during a time of immense uncertainty when we're not sure what the future of nightlife holds," says Jacqui Rabkin, HOY’s Cultural and Marketing Director. "We knew our audience would be hungry to connect digitally and dance together in whatever way possible. Because our club is already so oriented toward self-expression, costuming, creativity and connection, we knew that people would be excited to show off their dance moves, props, and creative outfits on video for everyone else to see."
HOY uses Zoom for video, Mixlr for audio and OBS to broadcast onto Twitch. And you can bet the club's resident performers show up in style, too. "Our core community is also made up of artists, performers, creatives, and Burning Man attendees—all different types of people who like to contribute creatively to social gatherings," adds Rabkin. "Now, people all over the world can tune in to our parties whereas beforehand they couldn't be physically present at the club. People want to keep dancing, and we want to keep dancing with them!”
This Prospect Heights-based vinyl record beer bar was inspired by popular Japanese vinyl record bars. Now, it's keeping things spinning from home for vinyl purists. When Bierwax is physically open, they usually have a rotation of resident DJs play long sets onsite. "Beer and wax (vinyl) have been the dual themes, both of which are longtime passions of mine," says Bierwax head honcho Chris Maestro. "Having DJs spin at BierWax has been an extension of that theme, and highlights artists who respect the culture of vinyl records and keep it alive.”
You can tune in for smooth sessions on the Brooklyn bar's Instagram live, and can help the DJs stay afloat by donating to their virtual tip jars (via Vemno, PayPal or CashApp) mid-set.
Williamsburg music-venue-meets-dance-club Baby’s All Right has launched Baby TV, a streaming platform that hosts live performances from artists in their bedrooms "or another space of their choosing" straight to your screen. Fans can message artists in real time to interact and request tunes they want to rock out to. Ticket holders are emailed a secret link to the show 30 minutes before "doors," and ticket proceeds are shared between the artist, Baby's All Right staff and a charity.
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