Everybody Dance Now . . . at Toronto's Best Nightclubs



Some people like to march to the beat of their own drum. Others like to enjoy the bass of a world class DJ rather than their own private vinyl collection. On those days when you want to go big, Toronto has the dance clubs that are sure to please. It was the end of an era with the closing of The Guvernment nightclub, which at one time was named one of the top nightclubs in the world by DJMag. We may be hustling in another era of smaller and friendlier nightclubs, but there always is a place where people go to get their dance on.

Way into the wee hours of the morning, we have your cocktail flowing, hip shaking locations all over the city. It is just a cab ride away to enter a different world. It will be hard to imagine that this is the same city where you took your morning Starbucks run. These dance clubs prove there are a lot of different ways to stay awake. Whether you stumble home at 2am or 7am, you only have to wait a short while before you get to relive your experiences over brunch.

Some of our locations expect you to dress your best, while others are more concerned that you drink your best. Ask your Magic 8 ball what the outlook will be for your evening, pick a number and call your most fun friend. It is time to party.



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This house music club brings in international DJs for a heart thudding good time. There is a cover charge in place once you climb the stairs to prove that you are physically fit enough to put in some quality dance time. 13,000 square feet welcomes even the most ferocious dancers, with bars on either end to make sure that you don't get too thirsty. You won't wonder why it is called "Nest" for long, as giant, art-deco nests are everywhere. If you have to ask why, you haven't had enough cocktails. Closing hours can be even later (or earlier) than the official 4 or 5am time.


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There are clubs that get so tightly packed that your dance moves start consisting of fist pumping and swaying motions. Maison Mercer has 12,000 square feet, which is room for up to 1,300 people. Likely you will have some space to bust out your best moves, especially if you go early. Multi levels make it possible to find the right song to scream "I love this song!" to no one in particular. There are 34 bottle service tables and it is best to reserve one early to avoid disappointment. The crowing jewel of Maison Mercer is the rooftop terrace, which manages to be both swanky and romantic.


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Kensington


 

Helmet Head is not exactly a look we associate with being sexy. However, it doesn't matter because Kensington is more about attitude than appearance. And Handlebar has plenty of personality. As Toronto becomes more cramped, dance clubs become more narrow and this place is no exception. Beer, whisky and mixed drinks can be had for under $10, though, which might help to expand your personal boundaries. Expect an eclectic mix of music, from soul and motown to top 40. The dance floor is small enough for people to dance without feeling obligated. You can always spend your time engaged in the noble pursuit of beer drinking.


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West Toronto


 

This is Toronto's longest running Latino drag bar (you know that you are officially a big city when you have more than one Latino drag bar). It is a basement club located in Toronto's Little Italy neighbourhood. Be prepared to see some gorgeous queens shake it to the Latin beat. This club is welcoming to a wide range of ethnicities and persuasions (or pretty much every ethnicity and persuasion). Expect Top 40 mixed with Salsa and a little bit of Bachata for good measure. Revel in the false eyelashes, grab a martini and shake what your mama gave you. It's the right thing to do.


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Dance clubs have been evolving in Toronto since the 2000s and The Piston is a prime example of that. On the trendy Ossington strip, The Piston straddles the line between bar and nightclub and does it well. The back of the bar is set up for 100 people to dance their faces off, with live music and DJs every single night of the week until 2am. It may be smaller than a lot of other places we would put under the dance club umbrella. However, it has a snazziness to it that we couldn't ignore. With lush curtains offset with leather booths, this is the kind of place you come to dance with the friends who want to kick back and don't require VIP bottle service.


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Formerly The Annex Wreck Room, Coda is a nightclub that is super proud of their audio and lighting system. Your favourite energetic gym songs will feel like they are directly pumping through your veins. The specialty is electronic, house and techno music with underground DJs often visiting to host your weekend nights. Coda even has a spacious dance floor that doesn't require you to fuse to a stranger. Dance anywhere and dance all the way until 5am. Coda even offers snacks, like chicken tacos and fruit kabobs that will have you making better decisions than a 2am street meat run.


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Queen West


 

Although imagining dancing in a place called Cube might conjure up claustrophobic images, Cube is indeed the opposite. Impressively spacious, L shaped yellow vinyl couches snake around the club, offering the opportunity to rest tired feet in a charmingly retro fashion. Most people choose to stand with cocktails as accessories, swaying to top 40 and house music. Built in the reformed Ultra club, Cube attracts the over 25 crowd. Cube claims that it was built "with evening mischief in mind." Some clubs seem to be dark to hide their dinginess, but Cube could get away with being more brightly lit, were it not for the whole beer goggles thing.


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Toronto restaurateur and nightlife kingpin Charles Khabouth has been at the forefront of both the city's dining and dancing scenes for years. So when he opened Uniun in the downtown Entertainment District in 2013, Toronto's party-loving set knew it was going to be a hit. The 16,000 square foot space opened in the 1920s as a factory, but has since housed its share of popular nightclubs. Uniun aims to have staying power with comfortable leather banquettes and thousands of LED lights lining the walls, a state-of-the-art sound system and, of course, plenty of space for dancing. Up to 1,500 patrons at a time can enjoy Uniun's vibe and grab a drink at one of six bars.


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Same nightclub is one of those places that seems the same as every other nightclub, until the wee hours hit. The narrow space gets crowded and sweaty, the music picks up and the drinks pour faster with each passing minute. With a capacity of 350 people, perhaps it isn't that difficult to feel crowded, but the music makes it worth it. There is a cover charge and as with most place in the King West district, people come dressed to impress. Do check for particular dates and times, as they will open on unexpected nights, say when Halloween falls on a Tuesday. Expect hip-hop, top 40 and trap music. Reserve bottle service beforehand (even on their website) to make things easier on you and your squad.


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Downtown


 

Fly Nightclub is the place to party, especially for the LGBTQ community. It doesn't start to fill up until 12 or 1 due to the fact that it is open until 4am - but only on Saturday night. Filled with beautiful low body fat percentage men, it is a great place to go to dance some of your own body fat off (just use their Instagram feed as inspiration). This spacious club offers three floors and 10,000 square feet of heart pumping music. Some nights have drag queen shows and others celebrate particular DJs. Fly tends to attract a great mix of people, gay or straight. This is a great place to be to cap off your Pride Week celebrations and it was the original club used in TVs "Queer as Folk."


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Meet Courtney Sunday

Courtney Sunday has lived in England, Switzerland, Canada and the US, finding her way into the professions of freelance writing and yoga teaching in between travel opportunities. She learned...  More About Courtney

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