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Baltimore's Dance Clubs Are Like the City: Everything from Quirky to Elegant



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.


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Pop's Tavern
Photo courtesy of Tamar Alexia Fleishman


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 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, as opposed to being on display.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Lovers of classic rock, southern rock and country will appreciate this come-as-you-are venue.

Tamar's expert tip: Saturday's the best night at Pop's. If you want a table, best come early.

Read more about Pop's Tavern →




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 and genders are quite welcome in this hip, artsy, gentrifying neighborhood.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: People looking for dancing on the north side of town or near the Baltimore County suburbs will appreciate this venue in a safe neighborhood.

Tamar's expert tip: Check their calendar for free practice nights. Otherwise bring $10 for the evening's festivities.

Read more about Ministry of Swing →


7
Mt Vernon
Grand Central


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.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 to steakhouses, sushi, bistro fare and a number of ethnic restaurants.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Since Baltimore's legendary Hippo closed, this venue is a favorite of the city's LGBT community.

Tamar's expert tip: Dancing isn't just for nighttime! Every Sunday, starting at 3 pm, they have an "Afternoon Tea" featuring 80s and 90s dance music, special drag performances, $5 Long Islands, Mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Read more about Grand Central →


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6
South Baltimore
Mobtown Ballroom
Photo courtesy of Tamar Alexia Fleishman

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 â€" 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 that 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!

Read more about Mobtown Ballroom →


Cancun Cantina


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. hey 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.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: With food, live music and dancing, Cancun Cantina offers a full night's entertainment.

Tamar's expert tip: Three nights a week, they offer free country dance lessons.

Read more about Cancun Cantina →


The Windup Space
Photo courtesy of Tamar Alexia Fleishman


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.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: The Windup Space, in the ever-developing Station North neighborhood, isn't pretentious at all. Members of Baltimore's artsy, diverse population love it.

Tamar's expert tip: They have an upscale selection of beer and liquor at the bar.

Read more about The Windup Space →


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Downtown


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."

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: This is a place for that classic lounge feel, no matter what type of music you like.

Tamar's expert tip: As the Power Plant is located between the Inner Harbor and Harbor East, you're as likely to meet out of towners as locals.

Read more about Mosaic →


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South Baltimore
Lithuanian Hall
Photo courtesy of Tamar Alexia Fleishman


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&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!

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: The nights that they do have dancing, it's very special. There's an ambiance of joy rarely seen elsewhere and that quirky Baltimore quality shows.

Tamar's expert tip: The first Saturday of December is Night of 100 Elvises, one of the most popular and quirky parties of the year!

Read more about Lithuanian Hall →


1
North Baltimore
Ottobar
Photo courtesy of Tamar Alexia Fleishman, Esq.


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 tables 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. If you can snag main stage balcony sofa seats, you'll feel like a VIP at no extra cost.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Ottobar's two floors have different vibes, with the upstairs being more intimate. Downstairs has lots of energy and welcomes a diverse crowd.

Tamar's expert tip: Some dance nights are 18+ and others 21+.

Read more about Ottobar →


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