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The 8 best nightclubs in DC

Head to one of the best clubs in DC, grab a drink, and let loose

Written by
Lori A May
Contributors
Rina Rapuano
&
Leslie Quander Wooldridge
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Nightlife in the capital is nothing short of eclectic, which means the best clubs in DC offer something for everyone. From hip-hop to house, Latin beats to electronica, there’s a vast range of DJs and dance floors across the city. Where one space begins with dinner and bottle service, another won’t open its doors until way past dark. You’ll find beat-heavy rooftop bars, triple-decker dance floors, and intimate hideaways aplenty — so no matter your jam, DC has it all.

Trying to figure out where to spend your night? Check out our list below of the best clubs in DC (and if you need a spot to refuel the next morning, our guide to the best brunch in DC is just the trick).

RECOMMENDED: the best bars in Washington, DC

Best nightclubs in DC

This cavernous, warehouse-like space spanning 30,000 square feet in Northeast is so large that there’s virtually no chance you’ll be stuck in line waiting to get in. Order drinks from one of two 60-foot bars or reserve a table on a mezzanine for bottle service and prime views of the bouncing crowd below. The top-notch lighting and sound systems attract DJ talents from around the globe, and live music shows also pop up on the calendar here and there.

The 9:30 Club has shuffled around town with each new location boasting a bigger and better space. In operation since 1980, the club is now known for serious DJ beats, touring acts, and a mix of events that appeal to all ages. Shows are most often general admission (standing room only), though there are a handful of barstools in the balcony section if you’re lucky to snag one. Four bars serve up beer and cocktails, while those in search of a caffeine fix will find a coffee bar here, too.

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  • Restaurants
  • Downtown

This sumptuous restaurant and lounge serves up a cabaret experience before transforming into a dance club with bottle service on weekends. Step inside the open space—featuring a 60-foot high ceiling—and take in Versailles-inspired crystal chandeliers and golden accents. While a mix of house and Top 40 music is sure to amuse, the standout here is the live entertainment from the 20-foot enclosed stage over the first-floor bar. Performances range from modern ballet to acrobatic pole dancing, and aerialists sometimes descend from above the lounge’s dance floor.

Choose from three distinct levels at Flash: the club level, outfitted with studio-quality acoustics, trippy lighting, a dance floor, bar and (gasp!) seating; the ground floor with a separate dance floor and bespoke cocktails like a barrel-aged Negroni; and a rooftop dance floor for electronica lovers. Tickets can be pricey, but the house vibe is always on point and DJs come from all over the world to spin on weekends.

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  • Clubs
  • Downtown

This weekend venue has a loyal following for its classy dinner menu followed by fun on the dance floor. Cruise through the swanky, wood-paneled space that spans four floors and expect to move to hip-hop, R&B, top 40 hits, and reggae. Be sure to dress to impress, as doormen are onsite to make sure everyone adheres to a strict dress code that prohibits “tattered clothing, certain athletic wear and extremely provocative attire.” Enjoy a late-night bite with bottle service before cutting the rug in style.

A typical sports bar on most nights—when football games are shown on a big screen and $15 buckets of Bud are on offer—transforms into a very different scene on Friday and Saturday, when you'll find locals dancing under disco balls until 3am to what the bar describes as bubbly pop. Return to the longtime favorite the next morning for a Saturday or Sunday drag brunch that includes an all-you-can-eat buffet.

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  • Restaurants
  • Dupont Circle

This colorful venue serves an array of Latin American dishes throughout the day, but turns into a dance club starting at 10pm. DJs spin Latin house, pop, and reggaeton tunes, with some salsa, bachata, and Middle Eastern melodies thrown in, too. Head here early for occasional salsa lessons, then unwind with bottle service. Take note of the weekend dress code, and don’t forget your dancing shoes.

  • Clubs
  • Downtown

Renowned DJs like Martin Garrix and Zedd have hit this audiophile-friendly space (the club’s music technology includes a German-imported system complemented by 4-inch thick soundproof foam in the walls and ceiling). Choose between EDM parties featuring house, trance and more; hip-hop nights; and Avalon Saturdays, when LGBTQ Washingtonians take over the dance floor with glowsticks and body paint. The 85-plus lighting fixtures will capture your attention after the sound system pulls you in. While the club is 18+ Wednesday through Friday, it’s 21+ on Saturdays.

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  • Clubs

Enter and walk up the stairs where you’ll find a bar, some tables, and a small dance floor. Head up another set of stairs to find a rooftop bar decked out with a DJ booth, a larger dance floor, and VIP tables (which need to be reserved ahead, of course). Regulars appreciate the strong drinks, the fun hookahs, and free water—oh, and maybe the servers clad in fishnets. Pulsing crowds move to R&B, rap, and hip-hop. Be prepared for doormen and a security check—and also be stylish (no athletic wear or flip flops are allowed).

This eclectic weekend venue combines Victorian-era décor with hip-hop and wild DJ nights. There are also featured acts and theme nights to keep regulars on their toes. Founded by a renowned breakdancer, you’ll even find a few b-boy breakouts on the dance floor from time to time. DJs perform from the upper level while the dance floor below gets heated. Go here for drink specials when you want to keep the party going until 3am.

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