Sometimes you just gotta get your dance on. And there's no better place than the many pulse-pounding dance clubs of Washington D.C. Turn yourself on to the music of famous D.J's or sway to the rhythms of local bands and national acts that swarm to perform in D.C. 10Best has explored the nightclub landscape to find out where those tuned into the pure release of dance choose to go. Places like Fur, Platinum, Apex and Ultrabar attract scores of the beautiful people who come to dance the night away. Get in on the lounge scene at Lux, Josephine and the 18th Street Lounge - where you can chill with bottle service or hit the always humming dance floor. For the LGBT community, check out Town Danceboutique, the city's premiere gay dance club. If Latin-inspired merengue and salsa music are your style, go tropical with Habana Village. And you can't miss with the 9:30 Club, one of D.C.'s hottest concert venues. Up-and-coming regional acts are featured most nights, except when some of the biggest names in music pop in for a frequent headlining concert. Dancing is usually a must at these wild scenes. No matter what type of dancing you're in the mood for, if you have the energy, 10Best has a place for you.
10 Nightclub 9:30
The 9:30 Club is one of D.C.'s hottest concert venues. Big name national acts regularly play here and the stage schedule is rounded out with hip and happening local bands as well. You will never want for good music at the 9:30 Club. And with good music comes dancing. Don't expect the wicked light shows and thumping hip hop beat of a regular D.C. nightclub. Here, it's all about the music. As a bonus, the club serves food and there are four separate bars, so getting a drink is rarely a problem. There's also the club's Back Bar, where many folks like to go pre-show. (202-393-0930)
Prepare to wait at this hard-to-get-into club (the bouncers are extremely picky), but once inside you are in for a great party. With a French decadence-inspired decor, plenty of seating to lounge and relax and multiple dance floors in multiple rooms, Josephine will entertain you and your party all night and well into the morning hours. House music and hip hop are the name of the game at Josephine, where D.C. beautiful people come to dance and make an appearance on the social scene. One word of warning: Josephine is best enjoyed with a cocktail or two, but crowds will make getting to the bars a challenge. Opt for bottle service if it's in your budget. ((202) 347-8601)
8 Habana Village
If you have fond memories of vacations to tropical ports of call, intoxicating Latin music and lovely women dancing in island breezes, then head to Habana Village in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Sure, it's smack dab in D.C., but it's the closet thing to a Cuban dance club you are going to find short of Miami. (And it gets hot on the crowded dance floor, so dress like you were in the Caribbean as well.) Authentic food and drinks, including the staple mojito, are on the menu and dancing is on the agenda as DJs spin salsa, tango, rumba, merengue and other exotic dance tunes. The club is three stories tall and different styles of music are featured on each level. (202-462-6310)
7 Town Danceboutique
Get your dance on at Town Danceboutique, the largest gay night club in Washington, D.C. The club near Logan Circle is a heady mixture of a cabaret, a performance space, a luxe lounge, and a high energy dance club. There are two floors full of multiple rooms, state-of-the-art video walls and screens, cutting edge LED lighting, and multiple dance floors and sitting areas. Gay clubs have a reputations as being the best dance places around and Town Danceboutique doesn't disappoint. Drag shows take place most evenings -- early on before the dance floor scene really gets going. Covers charges are reasonable as are drink prices. ((202) 234-8696)
6 18th Street Lounge
The 18th Street Lounge is one of D.C.'s top nightclubs and dance clubs. Because of this, the competition to get in is fierce. It's often the celebrities and local social leaders who make it past the velvet ropes first. But if you can dress right and throw the right amount of attitude (or cash?), you can probably get in to one of the district's most happening scenes. Hard to find thanks to no real signage outside, the 18th Street Lounge is know for its great outdoor patio and constant live musical acts. Check out the club's online calendar for regular theme nights. Our favorite -- reggae nights on usually slow Wednesdays. (202-466-3922)
5 IBIZA Night Club DC
Open for more than six years now, the mammoth Ibiza is one of the grande dames of the D.C. dance club scene. A million-dollar sound system, high-tech light displays, regular celebrity appearances by big names in the music biz and from Hollywood, and a constant throbbing beat on the dance floors makes Ibiza still one of the hottest tickets in the nation's capital. Deep, dark colors create a powerful, energy-infused ambiance that helps with the party spirit. Known for its bartenders with a little attitude, the staff will nevertheless take care of you and any beverages you desire. If you want to spend the big cash, bottle service is available.
Built in a former bank building, Ultrabar has an ultra unique vibe to it. This is in no small part due to the marble decor, the hardwood floors, the safe deposit boxes and other original accoutrements that have been preserved. Each floor of this multi level club specializes in a different style of music -- complete with a pounding beat and custom light shows whirling about overhead. There are VIP sections if you want to drop the cash on a private table. There are plenty of high vantage points to chill and watch the dancers below. This may not be a bad idea - word from regulars is this club can get wild. (202-638-4663)
Hip hop and reggae are the flavor of Love, with lots of live music (sometimes by big names in the music biz who show up to do intimate shows). Love -- a converted warehouse -- features four levels of dance floors, bars and lounges where the common mixes with celebrities and pro athletes who flock here to party the night away. Get up close and personal with fellow dancers on the crowded dance floors as top industry DJs keep the beat going. There are plenty of plush sitting areas, lux private lounges and a VIP area with wall-to-wall carpeting and a shower. Yes, a shower. (202-636-9030)
2 Fur Nightclub
Fur Nightclub has the best of both worlds, a rocking dance floor coupled with a lounge vibe and plenty of seating to chill and people watch. Based in a refurbished warehouse, there's plenty of room to shake your groove thing -- like 12,000 feet worth of dance floor. There are also plenty of tucked away rooms for romancing a date, noshing on cafe sandwiches, sipping cocktails at the martini bar and even enjoying cigars in a room dedicated to stogies. The music leans towards Top 40, with plenty of hip hop thrown in. Other areas of this massive club see Latino and house music rule the floor. (202-842-3401)
1 Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar
It's like some urban hipster ran smack into Peg Bundy from "Married with Children." Picture the hippest/tackiest decor combined to make a charming, totally unique bar and dance club. (Did we mention much of it is aglow with black lights?) The first floor reeks of dive bar -- but in a totally good way. The dancing starts on the next floor as the club takes on a more cosmopolitan feel. Even better, there is some soundproofing between the floors so actual conversations can take place downstairs. Weekdays can be a bit thin, but weekends rock with lots of old school hip hop and R&B mixed in with current hits. (See website)
About Chris Wadsworth
Chris hails from Madison, Wisconsin and proudly wears the Cheesehead mantle. He majored in French and Russian at the University of Wisconsin and earned a Master's degree in journalism from the University of Miami.
After 12 years working as a TV reporter and anchor, newspaper reporter and columnist and newsroom manager, Chris jumped into the deep end of the pool and became a full-time freelance writer. His work has appeared in many national and regional magazines, newspapers and websites.
Chris and his family live in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and love exploring the nation's capital and its environs.
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