The Best NYC Bars Where You Can Dance
Dancing is a way to tell the world how you’re feeling. And if you want to tell the world that you’re feeling like a less-sober version of those blow-up figures you see at car dealerships, you should be able to do that in a place that isn’t a club. So here are some bars where dancing happens. Pick one, then pull up some YouTube videos and figure out how to dance.
photo credit: Spilled Milk Creative
You can use Wiggle Room a couple different ways. You can whisper sweet nothings into your date’s ear on the main floor, but the basement has a whole different vibe. It has squiggly pink neon lights, a disco ball, and a dance floor, although you should know that the DJ doesn’t get going until after 10pm. It’s also legitimately freezing downstairs, which you’ll appreciate when the room gets packed and you work up a sweat. Wiggle Room is only open Thursday through Saturday, and it gets more crowded the later it gets.
Masquerade is one of our favorite places to consume Iranian mezze and saffron cocktails in Williamsburg, but it’s also a highly danceable venue. Thursday through Saturday, they book interesting underground DJs to get you under the disco ball in the middle of the bar. Even on weeknights, you’ll find art school dropouts with unruly hair getting down to whatever’s on the speakers. Check their IG to see when the party’s starting this weekend.
No matter what happening brings you to Icon—a drag show, their raucous karaoke night, or a variety spectacular—you’ll probably end up dancing at some point in the night. Everyone always seems to be having a great time at this popular queer bar in Astoria. The drinks are strong, the music is great, and the bartenders have warm “love makes the world go ‘round” energy that’ll encourage you to let loose.
photo credit: Shrine Harlem
A few of Harlem’s storied jazz spots are still around, but there are also some exciting spaces in the neighborhood where new artists are keeping the genre interesting. At the Shrine, you can listen to jazz and funk in a vibey purple room almost every night, and most of it is more danceable than the stuff at your dad’s favorite jazz club. This is a low-key spot where you’ll discover stray records in the crevices and mingle with a fun, younger crowd.
You’d never know from the relaxing atmosphere at Al Coro that there’s a straight-up dance club (with no cover) downstairs. Discolo is basically two small octagonal rooms—one has the bar, and the other has a dance floor surrounded by banquettes and tiny round tables. Both rooms are almost completely dark except for red, purple, and blue lights on the ceiling. The flashing lights pulse to the blaring music, which leans more disco and house, less club remixes of Bieber tunes. This place only takes walk-ins, and a lot of people here are in jeans and tees, so come as you are.
photo credit: Briana Balducci
If you arrive at Ding-A-Ling before 10pm, you might be the only one here. This casual, '70's-themed Alphabet City bar is quiet during the early evening, but around midnight it fills up with people who are determined to party. You'll find a line outside late at night, and you should get in that line if you're looking to mingle with a crowd beneath the light of a disco ball. There’s a small food menu with a few hot dogs and vegan nachos, in case you forgot to eat dinner.
If you’re looking for a bar that has house-party energy, frozen dole whip cocktails, and a playlist that feels like it was made by your friend who’s a self-described “crate-digger,” head to Lullaby on the LES. It’s in a basement on Rivington, and it has couches, low ceilings, and lots of people dancing even though there’s no formal dance floor and the space is pretty small.
photo credit: Nikko Duren
This Bed-Stuy spot is heavily themed around the late-night roller rink parties you may or may not have attended as a child. Meaning there’s a lot of neon, nostalgia, and a jukebox playing music you legally must dance to. Despite all of the fun decor, we feel a need to clarify that there is no actual roller skating to be done at All Night Skate. But everyone’s moving all night.
The theme at Joyface appears to be “1970s bedroom.” And what do you do in a 1970s bedroom? You hang out, sit on a waterbed, talk to some friends on your velvet couch, and show off your dance moves underneath a disco ball. You can do all of these things at this East Village bar. This place gets packed, and it’s a great spot to hang out for an hour or two and accidentally run into your ex.
Nowadays is a huge indoor-outdoor bar near the border between Bushwick and Ridgewood. They have dancing inside and host lots of cool events, but our favorite thing about Nowadays is their weekly outdoor dance party called Mister Sunday. The crowd is a good mix of younger people, older people, kids, and dogs; the DJs only play vinyl; and there’s a strictly enforced no-cell-phone rule under the disco ball on the dance floor.
Cafe Erzulie, a Haitian cafe in Bushwick, often hosts live performances, Caribbean music nights, and steel drum bands in their backyard. While you’re here, you can order things like plantain chips with guacamole, Haitian patties filled with beef, and a platter of black rice, pikliz, and sweet green peas. Make sure to follow Cafe Erzulie on Instagram so you never miss something great.
photo credit: Tim Saccenti
Considering how many bars there are in the neighborhood, you would think that Williamsburg would be stuffed with places where you can dance. Not the case. Cafe Balearica is a great option, though. This two-story spot on the corner of 11th and Berry has a ground-floor space covered in tropical plants and a clubby downstairs room where you can dance beneath a disco ball. The downstairs is only open on Fridays and Saturdays (starting at 9pm), so that’s when you should stop by if you’re looking for a scene.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
The Crown is the type of place where you might see someone walk in dressed in a full puffy NASA spacesuit (which is something we've actually witnessed). Pretty much anything goes at this rooftop bar on the 21st floor of the Hotel 50 Bowery in Chinatown. This spot has two outdoor areas with a huge indoor space in between where you and a few friends can dance while a DJ spins some Southern hip hop. The next time you want to be outside with 360-degree views of Manhattan while wearing that outfit you'd put on for the Met Gala, head to The Crown.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Friends and Lovers is a venue in Crown Heights with a bar in the front and a big open space in the back where bands and DJs take the stage after 10pm pretty much every night. The place gets crowded on weekends, and they usually charge a cover, but if you're already at the bar before the music starts, you might not have to pay. Check out their Instagram before you go. (You can get in free or at a discount if you RSVP beforehand.)
If you want to dance on a rooftop while you drink out of a small plastic cup and watch the sunset in Bushwick, Elsewhere is where you should go. This is a big music venue in a warehouse with a few separate spaces, including a large rooftop where you can hang out and dance. Different DJs perform indoors and outdoors most nights (except Monday, when this place is closed), and you can buy tickets either online or at the door.