Sway, Shake, and Shimmy at Miami's 10 Best Dance Clubs

Few pursuits tap into the pleasures of nightlife more than dancing. Giving yourself over to the rhythms, the lights, and the energy is a total release. When you want that feeling, look into this list to find the best dance clubs in Miami. World-renowned (or just plain amazing and local) DJs get the crowds moving, and other patrons ensure that there's plenty to see along the way.

If you're looking for something with a more tropical flavor, check out Mango's right on Ocean Drive. It's the type of place you've seen in tourism commercials for South Beach, full of color and professional dancers and salsa and cha cha cha. 

If you want the full-on SoBe celebrity treatment, you'll have to make your way to a place like Story or LIV. Both of these have had the likes of Justin Bieber and Eva Longoria in their midst. These are tough to breach velvet rope-type joints that will not allow you to walk in if you just stepped out of the ocean (unless of course, you're supermodel Giselle Bundchen).

Places like Purdy Lounge and Electric Pickle bring dance club nights to the more laid back hipster masses of Miami. And if you're looking for a truly unforgettable but wholly unpretentious good dance time, there's nothing quite like Hoy Como Ayer in Little Havana.


Bodega South Beach

Bodega is South Beach's newest taqueria bringing cheap eats and stiff drinks to locals and tourists alike. Its vibrant interior makes you hungry for those delicious pork belly tacos everyone's raving about. But it isn't just tacos. Try their Queso Frito con Salsa Ranchero for starters--it's their take on mozzarella sticks with a kick. Opt for a BBQ Carnitas Torta or maybe an Hongos Torta if you're vegetarian--torta being a Mexican-style sandwich that is hearty and delicious always. Check out their daily specials, ranging from Mahi Ceviche to Huevos Rancheros Tacos. Oh, and if you get thirsty, step through the blue door and find yourself inside the speakeasy for plenty of tequila-infused cocktails and good times!

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Bodega's got tacos on one side, and plenty of tequila-infused dancing on the other. Bring your dancing shoes for sure.

Priscilla's expert tip: Go to Bodega on a Saturday night if you're looking to party after your tacos (be prepared for the crowds, though), but if you're strictly hankering for tacos, go by on a different night.

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Mango's Tropical Café

A unique Miami experience awaits visitors to this dance club's spirited location in the heart of South Beach. Situated on the waterfront right on Ocean Drive, Mango's Tropical Café offers a Havana heyday-style party where Latin tunes and live bands lure locals and patrons alike to the dance floor. There are dinner and a show happening here nightly, and crowds often gather from across the street to catch a glimpse of the dancers and theatrics. Entertainment includes everything from Salsa and Conga shows to a Michael Jackson "Thriller" tribute performance. Naturally made mojitos and daiquiris help guests cool off between songs.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Mango's is a unique experience, with over-the-top theatrics and a stunning array of professional dancers that are sure to get you moving.

Priscilla's expert tip: Take an Uber here, or else make sure to pay your meters. South Beach meter maids don't mess around.

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Nikki Beach Miami

In every sense, Nikki is a beach club, from its tiki bars and cabanas to its Survivor-meets-Fantasy Island decor. That doesn't mean you should bring your toddlers here (though it is very pleasant and quiet during the day). Awesome DJs spin top tunes constantly, and great global food makes for terrific nibbling. Plus, a never-ending parade of SoBe's famously beautiful models, society pagers and jet-setters ensure that standard goings-on never get stale. The campy vibe is irresistible, and excellent disco, lounge and dance music are certain to put you in a party mood. And as a bonus, dancing in the sand burns a lot of calories, which is a great way to keep those cocktail calories in check.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Ditch the high heels you wear at other clubs and dance barefoot in the sand at this tropical, outdoor dance club and lounge.

Priscilla's expert tip: Make sure you've got a bikini underneath in case you want to mosey over to the beach for an incredible, post-dance night sunrise.

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Avoid the crowds on Ocean Drive and head to Purdy Lounge, an off-the-beaten-path night club with a loyal following. If the glitzy South Beach-and-Downtown club scene grows old or if you are simply not in the mood for the usual nocturnal fray, Purdy's is the place to turn to. The lounge has an appealing retro-inspired rec-room aesthetic and you'll immediately think you've entered your best friend's basement circa 1975, complete with lava lamps, funky chairs and old-school board games. But if it's dancing that you're after, there's plenty of that going on, especially late into the night as the drinks flow freely and the beats get better and better.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Reggae nights, funk jams, tropical sounds, and laid back house beats will get your body moving at this uber-chill dance lounge.

Priscilla's expert tip: Check your attitudes at the door. Purdy is not the place to expect your VIP status to matter. Everyone's equal at the lounge.

