Best places to dance in NYC
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.
Located in the home of former Polish bottle service 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. Off that, a massive square bar boasts friendly bartenders and surprisingly reasonable drink prices, while a third smaller room—the Bad Room, as it were—houses a massive wall of vinyl and another DJ set-up for separate tunes.
At this 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 post-shot 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.
Amid the handful of both legit and underground DIY venues popping up left and right (and vanishing just as quickly) in Brooklyn, here's a spot that we're sure is here to stay. Battery Harris's David Shapiro and Etan Fraiman, Soul Clap's Eli Goldstein, M.A.N.D.Y.'s Philipp Jung and Wolf + Lamb's Gadi Mizrahi are all scene veterans behind the Williamsburg venue, which focuses on “music, sound and intimacy.”
Photograph: Daniel Leinweber for Razberry Photography
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. Regardless of what you stumble upon, though, you’ll find plenty of dance space available for showcasing your latest moves.
This salon-turned-saloon salutes bygone glamour days—the decor ranges from Aqua Net to helmet-style hair dryers. Nightly DJs provide a loud punk-to-funk soundtrack that makes the pretty young things shake their shags and toss back the free Blue Rinse margarita (tequila, curaçao, lime juice) that comes with a $10 manicure.
This eatery, bar and stage, located on a happening little Williamsburg strip, is a local musical institution with its lively schedule of au courant musical acts and DJs that range from experimental (Pharmakon) to the voguish (Ariel Pink). And the food's pretty good too.
This “tropical fantasy dance club” is another staple in the thriving Bushwick scene, setting itself apart from competitors with its legitimate sound system and consistently hot lineups of underground house and techno DJs manning the decks. The bar only opened in December 2012, but has already made a big name for itself in the community, curating its own stage at Sustain-Release—going into a second edition this September—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.
This bowling alley and live music venue fully embraces the new mania for local nostalgia. The space takes its design cues from Coney Island, with old freak-show posters and carnival-game relics, and all of the beer on offer—by Sixpoint, Kelso and the Brooklyn Brewery—is made in the borough. It's a great place to kill a few hours with a big, rowdy group: You can tackle a pitcher and the stoner-food menu from the Blue Ribbon team (delicious fatty brisket, Old Bay–fried chicken) laneside between frames. The plush tufted couches are the most luxurious alley seating we’ve ever seen.
This Astoria haunt is self-described as “your friendly neighborhood cocktail bar,” but it’s actually more than that. It doubles as a rustic and relaxed dinner and brunch spot, and moonlights as a lively bar where game-playing fiends congregate to play classics from your childhood like Guess Who?, Uno and Scrabble. The spot is also known to host bangin' dance parties.
This multiroom dance club was hailed as the savior of NYC nightlife even before it opened in 2013. Since then, it has provided reliable house- and techno-heavy bookings and a general lack of bottle-service inanity, along with a great sound system and firm commitment to the underground. In addition to the main space, the club often features music in its Panther Room and rooftop bar.
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.
Hanging at Enid’s is like being a kid and spending the weekend at the cool house down the street, where you could play the most radical video games and the parents let you drink. On the weekends, Enid’s—presided over by a life-size gold camel—is the perfect spot to dance to throwback jams from the '90s to the hits from today. You’ll never want to go home.
It’s homey, we suppose, if you keep taxidermy in your living room. Descend the chandelier-lit stairwell to this concrete-floored LES den decked out with a beaver, an eagle, even a jackalope. On weekends, the back of the bar doubles as an often-packed dance floor.
Opened in 1907 as the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors' Home, the 14-story landmark was a residential hotel when hoteliers Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, of the Bowery and the Maritime, took it over (some long-term residents remain). If entering the hotel feels like stepping onto a film set, there’s good reason: Inspiration came from various celluloid sources, including Barton Fink’s Hotel Earle for the lobby. The “ballroom,” decorated with mismatched chairs, oriental rugs and a fireplace topped with a stuffed ram's head, evokes an eccentric mansion.