Get into the Groove at Dallas' Go-To After Dark Playgrounds

Photo courtesy of The Church/Lizard Lounge
Photo courtesy of Taboo Lounge Facebook
Photo courtesy of Cowboys Red River
Photo courtesy of Sons of Hermann Hall
Photo courtesy of Sandaga 813
Photo courtesy of Round-Up Saloon
4. VNYL
Photo courtesy of VNYL
Photo courtesy of Beauty Bar
Photo courtesy of Station 4 Facebook
Photo courtesy of The Nines Facebook
By Ilene Jacobs, Dallas Local Expert

Itching to let loose on the dance floor? Then you’re in luck: Whether you’re into hip hop, the two-step, West Coast swing or something in-between, Dallas dishes up plenty of places to bust a move.

Those with a discerning musical taste head to Sandaga 813, a cool and cozy spot featuring live jazz, soul, reggae, hip hop, funk, and or DJs– most days of the week. Don’t worry about checking the schedule–there’s always something going on.

If you’re looking for a sprawling, quintessential dance club, look no further Station 4, one of the city's best and biggest straight-friendly gay dance clubs offering a gloriously eclectic line-up and crowd.

Speaking of sprawling, at 30,000 square feet– Cowboys Red River is ultimate place for boot-scootin’ to live country music. Oh, and there’s even a mechanical bull to ride for those who still have some energy to spare.   

And we’re just getting started. From sexy clubs to classic honky-tonks, here's where to go when you feel like dancing the night away.

10. The Church/Lizard Lounge
Photo courtesy of The Church/Lizard Lounge

Housed in a former trolley car repair station in the Swiss Avenue Historic District, this legendary nightspot shares a space with the Lizard Lounge. The latter hosts national and internationally known DJ's and EDM artists (think Crystal Method and Deadmau5) on Friday and Saturday nights, while The Church caters to the gothic/alternative scene on Sunday nights. Laid out across five separate lounges, the club features multiple dance floors and 3 different DJs offering an eclectic lineup of music that spans everything from neo-gothic, industrial, electro and dark house in the main room to 80's retro and classic church tracks in the video bar. Above all, The Church is probably best known for its unique theme parties, some of which include the Dallas Fetish Ball, Gothic Beauty Pageant, and Zombie Prom. The best part? The club stays open after hours until 4 a.m. Oh, and there's also a rooftop patio sporting incredible views of the city.

9. Taboo Lounge
Photo courtesy of Taboo Lounge Facebook

It's not much to look at from the outside. In fact, don't be surprised if you drive past this Design District hot-spot without noticing it's there. Inside is a different story, though. Here, you'll find a seductive, candlelit cocktail sanctuary-- think prohibition chic meets twenty-first-century cool, with exposed pipes, cinder block walls, cool art and a gorgeous lime green back-lit bar. Throw in a few secluded seating areas and you're left with a cozy drinking den which, once found, you won't want to leave. But it doesn't stop there: Taboo frequently plays host to live bands and DJs who rock the house with everything from disco to hip hop and house.

8. Cowboys Red River
Photo courtesy of Cowboys Red River

If you've got a hankering to down ice-cold Lone Stars and two-step your way across a massive dance floor-- then this behemoth honky-tonk is for you. Not only can you do some serious boot-scootin' to live bands Wednesdays through Saturdays, but you can also cowboy up with everything from mechanical bull riding to games of Texas Hold 'Em, Blackjack and Craps. And if that doesn't get your toes a-tappin'--then free dance lessons, ladies nights (Wednesdays through Fridays) and $2.50 drinks (before 9 p.m.) certainly will. For an authentic country experience without having to get your boots dusty, this place is the real deal.

7. Sons of Hermann Hall
Photo courtesy of Sons of Hermann Hall

Dallas has plenty of honky-tonks, but few are as authentic as this century old Deep Ellum mainstay. Originally built to house several lodges for a fraternity of German immigrants, the hall now serves as a live music venue showcasing a variety of genres from folk, country and blues to alternative pop and reggae. Along with live bands, there's also a DJ to get the party going with everything from blues to swing and two-step, all you have to provide is the dancing. Want to learn some new moves? Then drop by on Wednesday nights for a free lesson. If dancing doesn't do it for you, head downstairs to the bar where a jukebox, pool table and shuffleboard provide a nice diversion. Just be sure to keep an eye out for ghosts-- legend has it that this place is haunted.

