Best clubs in NYC
This wild Bushwick hotspot 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. Pro tip: Snag tickets in advance and get there early, as the entry line often runs the block.
With its top-flight sound system, sophisticated menu and deeply chill vibes, Nowadays is a slice of Neverland for club kids. Opened by Mister Saturday Night cofounders Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter, Nowadays’ ample outdoor space is the home of its day-party incarnation Mister Sunday and the Ridgewood Market as well as a regular slate of readings and discussions. A 5,000-square-foot indoor venue was unveiled earlier this year, so now DJs can spin harder stuff into the wee hours for those who still haven’t adopted grown-up schedules.
A spacious dining room and an anything-goes attitude have made this nondescript walkup dim- sum restaurant in the Financial District an unlikely destination for world-class DJs and fashion-forward clubbers for a decade. Pop-up parties there regularly bring in tastemaking talent like Total Freedom and Brooklyn’s Mixpak crew, but China Chalet has also been the incubator recurring events like the celeb-studded see-and-be-seen party GLAM and the diva-worshipping Heaven on Earth.
Well, it’s a few rooms, actually. Designed with the DJs in mind, the main one has a perfectly placed booth, a solid sound system, an expansive dance floor and a small stage for performances. Another space has a massive square bar, while a smaller spot—the Bad Room—houses a wall of vinyl and another DJ setup for more tunes. Embraced by night owls over its four years in Greenpoint, the club is home to Joshua D. Houtkin and David R. Pianka’s FIXED affair, among other popular soirees.
Judging by the neighborhood’s flashy vibe, you’d never guess that this club has almost zero attitude—at least once you make it past the bouncers guarding the door. On the dance floor, hip-to-hip crowds gyrate to deep beats from top DJs, including NYC old-schoolers François K, Tedd Patterson and Louie Vega. With its crystal-clear sound system, Cielo has won a bevy of best-club awards over the years—and it deserves them all.
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.
Megaclub scale meets Bushwick style in this sprawling entertainment complex tucked away in a burgeoning nightlife district off the Jefferson Avenue strip. The big room fits 700 peeps and boasts a sensory-overloading laser-and-LED light show. And the talent’s decidedly left of the dial, featuring indie-rockers and DJs with a foot still in the underground as well as all-nighters, such as the queer Latinx party Papi Juice. Elsewhere also features a smaller side room that offers its own programming, a second space for larger shindigs and a quiet cocktail lounge upstairs, plus a spacious rooftop deck.
The rooftop bar of the still-trendy Standard Hotel, Le Bain boasts two floors with sweet views of the Hudson River and New Jersey, not to mention a friggin’ jacuzzi (taking a dip is optional) and a dance floor for househeads. As far as the crowd is concerned, think the children of the Meatpacking clubbers of yore—not their literal offspring, but models and model types. Things heat up on Wednesday nights during Eli Escobar’s sweaty Dance Dance Dance, named after the classic disco track by Chic, when a see-and-be-seen crowd lets loose.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.