10 Best Places To Dance In NYC


“Why aren’t people dancing?”

This may be the biggest perennial question of NYC nightlife (among what to wear, what to drink, and who’s got the plug). It’s something I asked myself recently when I attended a Boiler Room event at 99 Scott and noticed that not a single person looked alive on the dance floor. It’s something I’ve yelled to my friends amongst a crowd that seemed like it’d much rather film a person pressing buttons than actually have some fun with the $85 ticket they’ve shelled out. Was dancing — ecstatically, uninhibitedly, and with abandon — in NYC dead? I felt compelled to find out.

But in talking to all the professional partiers and nightlife people I could find, I quickly realized answering that question was going to be a near-impossible task given the wide-ranging — and often contradictory — opinions, thoughts, and hypotheses I heard. But one thing stood out: People were finding places to still dance. “If you go to a footwork show, people are dancing at a footwork show,” says former Pitchfork writer Arjun Ram Srivatsa. “If you’re going to a show with a wide variety of different people, people aren’t gonna engage, listen, or understand.”

Photographer Matt Weinberger, who’s become NYC nightlife’s newest documentarian, put it best when he told me over the phone that New York City nightlife in 2024 has “moved to a kind of post-economy where a party is only as good as whoever’s throwing it.” In other words, if you’re looking for a real rowdy time these days, context, environment, and the people in attendance matter. With that in mind, we reached out to the biggest party experts we know for the best places to go out in NYC if you do want to dance — and their tips on how to get there.

Bossa Nova Civic Club

Where: Bushwick, Brooklyn

Recommended by: Emily Powers, Party Collective founder and organizer

You should go for the: “The sexual undertone. I have a running joke where [Bossa Nova] feels kinda cruise-y. I threw a Valentine’s Day party there, and I would look up and see a bunch of people making out on the dance floor. I think when you have really good, bassy music that’s in a space that’s just a black cube, it feels almost meditative, almost primal.”

The Rosemont

Where: Williamsburg, off the Lorimer L

Recommended by: Jon Ali, NYC-based DJ/event producer

You should go for: The Zoo by Luis Fernando and Janelle no.5. [It] happens there every Friday night. Arrive by 11 p.m. and get your RSVP in early to avoid the line. The space isn’t massive so it fills up quickly. It’s a guaranteed good, sweaty time that truly lives up to its name.”

Night Moves

Where: Williamsburg

Recommended by: Arianna Danae, DJ (Elsewhere)

You should go: “If [you] want a more low-key night. It’s LCD Soundsystem James Murphy’s guest-list-only bar. How do you get on the guest list? You gotta know the DJ.”

Nowadays

Where: Right at the border of Bushwick and Ridgewood, Queens

Recommended by: Phoebe Smolan, photographer

You should go if: “It’s a late-night thing. There are no phones, and they give you this whole rundown of consent and how there are people you can go to if you need help. And they give out condoms, hair ties, and fentanyl test strips. If you’re going to go to Nowadays, you’re probably not going to get home until the sun is out.”

Paragon

Where: Bushwick, Brooklyn

Recommended by: Powers

You should go if: “There’s a specific act to see. I went to see a German DJ duo that was only doing two or three shows in America. I met some random German guys and they were like, ‘Oh, you’re gonna have the best time.’ I got like the Berliner stamp of approval.”

Gabriela

Where: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Recommended by: Danae

You should go to: “See the amazing local [DJ] that doesn’t get the recognition they deserve yet. It’s not a hard-ticket venue. It’s about the music.”

Two Doors Down

Where: Nolita, Manhattan

Recommended by: Melissa Rich, NYLON columnist

You should go if: “[You] like a place with multiple separate vibes. [This place] always has great DJs upstairs and downstairs. Upstairs, you can sit and have really fun cocktails, and downstairs is dark and a total party. Club Chess is a great party they do there, but any weekend late-night is great.”

Bush Dyke Bar

Where: Bushwick, Brooklyn

Recommended by: DJ Ushka who’s played Papi Juice, Riobamba Caotica

You should go if: “[You’re looking for a] lesbian- and queer-oriented space. I DJ here every couple of months and it’s always good vibes. Their cocktails are hilariously named — my go-to is “Guest Star” cause I’m a mezcal girlie — the crowd is cute, and the bartenders and owners are friendly and super-committed to the queer community.”

The Shop

Where: A word-of-mouth “secret underground venue” owned by an exterminator

Recommended by: Richie Quake, musician

You should go: “For the live shows. There was a house show a few weeks ago where they almost took the wall down because people were dancing so hard. The wall was literally coming off the ceiling.”

“Wherever Jackson Walker Lewis is DJing”

Where: Various locations, check Instagram

Recommended by: Matt Weinberger, nightlife photographer

You should go: “Because I feel like wherever he goes, whether it’s just a DJ set or it’s his band Fcukers playing, everyone’s dancing.”



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