6. Sandaga 813
Photo courtesy of Sandaga 813

Lovers of smooth jazz 'n blues can't do much better than at this Exposition Park live music venue, which has a reputation for bringing in top-shelf talent from around the globe. Even musical heavy weights like Wynton Marsailis and Erykah Badu have played gigs here in the past. And Sandaga's regular roster of performers reads like a list of who's who on the local music scene as well, where regulars include Grammy Award nominated artists– Shelly Carroll and Brad Leali. If jazz isn't your thing, no worries– the club also brings in DJs that spin everything from hip-hop and house to R&B and reggae. Plus, in addition to putting on one of the best jazz jams in the city every Tuesday night, Sandaga offers up a variety of live soul and R&B on Saturday nights and hosts the eclectic hip hop band, RC and The Gritz (also known as Erykah Badu's band)– every Sunday. Did we mention that they have barbecue, hookahs and private cabanas too?

5. Round-Up Saloon
Photo courtesy of Round-Up Saloon

This legendary Cedar Springs hotspot has been hailed as the nation's best gay country western dance hall-- and with good reason. The saloon boasts multiple themed bars, a rooftop patio and a spacious hardwood dance floor with plenty of room to boot-scoot, as well as disco dance, the night away. It also cranks out a roster of weekly events, from RuPaul's Drag Race watch-parties to chili cook-offs, poker tournaments, pageants and even bachelor auctions. Not to mention, the place hosts some of the best karaoke nights in town. As if that weren't enough, there's drink specials every day, plus all day happy hours and even late night howdy hours. Not only is this place a favorite pit-stop for locals, it also draws in celebrities like Lady Gaga. The crowd is primarily cruising cowboys, but fun-loving cowgirls and just about anyone who wants to do-si-do across the threshold is made to feel just as welcome.

4. VNYL
Photo courtesy of VNYL

The Dallas suburb of Plano may have a booming restaurant scene, though it isn't exactly the place you think of when it comes to nightclub action. That is, until now. Taking over the former Brixton space in the Shops at Legacy, this bi-level club boasts a swanky décor, bottle service in a VIP area and a high-energy dance party from Thursday to Sunday. Expect to find a state-of-the-art lights and sound system plus a revolving door of top local and national DJs spinning everything from EDM to hip hop. Also expect to find a variety of champagne selections, specialty cocktails, and drinks offered by the pitcher and on tap. Best of all, the drinks are reasonably priced and there's never a cover to get in. Speaking of booze, score martinis, vodkas and select wines for only $5 on Thursday nights. Keep an eye out for events like comedy shows and drag bingo.

3. Beauty Bar
Photo courtesy of Beauty Bar

For those who like to multitask, behold the Beauty Bar, a retro-themed '50s beauty salon-- where you can drink, dance and have your nails decked out at the (almost) same time. Sure it's gimmicky, with antique dome hair dryers serving as seats and cocktails named the Beauty School Dropout and the Big D Blowout. But it's also one of the hottest hipster destinations in town, boasting DJ driven dance parties to the likes of hip-hop, funk, disco and electro. And as if that's not enough, the place hosts live music, pizza parties-- and offers $10 martinis & manicures from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays.

2. Station 4
Photo courtesy of Station 4 Facebook

Easily one of the city's best and biggest gay dance clubs, Station 4 (or S4 as locals call it) boasts late-night house and hip hop madness Thursday through Sunday, plus awesome drag shows and pageants in the Rose Room upstairs. Spread across 24,000 square feet, this cavernous, multilevel nightspot offers numerous bars, a state-of-the-art sound system and lighting powered by dancers on a motion-sensing, stainless steel dance floor. When you're ready for a breather, you can chill out in a VIP Lounge to watch the party action from above or take in some fresh air from a lofty two-story balcony. Cutting-edge DJs and a host of regular events, from gay bingo to costume contests--make this a hot spot for a mostly gay (and young) crowd, but it's just as welcoming to anyone who's looking for a good time.

1. The Nines
Photo courtesy of The Nines Facebook

Formally the Red Light Lounge, this 3000-square-foot multi-level dance palace is one of the only places in the Deep Ellum neighborhood where you can get your fix of electro-house, EDM and other hands-in-the-air sounds supplied by some of the city's biggest DJs around. Super offbeat entertainment is also the order of the day here, where on any given night you'll find everything from costume parties to burlesque, aerial performances and fetish shows. When you feel like coming up for air, take the back stairway to the 3,000 sq. ft. roof top terrace where you can enjoy more music, more libations, snazzy finger foods and spectacular views of downtown Dallas. If you're looking for something weird and wonderful, this is the place to go.