20 LA Bars Where You Can Dance
At some point, you wake up and realize you can no longer tolerate going to clubs. Maybe it’s the bad drinks, or the horrible music, or just the unrelenting stench of desperation that finally get to you. Regardless, it’s all behind you now, and you’re thrilled about it.
But what happens when you still want to dance? Are there actually places in LA where you can get your groove on and not abandon your dignity (and credit card limit) in the process? Yes. But they sure aren’t easy to track down. That's why we’ve done the work for you. Now all you have to do is dance.
photo credit: The Let's Go! Disco & Cocktail Club
Text ten friends if they want to go to a 1970s-themed Italian disco and chances are you’ll have ten friends show up at your door. So it’s not surprising that Let’s Go Disco is one of the most talked about LA bars—and we’re here to tell you it delivers on its promise of kitschy, retro debauchery. Attached to De La Nonna in the Arts District (the door’s to the right when you enter), the space has circular booths, neon lighting, stucco arches, and of course, spinning disco balls. While the dancing really gets going after 9pm when the DJs start, head over earlier to beat the lines and get a sesame-leaf-infused gin martini at the bar.
photo credit: Farah Sosa
This swanky DTLA cocktail bar is truly underground: you’ll find the entrance through a dark staircase in an alley. Every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night, the basement bar fills up with people who want to chant lyrics to the latest Burna Boy record. Doors open at 10pm, but these crowded dance parties keep going until 2am most nights. If you’re looking for a more low-key night with a date, drop by on Thursday for live jazz. There’s usually no cover to get in, but drinks here typically cost around $20.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
From the outside, El Cid looks like a random door frame along Sunset Blvd. But walk down the steep flight of stairs and you’ll pop out into a hidden dance party. On weekends, the cover is usually $10 after 10:30pm. There’s a patio outside lined with leather booths and a long wooden bar, plus a dancefloor inside where you'll find nightly events ranging from live music to flamenco lessons. The cocktails are cheap, the crowd is cool, and the two-tiered patio has plenty of room to spread out with a big group of friends.
Echo Park’s legendary Latin club is one of the few places in LA where people show up ready to go all out on the dance floor. Live salsa bands and old-school cumbia tracks keep the crowd sweating on most nights, but the massive room really fills up for Stud Country—the weekly queer party where strangers in Stetsons line dance in unison like a Western-themed flash mob.
Put all your fears of fist-pumping and house music nonsense aside, this legendary dive bar is where you go to get weird to old ’80s hits and dance with strangers in jean cut-offs. The Echo Park spot can get crowded, so make your moves early.
photo credit: Brant Cox
Homage, a brewery and restaurant in the middle of industrial Chinatown, is made for people who love beer but also want to dance. There’s a pleasant patio out front where you might spot a couple of toddlers with their tattooed parents. But the real scene is inside the garage, which has a long bar counter, a disco ball, and a DJ spinning vinyl records behind a monochromatic booth. Most people come here to sip housemade IPAs and snack on scallop crudo during the day, but on Friday and Saturday nights, the dance floor is packed until 1am.
The moment you step onto the jam-packed dance floor at Gold Diggers, you’ll feel like an extra in an early 2000s Ciara music video. This dark, divey dance hall in East Hollywood hosts free DJ sets and ticketed live performances almost every night of the week. And it’s one of the few places in LA where people are fully uninhibited. Gold Diggers is part bar, part club, and part boutique hotel—so depending on how your night goes, you could theoretically stay the night. Bring a group the next time you decide to unleash that new shirt you bought, and prepare to sweat it out while dancing to funk and soul jams under a crystal chandelier.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang feels like a piece of Las Vegas got bored and moved to Koreatown. This slightly wild "speakeasy" on the bottom floor of The Line hotel has a light-up dance floor, several disco balls, an elevated stage, and the kind of bouncer who might send you home for wearing flip-flops. Expect to wait in line for at least 20 minutes on a Friday night, especially if you plan on getting in before 11:30pm for no cover charge. It's always a bit of a fiasco out front, but once you're inside the packed bar two-stepping to disco tracks it'll all be worth it. RSVP ahead of time if you plan on doing bottle service, and check their Instagram for updates on the DJ lineup before you arrive.
