Political events aren’t the only hot ticket in the nation’s capital—the city’s nightlife scene gets downright fiery, too. Here, find the best dance clubs in DC, from super luxe destinations to venues serving a more laid-back crowd. Featuring both famous DJs and top live acts, these venues are particularly enjoyable with a drink in hand while dancing the night away. For more nightlife destination ideas, check out the best bars in DC and the best pick-up bars in Washington, DC. Wondering where to listen to live music in DC? We’ve got you covered on that front as well.
Best dance clubs in DC
Offering a Moulin Rouge ambiance, this sumptuous restaurant and night-time lounge is a must-visit. Step inside the first floor’s open space—featuring a 60-foot high ceiling—and take in the ornate chandeliers, golden accents and Versailles-inspired tabletops scattered about. While the mix of house and top ‘40s music is sure to amuse, the standout here is the live entertainment from the 20-foot enclosed stage over the first floor bar. Performances include everything from modern ballet to acrobatic pole dancing, and aerialists sometimes even descend above the lounge’s dance floor. Just dress fashionably and go—and don’t let anyone tell you DC is boring.
Picture dancing in your best friend’s Northwest DC mansion, which just happens to boast flattering lighting and comfy, vintage seating—yes, seating—scattered about. That’s Eighteenth Street Lounge, which now features five rooms: The Main Room, The Gold Room, The Jazz Bar, The Studio Bar and Deck Bar. You’ll find a laid-back space and a welcoming vibe that keeps locals and visitors coming back. Those craving a salsa or reggae fix will be pleased by the occasional live band performance.
It’s no mega-club, but Latin dance lovers adore this low-lit, bohemian space. In general, you’ll find Brazilian tapas along with musical and cultural events, but the real party begins Friday and Saturday nights when Latin bands play live salsa on the first floor (with other styles occasionally thrown in). Join dancers of all levels, including beginners—just be warned that the cozy dance floor can get hot and crowded on busy nights. You can also venture upstairs to take in a menu of other acts. When you reach your dancing limit, take a break at the downstairs bar and order a Caipirinha to help you catch your breath.
The big draw at this hotel’s rooftop lounge? Unparalleled views of the cityscape, including the Washington Monument and the White House. On warmer nights, the terrace views of DC’s skyline are unobstructed and fabulous. Spend time lounging outside under the covered awning or venture inside, where you can dance to a variety of music on the newly tiled floor. The dress code of “casual sophistication” is enforced after 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays, so make sure to dress appropriately. You’ll see that suits for gentlemen are not uncommon, as the city’s lobbyists and lawyers prowl the scene. The drinks, while tasty, are on the pricier side. Overall, POV is a must-visit for those who crave nocturnal views with their nightcaps.
Known simply as “Citron” to regulars, this colorful and welcoming venue serves dishes like empanadas, ceviches and calamari—and turns into a dance club starting at 10pm. Featuring purple, blue and red lighting (it varies by floor), and tons of lively patrons, Citron stays energetic until close. You’ll find three levels of fun, with DJs spinning Latin house, Latin pop and reggaeton tunes, with some salsa and bachata woven in.
To enter the subterranean space: spot the unassuming outside entrance in Dupont Circle, walk through the street-level doors and down the stairs to discover a darkened, intimate space featuring black leather seating and tones of gold. Inside, stylish visitors will also find carefully crafted cocktails and top shelf champagnes. Open-format DJs spin from a Chesterfield leather booth outfitted with a 24-karat-gold buffalo skull—and they play everything from hip-hop to EDM.
A modern space that’s decidedly more high-end than your aunt Dot’s place, this recently remodeled, newer addition to DC’s nightclub scene features a comfortable selection of rooms and younger, high-energy crowds. Order bottle service and perch on the tufted sofas, or dance to the DJ’s high-energy music, including everything from hip-hop and top 40 to the latest from Latin America. (Check the website for the schedule.) Roam the club’s 5,635 square feet and party until the wee hours under flashing red and blue lights. The Living Room can fill to capacity on weekends, so remember this when planning your arrival time.
Nostalgia lovers take note: This is the place to be if you’re craving sounds of the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s. This 10,000 square-foot space features dedicated floors for each of these fun time periods. Start on the first level, where the DJ in the CD-covered booth plays hits from the 2000s to now. The second floor is all about the ‘90s, sometimes even welcoming acts that defined the decade. Climb to the gold-themed third floor to revel in the sounds of ‘80s hip-hop and check out the “Bling Room.” Bonus: The recently unveiled fourth level—a rooftop space—is like a classic Miami club. If you can’t find something to groove to here, maybe you’re not a dancer at all.
Come in for happy hour, or drop by for dinner, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Either way, stay for the dance. The swanky, wood-paneled space is just steps from the K Street Corridor. Cruise through four separate floors and expect to move to popular music, including hip-hop, R&B, top 40 and even reggae. Do dress to impress, discriminating doormen are onsite.
Renowned DJs like Tiesto and Steve Aoki have hit this venue’s stage, with the audiophile-friendly space seeking to channel the acoustics of a recording studio. The club’s music technology includes a German-imported d&b audiotechnik system complemented by four-inch thick soundproof foam in the walls and ceiling. Choose between a variety of event options, including EDM parties (featuring house, trance and more), Latin and hip-hop nights. Want more? Two overhanging disco balls and 85-plus lighting fixtures will capture your attention after the sound system pulls you in.