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, Brooklyn. With so many choices of late-night places to dance in NYC, 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 picks for the best clubs in NYC, from Funktion One-armed Output to Ridgewood's Trans-Pecos—we guarantee you'll get nothing less than quality dance music from our recommendations.
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Best clubs in NYC, ranked
This “tropical fantasy dance club” is another staple 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-meets-club has made a big name for itself since opening in 2012, curating its own stage at Sustain-Release and hosting numerous industry pioneers. Bossa's “DJ résumé” continues to impress—highlights include: Adam X, Ron Morelli, Heather Heart, Marcos Cabral, Reade Truth, Jamie xx, Henning Baer and Mike Simonetti.
Photograph: Luis Nieto Dickens (Instagram: @nietodickens)
Located in the home of former venue Club Europa, Good Room was redesigned by nightlife impressario Steve Lewis and opened in October 2014. The main room was designed with the DJ in mind with a perfectly placed booth, solid sound system, ample dance floor and small stage for performances. Another area houses their massive square bar with surprisingly reasonable drink prices, while a side smaller room—the Bad Room—houses a massive wall of vinyl and another DJ set-up for separate tunes. For people who don't want to deal with the hassle of Brooklyn's newer mega clubs, Good Room is the perfect club antidote.
Amid the handful of both legit and underground DIY venues popping up (and vanishing just as quickly) in Brooklyn, Black Flamingo appears to be here to stay. The chill two-level location opened its doors quietly in 2015, but partiers quickly adopted the restaurant-bar-nightclub, and for good reason: David Shapiro and Etan Fraiman of Battery Harris, Eli Goldstein of Soul Clap, Philipp Jung of M.A.N.D.Y., Gadi Mizrahi of Wolf + Lamb and creative partner, Bryce David, are all scene veterans behind the venue, which serves food upstairs while hosting excellent DJs downstairs and go-to parties like Kaviar Disco Club in the warm, wood-crafted den.
Photograph: Daniel Leinweber for Razberry Photography
This wild Bushwick spot opened in 2016 and quickly established itself as a reliable way for Brooklyn revelers to wear insane costumes and lose their inhibitions just about every weekend. With exhibitionist parties like “House of Love” and the immersive “Little Cinema” film tributes, along with a panoply of aerialists, magicians and dancers on retainer, House of Yes is constantly inventing new ways to make a night out more than just drinks at the bar.
At an unmarked hideaway under the Williamsburg Bridge, the swinging clientele dances by candlelight to Latin-infused beats laid down by sexy DJs. Take a breather from the samba or salsa and refuel with tequila shots at the sleek wooden bar. Regulars swear by the unusual postshot practice of dipping one side of the lime in fresh-ground coffee and the other in sugar. You’ll have to try it for yourself.
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. 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. While the lines can get quite long and the dancefloor a bit too crowded on busy Fridays and Saturdays, the pristine Funktion-Ones and excellent bookings usually make the hassle worthwhile.
Decked out in surprisingly convincing ’70s decor, this Brooklyn lounge puts its sizeable performance space to a diverse number of uses: the eclectic calendar of live music and DJ sets ranges from groovy funk combos to blippy synth-pop acts, not to mention bingo and burlesque nights. Regardless of what you stumble upon, though, you’ll find plenty of dance space available for showcasing your latest moves.
Judging by the neighborhood's flashy vibe, you'd never guess 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 a decade of existence—and it deserves them all.
Intrepid local booker Todd P, the granddaddy of the Brooklyn DIY scene, oversees this show space and community hub in the Silent Barn's former digs. Booking comes courtesy of various local tastemakers, including plenty of weekday parties in the basement. Expect eclectic music and laid-back friendly crowds.
Looking for tunes before you head out?
On any weekend evening in Washington Heights, you can hear the pulsating music from the sidewalk outside the Arka Room. Once you step inside, the neon lights, glittering gold accents and prominent stage signal that the party is about to start. Catch performances by dancers, local musicians and DJ sets every Friday through Sunday. If you’re here to celebrate a birthday or another special occasion, you can reserve one of the brown leather banquettes or cocktail tables for your party. The space is also available for private events every day of the week.
Venue says: “Call 917-261-2365 to book your private event, customize the space and create the perfect night!”