Another great gay bar, Precinct is a massive spot in a warehouse in Downtown LA. The drinks are affordable, the drag shows are rowdy, and the crowd is a whole lot of fun. Oh, and in addition to being affordable, those drinks are also extremely strong, so there’s a good chance that you and whomever you’re dancing with are going to help each other piece tonight together tomorrow.
photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee
Trying to find great places to dance on the Westside isn’t easy, especially if you don’t like paying for bottle service (we don’t) or waiting in line (we also don’t). Fortunately, Venice’s Little Friend is our refuge in this part of town. The sibling to Silver Lake’s The Friend, this bar plays actual records in a small space that makes you feel like you’re partying at the Peach Pit After Dark. They’ve got all kinds of themed dance nights, like disco, house, and “Madre Mondays” when they have all-night Happy Hour and lots of tequila.
Welcome to one of the most legendary bars on the Westside. This dime-sized joint along Wilshire is technically a karaoke place, but don’t let that deter you - the dancing here is very real. The Gaslite is definitely not where you start your evening, it’s where you end up at 12:30am dancing your soul out to a stranger's jaw-dropping rendition of “What’s Love Got To With It?”
If you look at Zebulon's calendar, you’ll see a bunch of shows lined up. And they’re usually pretty good if you want to pay to watch a live band. But if your priority is dancing, head to this giant warehouse/bar after the shows are done. Around 10:30, Zebulon turns into a regular bar, with free admission and a huge dance floor where DJs are playing songs you and your friends know all the words to. It’s our favorite dance spot that, somehow, no one knows about yet.
Akbar is the antithesis of every Weho gay bar you’re tired of waiting in line for. The neighborhood spot on the Silver Lake/Los Feliz border is always easy to get into, well cocktails aren’t $16, and the crowd generally doesn’t have anything to prove. The relatively tiny dance floor in the back can get crowded, but it never veers towards overwhelming.
Cicada Club is one of those places that reminds you that Los Angeles is much cooler than it will ever get credit for. This Downtown supper club has all the Old Hollywood, art-deco looks you could want and a live band that gets the dance floor heated up early. You can go all-in for the dinner setup, or just buy separate tickets to come and dance (they usually run $20-25). That might seem steep, but it’s the price you pay for time travel.
LA loves bars with weird entrances more than most people like their families. And at Davey Wayne’s, your route is through a run-down refrigerator in a garage. And on the other side of that run-down refrigerator? The 1970s house party of your drunken dreams. Chill out in the living room and listen to the live band, or get rowdy in the backyard with the snow-cone machine and maybe another band on the roof. It’s all insane and gimmicky, but if you can’t find fun at Davey Wayne’s, we can’t help you.
Chinatown’s Melody Lounge is good for an energetic night out, depending on who is DJing. The space is somewhere between a dive bar and a sparse cocktail lounge, but someone is spinning vinyl records in the corner here every night of the week. Paper lanterns bathe the room in a sultry red glow while a mix of tropical house, Latin trap, future beats, soul, funk (or whatever else the DJs feel like playing) thumps the walls. On weekends, expect to do a lot of dancing next to strangers wearing high socks and loafers.
By day, Harlowe is a Weho bar with an Old Hollywood theme that’s great for networking. By night, it transforms into the post-grad version of Jock Jams night at DKE. But that also makes it a fun place to dance on a Saturday night. The DJs play mostly hip-hop and pop, so there’s a good chance you’ll know every word of every song - and a 100% chance you’ll be singing along after a few of their draft old fashioneds. Expect a wait if you get there after 10:30 or so.
Is this the most underrated bar in Santa Monica? Depending on how much you like to dance to Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, the answer is probably yes. Located in that inland no-man’s land part of Santa Monica, The Room can be a little tricky to find, but once you do, it’s worth it. Good drinks made by cool bartenders, lots of old-school ’90s rap and R&B, and plenty of room on the dance floor for you and your friends to get low.
The Virgil is a dive bar in East Hollywood with two different dance floors—one in the front, and one through a door in the back. And you should be heading straight to the back bar, where you’ll find a dark, massive dance floor with a DJ playing pop tracks from the last 30 years. The drinks are expensive, but that generally comes with the territory of being in a dance-y bar on the Eastside—just take a shot or two of tequila before you hop in your Lyft, and you’ll be set for the night.
This Chinatown bar with two floors—one jade green, the other a sultry dark red—hosts DJs spinning classic hip hop, R&B, moody pop, and Sade all night long. Drinks are made fast and strong. Everything, from the wooden tables upstairs to the velvet couches to the vintage DJ booth has an old-school Chinatown look. And on any given night, you might see college kids dancing their butts off or 3-year-olds nursing a tiki cocktail in the corner.