199 Bowery, nr. Rivington St.; 212-980-3011
If one needed more proof that the Lower East Side has become the meatpacking district’s younger cousin, look no further than Finale, a superclub courtesy of the team behind Tenjune and the General. Enter by descending into the subterranean, blue-velvet-draped den, where you can sip $24 Long Island iced teas, gawk at aerialists dashing across the ceiling, and dance to the hip-hop, pop, and R&B from D.J. Reach, who gets the crowd going wild Thursday through Sunday, and to a rotating cast of D.J.’s (Enrique Iglesias and John Legend among them) at Finale’s new Tuesday Baby Tuesday party. And wild the crowd definitely does get: Bowery residents recently took the club to court for noise violations.
Williamsburg 2.0 Bar:
Over the Eight
594 Union Ave., nr. Richardson St., Williamsburg; no phone
Following a brief incarnation as a restaurant, the space formerly home to early-aughts hookup dive Royal Oak has returned to its party roots as Over the Eight. Now that it’s flanked by luxury condos, reviving an old classic has meant spiffing things up a bit—with, among other things, weekend brunch and an impressive cocktail list. But not everything’s changed. The back room hosts a hodgepodge of parties like Thursday’s Synth After Work nights from 6 to 10 p.m. and such livelier Saturday-night lineups as Various Artists, which features an array of guest D.J.’s like MC Kitty Pryde. It’s Your Pick, a “sexy limbo soirée,” also held on Saturdays, gets partygoers to go as low as they can go to jams like Mariah Carey ’s “Fantasy” for a free bottle of Champagne.
Old-Fashioned Dance Party:
Friday Nights at Battery Harris
64 Frost St., nr. Lorimer St., Williamsburg; 718-384-8900
This otherwise beachy bar with a large outdoor area feels more like a Bourbon Street hootenanny on Friday nights when scrappy brass band the Lucky Chops take the stage. The group gets the dance party started themselves, bopping through the crowd, performing “This Little Light of Mine” and “Glory, Glory Hallelujah” for swaying twentysomethings and couples showing off ballroom moves. Dress lightly: With two ceiling fans providing the only air—consider it a bit of swampy authenticity—you’ll work up a sweat.
Catwalk at Marquee
289 Tenth Ave., nr. 26th St.; 646-473-0202
After undergoing a renovation in late 2012, Marquee seems to be enjoying an unexpected second wind thanks in large measure to Catwalk, a Thursday-night gay party hosted by Susanne Bartsch and Michael Fragoso that launched in February. Bartsch, the legendary nightlife maven, and Fragoso, who previously hosted Le Baron’s popular (now defunct) Les Garçons, do not skimp on spectacle. While the crowd that turns up when the party starts at 11 p.m. skews heavily toward Chelsea-boy Adonis types, around 12:30 a.m., the scene turns into the Bartsch-o-ramas of yore: Extravagantly attired nouveau club kids and glittery drag queens dance to pulsating house music, while go-go boys gyrate and performance artists twirl in their midst.
Dizzyland at the Spectrum
59 Montrose Ave., nr. Lorimer St., Bushwick; no phone
Tucked away on the ground floor of a walk-up apartment building, DIY queer-oriented space the Spectrum is small, but its monthly Dizzyland party offers just as many gender-bending nightlife crawlers strutting their stuff as its more established counterparts in the city (and with some crossover—the space’s owner, Gage of the Boone, co-hosts Catwalk at Marquee). Since last summer, one Saturday a month, the party’s cartoonish creator Trey LaTrash has been drawing performance-art-minded clubbers who keep the pop-fueled, anything-goes dance floor (and its stripper pole) active well past sunrise, with occasional interruptions for voguing battles.
Club Within a Club:
The Panther Room @ Output
74 Wythe Ave., nr. N. 12th St., Williamsburg; 718-302-5815
Unlike Output’s cavernous main venue, the newly opened Panther Room and its rooftop Canopy Bar feel both intimate and inviting, like a lounge that happens to have three levels and a booming sound system. You’ve got several choices once you arrive: get sucked into the limb-loosening vortex that is its main dance floor, scope out the scene from the mezzanine area, or escape to the AstroTurf-lined roof deck that often hosts parties of its own. Whatever kind of night you’re looking for, you’ll be able to groove to such respected D.J.’s as Kyle Hall and Autobrennt or local crews like Ghe20 G0th1k and Let’s Play House.
The Stardust Lounge at Maison 0
98 Kenmare St., nr. Mott St.; 212-274-9898
Those with fond memories of the Kenmare’s dance cave can check them at the door of Matt Abramcyk, Serge Becker, and designer Jason Volenec’s more colorful and kitschy twist on a Japanese karaoke lounge. While karaoke is the pervasive theme at this buzzy new basement bar below Tadashi Ono’s izakaya, D.J.’s take over on the busier nights to ensure that there are some reliable songs to move to—no offense to your rendition of Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself.” The space, flanked by private karaoke rooms, is an homage to cheesy rock, with pink lights and faded record sleeves on the wall.