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Hoy Como Ayer

At the epicenter of Latin culture in Miami, Hoy Como Ayer blends past and present together beautifully inside its lively locale in the heart of Little Havana. Its name translates to "today, as yesterday," and from the photos of classic singers lining the walls to contemporary Latin tunes vibrating the walls, the concept is at the club's core. The music's authenticity and high quality instantly provoke dancing, whether it's salsa, rumba, cha cha, or however else your body moves you; and big-name vocalists have been known to make surprise appearances. In addition, perfectly mixed mojitos and a brief menu of Latin bites round out the experience.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: We dare you to find a better and more Miami-style dance night experience in the entire city than Hoy Como Ayer.

Priscilla's expert tip: Locals know the best night to dance here is on Thursdays for Fuacata!, when local favorites, the Spam All-Stars, fire up the crowds.

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The Electric Pickle opened up well over a decade ago, and unlike many of the surrounding places that have come and gone, this hip joint doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. The Pickle is a music and dance lover's dream. 300 audiophiles fit well within its 2 rooms, and spill out over into their back patio, allowing for 3 different ambiances on any given night. The crowd here is always lively, the tunes are always on point and you'll often catch acts here that are on the verge of blowing up. This is definitely the type of place to take your girlfriends out for a night of dancing, a place to meet new dance partners, a place to lose yourself in the music.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: The theatrical vibe at this South Beach fixture is unreal, making it a must for our list.

Priscilla's expert tip: Keep in mind that the upstairs bar is fairly limited. Keep your complicated orders downstairs, and opt for a beer on the second floor.

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While the Fountainbleau remains one of the most breathtakingly luxurious hotels in all of Miami, it's not surprising that LIV, the hot-to-trot nightclub held within, is also one of Miami's crown jewels for an evening of dancing in decadence. LIV is all velvet rope and VIP and Gucci and Prada and bottle service. It's not the place to go in jeans and a t-shirt hoping for a free shot of Jameson to go with your $5 beer. It is the place to go if your Manolo Blahnik's finally arrived and you've got the need to show them off while hoping to rub elbows with Kim Kardashian, Alex Rodriguez, Kate Hudson, or Jay-Z (all previous guests of the establishment).

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Opened in late 2012, Story is the masterful creation of MMG, the powerhouse behind Miami's LIV. Just as posh but somewhat less crowded than its sister club, Story provides an incredible, over-the-top theatrical night club experience with wild laser light shows, beautiful dancers in all forms of dress and all the powerful house music you'll ever need. With over 60 VIP tables, it's best to come here and enjoy the full experience, complete with private tables and expensive Grey Goose bottles. While it gets busy, especially on Saturdays, you won't have trouble finding some room to move on the dance floor. Make sure to explore all three floors of the club as there's a different vibe on each.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Story has taken over as one of the Magic City's most legendary dance clubs, hosting the likes of Drake, Steve Aoki, and Nas.

Priscilla's expert tip: If you can get a hold of a promoter to take you in, do it. You'll want as much VIP access here as possible to have the best time.

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The original Ball & Chain opened in 1935 when Calle Ocho was simply known as the Tamiami Trail, through which farmers would send oranges and other crops east to the Downtown Miami area. It has survived decades of reinvention, calling itself at one time the Ball & Chain Tavern, and serving as a venue for legendary performers like Billie Holiday and Chet Baker. These days, the Ball & Chain is once again serving as a live music and dance venue, with a full bar, a fine drink menu, and tapas for when the mood strikes. While they're still just starting out, there's no doubt that larger acts will be hitting the stage here in no time.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Ball & Chain has proven itself to be one of the best places in town to dance sans pretension, with incredible cocktails to boot.

Priscilla's expert tip: Get here early to start your dance night off with a delicious Cuban dinner, then order drinks and hit the dance floor!

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It's a dance club. It's a bowling alley. It's a skating rink. It's a bar. It's Basement, and it's one of Miami's hottest places for a night of total debauchery and pure fun. Located inside the Edition Hotel in Mid-Beach, Basement is the literal basement of this posh, beachfront hotel. It's a popular spot for the 305's who's who, attracting the likes of celebs (think Drake and Wilmer Valderrama among others). World-class DJs are frequently found here as well (hello, Questlove!) As if all that weren't enough, the place is beautiful and perfect for a night of Instagramming. In short, it doesn't really get much better (or more Miami) in town than spending a night in the sea-level city's only real Basement.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: A dance club that doubles as a bowling alley and skating rink means there's never a chance to get bored. Bring all your friends STAT.

Priscilla's expert tip: Check the calendar for events (there's literally something going on here every night). You just might get to see an amazing performance by a guest DJ or rub elbows with a celeb.

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Meet Priscilla Blossom

Pris Blossom is a freelance writer and feminist mama with a love for travel, writing, music, film, craft beer, yoga, museums, cultural anthropology, and her awesome kid.

She spent the bulk...  More About Priscilla