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Best of New York Nightlife 2003

Best Night Moves

Go on a world-music tour without leaving the five boroughs.

  • Saturday Night at the Copacabana. (Photo courtesy of Stefan Studer)

  • Best Latin


    560 West 34th Street, 212-239-2672

    This sprawling, far-far-west dance hall regularly features Latin-music masters like the Hector Lavoe Review (of the storied Fania label), the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, and vocalist Tito Nieves—he of “I Like It Like That” fame. But unlike at other clubs dedicated to swing and Latin, the cover is low ($10), and the dancers know how to move.

  • Best Brazilian


    204 Varick Street

    S.O.B.’s dominance of the Brazilian scene is self-evident—after all, it stands for Sounds of Brazil. But thanks to the nearly constant presence of acts like Ogans and Katende this year, the club is becoming a locus for the less traditional but more soulful Afro-Brazilian sound. Admission: $20 most nights.

  • Best Dance-Hall

    “Massive B” at Club Crystal

    205-20 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica 718-464-3600;

    The vanguard of the dance-hall revolution is the “Massive B” Crew, led by Hot 97 D.J. Bobby Konders. This is the party where shouts of “Rewind!” fill the air, along with the aqueous bass lines and machine-gun beats of artists like Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, and Buju Banton. Admission: $20.

  • Best Hip-Hop


    235 Eldridge Street, 212-777-0588

    Gotham was the birthplace of hip-hop, and yet it’s nearly impossible to find a nightspot that offers credible rap music (sorry, socialites spinning Jay-Z don’t qualify). The closetlike Bob is a standout exception; on nearly any night of the week, revelers can nod their heads to D.J.’s spinning headstrong lyricists like 50 Cent, Gang Starr, and Talib Kweli

  • Best Indian


    204 Varick Street, 212-243-4940

    This six-year-old party has become a mecca for the rapidly growing number of Asian-hip-hop fanatics. And in the coming months, with artists like Panjabi MC and Tigerstyle Productions set to storm the pop charts in the UK, “Basement Bhangra” will get only more crowded with curious hipsters. Admission: $15.

  • Best Dub Reggae

    “Deep Space” at Cielo

    18 Little West 12th Street, 212-645-5700

    Former “Body & Soul” D.J. François K.’s new Monday-night party at this meatpacking-district nightspot is given over to the D.J.’s long-running obsession: the experimental dub reggae of producers like Lee “Scratch” Perry, King Tubby, and Scientist. He also weaves in spacey, dub-influenced dance music for good measure. Admission: $10.

  • Best Klezmer


    35 West 67th Street, 212-601-1000

    Despite the fact that this Upper West Side cultural center sort of feels like a synagogue, most nights of the week it really lets loose with great klezmer, Israeli, and Gypsy music. It’s also worth keeping a watchful eye on Makor’s bookings in jazz, R&B, and rock—this is the club that gave Norah Jones her very first shot. Admission varies.

From the 2003 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

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Other Best Of Guides

So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).