Shake Your Groove Thing
By Tara Nurin
Dance clubs have come a long way from the days of pounding music, flashing lights and dubious attire. While some still revel in their thumping beats and laser light shows, others take pride in offering refuge from the noisy street with plush seating, expertly mixed fresh cocktails and a perch from which to serenely take in the action.
10 The Roxxy
DJ Pauly D draws huge crowds to this Delaware Avenue club complex, as do Brody Jenner and Jay Sean. Between the famous DJs, 2000-person capacity, bottle service, three distinct rooms and a large waterfront deck, this is a serious destination for serious partiers, bachelorette parties and promoters throwing themed events like swimsuit competitions ((215) 931-0101)
9 Tavern on Camac
One of the standard-bearers of the gay nightlife scene, this Gayborhood club offers showtunes in the Piano Bar seven days a week for those taking a break from boogying. Showtunes also take center stage at the second-floor Ascend nightclub every Sunday, though disco, karaoke, DJs and a Wednesday ladies night populate the weekly calendar. Considered of the most welcoming and least pretentious gay bars in town, T.O.C. also serves a full tavern menu in the downstairs Tavern Restaurant. (215-545-0900)
8 Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
Professional costumed dancers lead the crowd in a floorshow that spotlights a Cuban master percussionist, singers, and a Latin DJ spinning Tropical Dance, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and Latin House music. After watching, the mojito- and sangria-drinking audience at this Old City Cuban resto-club gets to join in on the dance floor. Bottle service includes offers dozens of spirits, including a 21-year aged rum (215-627-0666)
7 Silk City Diner, Lounge & Beer Garden
Built on to a trolley-car diner/restaurant and a funky beer garden, the long-time Northern Liberties hipster hangout brings DJs, live bands and special events like comedy showcases to a simple, single-room space. Home to an exceptionally diverse crowd of 20- and 30-somethings, this is the place to catch surprise sets by ?uestlove of The Roots (215-592-8838)
For more than 15 years this Old City hotspot has been pumping out Latin beats for dancers shaking it to salsa, rhumba, cha-cha and tango. On certain nights, live bands take the place of DJs, and every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday professional instructors teach drop-in salsa classes (215-413-1700)
5 The 700
This Northern Liberties hipster staple distinguishes itself for its lack of a cover charge and its history as the former home of a poultry butcher � whose kitchen now serves as the upstairs bar and whose bathroom, though now the DJ booth, still contains remnants of a bathroom. Dancing happens upstairs on weekends, though from Sunday to Wednesday, DJs spin in the narrow bar downstairs, where bartenders pour 12 draught beers, 80 beers from bottles, absinthe and artisanal gin. ((215) 413-3181)
These days, the place to spot celebs is this glamorous pink-lit underground club where hallways carry travelers seamlessly from room to room. Different styles of club music differentiate the dance floors � with some DJs spinning Top 40, hip hop and house and others broadcasting trance and global. Reviews call the staff very attentive, which they'd have to be to keep the popular Vault VIP room limited to VIPs. ((215) 988-0777)
3 G Lounge
Rittenhouse Square's poshest nightclub is famous for a 55-foot LED wall that broadcasts ever-changing backgrounds to the VIP room. For an even more exclusive experience, invitees relax in the Mogul Room, set behind three-foot thick walls and a steel door. Across the underground (literally) club, a drinks program created by the "The Modern Mixologist," Tony Abou-Ganim, reflects the up-to-the-minute trends he learned under Mario Batali and as the drinks director for the Bellagio in Las Vegas. (215-564-1515)
2 Zee Bar
Shrimp and crab cocktail set the palate for sophisticated cocktails and a bottle service menu that lists nine sparkling wines, including Cristal and Dom, and ten vodkas, including Belvedere and Ketel One. Professional acrobatic performances enhance the DJ lineup at this high-end spot, where membership applications are taken at the door. The two-room club opens from Wednesday to Saturday and stays open until 3 a.m ((215) 922-2994)
1 Whisper Club
From Thursday to Saturday night, the city's best-dressed party-goers ride an elevator to the second-floor club, where six bars, a light-show, and two elevated VIP platforms await them. Private bottle-service areas overflow with sparkling wines cognacs, and cocktails conceived by skilled mixologists. Technically, this is a private club � which allows it stay open until 3 a.m. � but memberships can be purchased at the door. ((267) 414-3101)
About Tara Nurin
Tara Nurin is a veteran freelance journalist based just outside Philadelphia. The former TV reporter specializes in craft beer, dining and destination coverage and writes regularly about her three passions -- Philly, food, drink -- for local and national pubs. Tara, who grew up speaking Spanish and French, spent childhood holidays on a Puerto Rican beach and bummed around Paris for her junior year of college. She’s lived in more than a dozen American cities and still travels globally in search of a plate of local food, an artisanal beer and a hearty laugh with the countrymen.
Read more about Tara Nurin here.