For many New Yorkers, heading out for a night of hip-popping, head-thumping, all-out dancing is too often outweighed by the prospect of hour-long lines and cruel doormen. But the nightlife-scape is shifting. In the past year, a slew of less model-and-bottle-oriented hot spots have emerged, many of them passing over West Chelsea for (where else) Brooklyn—opening in Williamsburg garages and Bushwick warehouses. And unlike the sleepy loungesand cocktail bars that sprouted in the mid-aughts—no doubt a reaction to the city aggressively enforcing its cabaret laws—these clubs are all about getting down. (And yes, a few still cater to those who get a kick out of $800 liters of Skyy vodka.) Here, a tour through thirteen new dance parties and clubs; a night-by-night guide to still-buzzing standbys; and ten options for brushing up on your old moves (no matter what era they’re from). As for new moves: Just try to resist busting out the Cooking Dance next Saturday night.
Get Live! at Lil Charlie’s
19 Kenmare St., nr. Bowery; 212-966-3428
Come Tuesday nights, the basement below swanky Nolita restaurant Ken & Cook, Lil Charlie’s, is the site of Get Live!, a wild weekly party courtesy of host Artan Gjoni (former general manager of Mercer Kitchen and Norwood) that caters to Harlem’s rap troop A$AP Mob and Tumblr-trending models dressed to the nines. A sparkling disco ball looms above the crowd as patrons sip on spiced-rum cocktails ($12) and dance to hit-heavy sets by D.J.’s like Eli Escobar and Stretch Armstrong. Missy Elliott was spotted there on a recent night with her entourage in tow.
Locations vary; brcdbr.com
For those in search of the kind of night that starts with uninhibited rump-shaking in a sweaty scrum and ends with a bleary-eyed, 6 a.m. stumble home through the industrial wilds of Bushwick, Shade, a party series from nightlife impresarios Ladyfag and Seva Granik, will not disappoint. Launched in April, the (roughly) bimonthly bash is held in a variety of North Brooklyn warehouses—though it recently took over the mall inside the South Street Seaport to throw Alexander Wang’s after-party during Fashion Week. A rotating selection of D.J.’s, like DFA’s Gavin Russom, spin a booming mix of electronic, hip-hop, and house.
Bossa Nova Civic Club
1271 Myrtle Ave., nr. Hart St., Bushwick; 718-443-1271
Since John Barclay opened Bossa Nova Civic Club at the end of 2012, the Brasília-meets-Bushwick discothèque in the shadow of the elevated M tracks continues to draw throngs looking to dance all night. Two of BNCC’s most popular monthly nights are Confused House and Industry of Machines; the first (which takes place roughly every second Friday of the month), a dance party hosted by D.J.’s Steve Summers, Terreke, and Bookworms, sees the three producers spinning lo-fi, tropicália-tinged house, while the latter (the next is October 24) features a rotation of producers performing live sets on vintage drum machines and synths. On other nights, you can expect a more low-key vibe, but be on the lookout for one-offs from visiting D.J.’s hailing from Berlin to Buenos Aires.
Egalitarian Meatpacking Club:
26 Ninth Ave., nr. 13th St.; 212-837-4700
Unlike its meatpacking brethren, Hilo takes a democratic approach to going out: There’s no velvet rope and no cover, and dancing (as opposed to just sitting around and looking pretty) is the main event here. Located in a former vault below Ninth Avenue, the intimate club, currently open Fridays and Saturdays, offers revelers a mix of techno, Top 40, and hip-hop; D.J. Rumor (who spins at Knicks home games) mans the decks on Friday nights, and on Saturdays it’s Kasey Berry (a regular at Beauty and Essex).
Dive With D.J.’s:
25 Bogart St., nr. Varet St., Bushwick; 718-456-7898
With its hodgepodge flea-market décor and menu of kale salads and cheese plates, Tutu’s seems to cater as much to Bushwick’s more mature residents ready to pack it in at midnight as it does to twentysomethings whose nights are just getting started. Upstairs, couples chat over $9 maple old-fashioneds and strawberry-basil lemonades. Downstairs, an inflatable parrot welcomes you to the unfinished basement, where a rotating cast of D.J.’s and parties offer everything from deep house to Fleetwood Mac. Five-dollar lagers served in plastic cups add to the house-party vibe.
395 Wythe Ave., at S. 6th St., Williamsburg; no phone
EDM-heads flock to this 1,500-square-foot converted garage for a chance to brush shoulders with the roster of world-class underground D.J.’s who set up shop here. Club vets Gio Gulez and Mehmet Erkaya helped openthis sparse space as a permanent alternative to the pop-up dance parties they’d been hosting at various warehouses for the past seven years (hence the name). Come on Friday and Saturday to see imported D.J.’s (like the U.K.’s Fun D’Void and Spain’s Pig & Dan), or stop in on a weekday to see New York–based acts, along with the neighborhood regulars (many foreign-born) who’ve made this spot their local.