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Pedro Lara

The best places to dance in NYC

We've got the scoop on the best spots to dance in NYC including cozy dives and famous big-room clubs

By Collier Sutter and Christopher Tarantino
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Get ready to shake your rump and bust a move at the best places to dance in NYC. While we certainly love frequenting the best clubs in NYC, there's also much love to be shown for the non-clubs providing top-notch DJ mixes to groove to. To make the hunt for the best dance club (or bar) easier for you, we’ve rounded up the top spots where you can boogie. Some are big, some are small, some are dive bars, and some are clubs—but they are all roomy and fun to get down at with your friends. When the dancing fatigue sets in, head to one of these haunts for tasty bar food and snacks to refuel. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to NYC nightlife

Best places to dance in NYC

Pedro Lara

1. Ponyboy

Bars Cocktail bars Greenpoint

Few places in NYC make you wanna party as hard on a weeknight as this glorious neighborhood spot. Inside, you can sip expertly mixed cocktails at the handsome front bar, then head to the red-lit back room for hip weekly happenings (think frequent all-night, all-vinyl disco sets and local funk bands). Many of our favorite Ponyboy nights are Wednesdays and Thursdays, but check its Instagram each month for a full schedule of events. Head here on a Friday and Saturday to experience it popping off like a full-on nightclub. 

Photo by Daniel Leinweber for Razberry Photography
Photograph: Daniel Leinweber for Razberry Photography

2. Black Flamingo

Nightlife Williamsburg

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.”


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Day 2 of Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival at Good Room on Nove
Photograph: Tiffany Rexach

3. Good Room

Nightlife Greenpoint

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.

4. Kind Regards

Bars Cocktail bars Lower East Side

This cocktail bar down the street from Pianos turns into a party on the weekend and is probably the closest thing to a Brooklyn dance bar you’re going to get in the Lower East Side. Downstairs is where you’ll shake what your mama gave you—there’s a disco ball above a sizable dance floor with an ever-changing roster of DJs setting the scene.

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5. Jupiter Disco

4 out of 5 stars
Bars Cocktail bars East Williamsburg

If you peek through the dilapidated warehouses and storefronts in Bushwick, you’ll usually catch sights of bearded men or Edison bulbs signaling “Cool gentrification bar here.” Jupiter Disco, however? Not so much. Its block is so deserted that you might be taken aback when a bouncer coolly asks, “Looking for Jupiter?” Sure, it has a silly name and proudly touts a midcentury dystopian sci-fi theme, but the industrial, LED-lit bar is much less a cheap play at Instagram likes than an earnest letter to the science-fiction genre. ORDER THIS: Pop-culture–nodding cocktails, named after everything from British prog-rock songs (a tequila-vermouth quaff dubbed Confusion Will Be My Epitaph!) to chapters of The Hobbit (a rye-and-sherry–blending Riddles in the Dark). While not every cocktail from bartenders Al Sotack (Death & Co.) and Maks Pazuniak (Maison Premiere) fully takes off—the Well Deserved Punch ($12) is a sugar overload of pineapple, lime and strawberry—the applejack-based How to Travel ($12) surely does. Its sweetness of honey and vermouth is tempered with bitter IPA, striking a smooth, floral balance with a pop of fizz. Heads-up: The bar eschews a physical paper menu for a drinks list that scrolls on two TVs, so keep an eye out. GOOD FOR: Your own modern-day Mos Eisley cantina. (A framed blueprint of the beloved Star Wars tavern can be found on one wall.) The bunkerlike space is outfitted with orange florescent lights, dark turquoise booths and nostalgia-inducing tech tchot

Photograph: Courtesy Markus Marty

6. No Bar

5 out of 5 stars
Bars Cocktail bars East Village

Former Mission Chinese executive chef Angela Dimayuga unveiled this pioneering concept at the Standard East Village. Unabashedly queer and unbound by convention—No Bar’s website declares that there are “no covers, no rules, no holds barred”.

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7. Elsewhere

Music East Williamsburg

Brooklyn's DIY scene gets a neon-lit glow up at this sprawling music and culture 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.    If you're looking to grab a bit while you're there, checkout Mission Chinese's new Bushwick location located on the groundfloor of Elsewhere. The restaurant looks like something out of Bladerunner and has enough szechuan spice to get your palette ready to dance, too. 

8. Bossa Nova Civic Club

Clubs Bushwick

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.

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Baby's All Right
Photograph: Dylan Johnson

9. Baby’s All Right

Music Williamsburg

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.

10. Bembe

Bars Lounges Williamsburg

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.

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House of Yes
Photograph: Maxine Nienow

11. House of Yes

Nightlife Clubs Bushwick

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.

12. The Ditty

Bars Cocktail bars Astoria

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. 

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Ross Figlerski

13. Friends and Lovers

Bars Crown Heights

This club and live-music venue draws indie bands and party seekers to a relatively quiet stretch of increasingly trendy Crown Heights with events most nights. Be sure to check out their Wednesday party called Almighty Burner where you'll hear throwback funk, soul, boogie, and electro. On the last Saturday of the month, the Brooklyn haunt hosts their longest running party— an old school hip hop party called Future Old School.

 

C'Mon Everybody
Photograph: Courtesy C'Mon Everybody

14. C’mon Everybody

Bars Bedford-Stuyvesant

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.

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Brooklyn Bowl
Photograph: Courtesy Adam Kane Macchia

15. Brooklyn Bowl

Things to do Concerts Williamsburg

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.

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