Dance clubs in the Baltimore area represent all ages and dance styles. They're just as diverse as the locals. One thing they do share in common is that they guarantee to show you a good time, whether you're in the mood for hip hop, country music, rock or Southern rock – like at the historic Pop's Tavern.
The fact of the matter is that there used to be many dance clubs in Baltimore that are now closed. The olden days had discos, world-famous gay dance clubs, Russian hangouts, salsa dance venues. Even the most famous house music dance club is set to shut its doors this year.
Baltimore does still have a few places that have mixed use – dancing and restaurant – aspects.
The city has a number of places that offer dance lessons before the main festivities, which gives people confidence if it's been a while since they've tripped the light fantastic. The Ministry of Swing and Mobtown Ballroom are among the places you can learn while you have fun.
Pop's Tavern got the second Baltimore County liquor license after the end of Prohibition in 1933 and they're the oldest tavern still running continuously. Check out some quiet little – but charming – vintage Art Deco touches, such as the restroom sign lights. Its popularity no doubt rose when nearby Bethlehem Steel - now closed - was operating at full blast 24/7.
Live bands still play on Saturday nights to a packed, older crowd. Back in the day, bands such as Danny and the Juniors, as well as The Platters played there. Today, dance bands get people to their feet. This is a place to have casual fun, opposed to being on display. (410-477-0270)
Ministry of Swing
Hampden's Ideal Arts Space has been through several incarnations, starting out as an Art Deco era movie theater, through a couple of different vintage store markets. Though the markets were beloved and sorely missed, Hampden neighbors are happy that the prominent and architecturally interesting space is newly occupied by an arts group that hosts regular dance events. It fits in well with the rest of the nightlife on 36th Street.
This venue focuses on West Coast Swing dance classes and events, but also has Salsa and Bachata dances, as well as other non-dancing events, such as cabarets and special vendors.
All ages, genders are quite welcome in this hip, artsy, gentrifying neighborhood. (443-529-5937)
From a dance club to a swanky video bar to a classic and classy polished wood pub, Grand Central effectively manages several dynamic operations. While awesome videos and billiards provide entertainment in the club's other sections, two bars, a video wall, a dance stage and a sunken floor enhance the cutting edge dance club.
The venue's location on Charles Street makes it THE place to go after Pride Day events.
This summer, every Thursday is a beach themed night in their disco with state of the art lighting and sound.
Though they no longer feature a restaurant, there are food trucks around for events like Sunday's Afternoon Tea. Additionally, within a three block radius is a variety of restaurants from fine dining-steakhouse, sushi, bistro fare and a number of ethnic restaurants. (410-752-7133)
Right at the heart of "Pigtown" is a re-purposed 1870's church hosting all kinds of fun things to do that require lots of space. There's dancing at many of their special events, as well as EVERY Monday and Friday night – it's not always easy to find something to do on Monday nights in most cities.
Their regular Monday and Friday dances go on as late you want to stay. No experience or partner required. Their dance nights highlight several styles of swing dancing, including moves originated in Baltimore.
After much effort from Mobtown Ballroom, they've secured a full liquor license. Among other things, they had to get a law changed that prohibited liquor from being sold within 300 feet of a church! (443-699-3040)
Offering something for everyone, this Southwestern themed club features both a country dance hall and a rock'n'roll deck. Line dancers, donning their cowboy gear, hit the indoor Cantina Bar, while "The Deck" packs in rock, top 40 and hip-hop fans ready to jam.
A restaurant serves soup, salad and classic bar food. Seven bars accommodate patrons. During the day, The Deck is a popular spot to watch sports on TV.
They have a pretty strict dress code, meant to keep a certain atmosphere and keep things safe for patrons. It's best to check out their website for the full details. (410-761-6188)
The Windup Space
Though not a "dance club" per se, The Windup Space's dance club nights are legendary. "Four Hours of Funk" is one of their regular events that features local musicians that's very popular with area college students.
Special nights, such as fundraisers and New Year's Eve, have formal dress, but in a much grittier atmosphere than the staid hotel parties your parents attend. Some people feel best taking Uber or a cab here.
Even when there's no dancing, they've got fun events going on: each night is different at The Windup Space: between burlesque sketch nights, urban indie bands, tribute bands, lectures and board game nights, there really is something for all ages, all tastes. (410-244-8855)
Located in Mt. Vernon, Red Maple is one of Baltimore's hottest lounges, offering unique cocktails and tapas along with other restaurant-quality menu items. Though they have gone through a few chefs over the years, they're currently on the local sourcing craze.
There's an elegant L.A.-Miami vibe in the front lounge section: California style fireplaces and low seating-day beds, along with tables, line a floor-lit wall.
After dinner make your way to the back of the club for either its indoor dance floor or catch a breath of fresh air on the outdoor patio.
Red Maple attracts a diverse crowd, but it's definitely dress to impress. (410-547-0149)
Located in downtown Baltimore's Power Plant Live! entertainment complex, Mosaic is a sophisticated lounge and nightclub featuring chic modern decor, a lovely outdoor area and plush VIP couches, perfect for resting heel-clad feet after tearing up the dance floor. This is a very popular place for groups to head for fun.
The music changes from night to night, with everything from DJs to country bands in the surrounding Power Plant Live area.
For luxurious or special nights, they've got VIP tables and a substantial bottle service menu. For extra adult fun, they also sell glow in the dark necklaces, body sprays and "pleasure packs".
Not your typical dance club, Baltimore's Lithuanian Hall is a real local's insider secret. On the first Friday of each month is SAVE YOUR SOUL, a popular underground dance party: DJs spin the rarest Soul and R n B. Admission is $5 plus $5 for an annual membership to the hall. The dance party serves as a fundraiser.
The hall dates from 1921, built from existing buildings to suit the city's burgeoning Lithuanian population. There are gorgeous architectural and design details on the main floor, with two other floors as well.
Their bar stocks Lithuanian beers and their very own honey liqueur, Viryta! (410-685-5787)
Everything from cute local college garage bands to well-known names on their way up (or a shade past their prime) are booked at Ottobar. With a main stage downstairs and a casual spot with pool table upstairs, you can hear your music anyway you like . . . even if that includes being able to get to know your date better throughout the evening. You'll also find a wide range of music, each night bringing in its own kind of crowd. You know who you are!
If you can snag main stage balcony sofa seats, you'll feel like a VIP at no extra cost.