Get into the Groove at San Diego's Best Dance Clubs

By Katie Dillon, San Diego Local Expert

It's fun, expressive, and a great way to meet people. Dancing plays a big role in San Diego's nightlife scene and the clubs around town offer music to suit a variety of tastes. Keep in mind that most of the best dance clubs are located in the Gaslamp Quarter, with a few sprinkled around other parts of the county.

One of the big-city style dance clubes, FLUXX, is literally in constant motion with world-renowned DJs and an interior theme that changes every few months. The atmosphere is sexy, upscale and sophisticated, drawing in celebrities and tons of media accolades. Its professional staff reads like a who's who of the nightlife industry.

Country music fans can now head to Moonshine Flats, a more upscale country bar in the Gaslamp Quarter that's a hit with guests regardless of musical taste. San Diego's largest dance floor is here, along with arcade games, old-fashioned drinks with a modern twist and more.

If you're headed out for a night of dancing, also be sure to check if there's a dress code, cover charge or list that you need to get your name on in advance. Grab your friends or a date and head out to one of San Diego's best dance clubs for an unforgettable night on the town.

10. Cafe Sevilla
Photo courtesy of Ecnerwal

This intimate and romantic, yet lively, Spanish restaurant features brick arches, dim lighting and black-lacquered ceilings. House specialties include an ever-popular and classic paella and halibut with salsa and goat cheese. The tapas bar offers more than 40 options, and the back bar is a sophisticated place where you can enjoy a pre- or post-dinner cocktail while being serenaded by local salsa, merengue and Spanish rock bands. Flamenco dinner shows are scheduled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights ($39.50 to $47.50), and dance lessons for the downstairs club are available. The Gaslamp location is extraordinarily convenient should you like to stop in for a bit during a night out.

9. In Cahoots Dance Hall & Saloon

You'll have a rollicking good time at this country western haven in Mission Valley. There's beer to drink and a large dance floor so you can boot scoot along with all your favorite country songs. Free dance lessons are held most evenings, and happy hour specials appeal to the pocketbook. Once in a while, InCahoots books country music headliners for a live performance. There's also Kountry Karaoke. An outdoor deck allows party goers to take advantage of the moderate San Diego weather. Parking is free but you can walk here from a trolley station. Don't forget your boots but note that it's the more casual country option.

8. Onyx Room and Thin
Photo courtesy of techcocktail

Two clubs in one, Onyx Room and Thin occupy two floors of the same space, with Thin at street level and Onyx below. Both are trendy spots that draw the ultra-cool who want to party with inventive cocktails in hand and plenty of eye candy located throughout the room. Different nights feature different music styles, from jazz to hip-hop and old-school. One cover charge gets you into both. As an upscale nightclub, Onyx and Thin a dress code so skip the beachwear. Onyx is more loungey with a wider variety of music. Register online for the guest list which may feature a discounted or no cover charge.

7. The Tipsy Crow
Photo courtesy of JoeInSouthernCA

This Gaslamp bar sets a classy and sophisticated backdrop for the young and beautiful of San Diego to mix and mingle. Set amidst antiques, art and leather couches perched on gleaming hardwoods, this spot sports quite the scene. Dress smartly on the weekends if you hope to be seen covorting with other heavy spending A-listers at one of Tipsy Crow's three expansive bars. The Main Bar has pool tables, lower level a dance floor and the upstairs a VIP lounge so people can hang out where they choose. The bar mixes classic d├ęcor, craft beers, quality cocktails and unique bites with years of experience and upscale service.

6. Bang Bang
Photo courtesy of Bang Bang

Evoking an Asian street market feel, Bang Bang features three separate concepts in one space - one part asian fusion restaurant, one part sushi bar and one part "theatre" which hosts live music, DJs, movies, and is home to the largest disco ball (5.5 feet wide) west of the Mississippi. Guests are transported through Bang Bang via a tunneled staircase entrance reminiscent of a Tokyo subway, complete with Tokyo subway sounds streaming through hidden speakers. Backed by nightlife impresario, Johnny Shockey and LED, Bang Bang offers unparalleled entertainment with some of the hottest up and coming DJs, inviting guests to come for dinner and stay the rest of the night. A full list of upcoming DJs can be found on their website.

5. Moonshine Flats
Photo courtesy of Patrick Samokhvalof for Moonshine Flats

Moonshine Flats is a ton of country fun in the Gaslamp Quarter. It's one of two places in San Diego to dance to country. The 10,000 square-foot venue features multiple levels, dozens of interactive elements, five bars throughout, including the longest bar on the west coast spanning 80 feet, San Diego's largest dance floor, two raised platforms for dance exhibitionists, a 6' x 6' raised "dance pod" and a moveable DJ booth, a large stage that hosts house bands in front of a floor-to-ceiling LED screen. Drink from old school barber "shot" chairs (drink and spin!) or play pool and arcade games like Buck Hunter and a Boxing. You'll love it, even if country music isn't your thing.

4. Bar Dynamite
Photo courtesy of miljen

Bar Dynamite's interesting history includes a former life as Club Nagasaki which catered mostly to San Diego's thriving aerospace industry. It became Bar Dynamite and in the 80s and 90s it was pretty much a dive bar for people who liked an early tipple and local bands. In 1999, a radical shift to underground DJs and cutting-edge technology overhauled the vibe into what it is today, 7 days a week. Music varies between funk, soul, hip hop, reggae and electronic club music. Entertainment starts at 9:00 p.m. There's no food for sale, but guests are welcome to bring it in from nearby venues. There's even free WiFi. Note that Bar Dynamite isn't a huge space but it is available for private events.

3. OMNIA San Diego
Photo courtesy of Omnia San Diego

Conceptualized around the elements of opulent, classic design and modern technology, OMNIA San Diego is a stimulating nightlife experience by global hospitality company, Hakkasan Group. The multi-level destination encompasses a high energy main club and balcony level as well as an outdoor terrace showcasing beautiful views of the scenic Gaslamp Quarter. The nightclub features a variety of musical talent, including some of the world's most in-demand talent, spanning diverse genres for an all-inclusive nightlife experience. Filled with interactive features and luxurious finishes at every turn, OMNIA San Diego sets the stage for patrons who enter our world to discover the unexpected.

2. Parq Restaurant and Nightclub
Photo courtesy of a-mirry

Parq Nightclub's intent is to draw on experience of leaders in the restaurant and nightclub industries to bring guests an unparalleled nightlife experience with top-notch service and sound to maximize the sensory impact of the club. Parq Nightclub is open on Friday and Saturday nights only. It is a stadium-like venue with centrally-located VIP tables for Vegas style bottle service. The sleek contemporary decor with high-energy lighting is designed to take guests on a walk through space with surprising little details revealing themselves along the way. Eat before dancing at the critically-acclaimed restaurant which was designed to evoke the feeling of eating in Central Park.

Photo courtesy of FLUXX

FLUXX is one of downtown San Diego's high-end dance club. Just as its name implies, FLUXX nightclub's mood and motif will be kept in a constant state of change, designed to create a unique experience with every visit. The venue incorporates organic decor amidst bright, bold colors and playful design elements including a large-scale adult tree house, circular dance floor, a 15-ft custom rope chandelier and eye-catching art. FLUXX offers a Vegas-style VIP bottle service and centrally located VIP tables. Or, reserve the tree house which also has a private bar. It's the most unique nightlife experience in town, created by top professionals in the nightlife business.