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Best Dance Clubs in Seattle

After the Sun Sets, Seattle Sizzles at These Dancing Hot Spots


As a progressive and culturally open city, Seattle was early to the club culture phenomenon. When disco waned and electronic beats took over nightclubs across the land, the Emerald City was right on the forefront of that trend with venues like Neighbours, one of the city’s longest standing LGBT and Mixed dance clubs. Opened in 1983, the innovative club is still in action, but it now has plenty of competition in its own Capitol Hill neighborhood, as well as in Belltown. Those two nightlife hotspots are home to the city’s largest concentration of underground clubs and swank Euro-style, ultra-lounge spaces, which share the nightlife landscape with chic hotel lounges and live music venues.

Of course, dozens of rock dives with dance floors exist, too, but in terms of electronic dance music, the Showbox at the Market manages to bring in top current touring acts from the genre. Still, those shows are more about seeing the performer live than dancing until the wee hours. For that type of nocturnal activity, there is no shortage of valid venues, and each specializes in subgenres of dance-club culture.

As practical as it is forward-thinking, the Seattle club scene features chameleons like the Alibi Room, which could pass for a frontier bar in daylight but turns out churning beats after dark. For sheer glitz and pretty people, there are spots including Trinity Nightclub in Pioneer Square. 


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The Crocodile

Opened in 1991 and host to bands that put Seattle on the music map, like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Mudhoney, the recently relocated Crocodile (now with an address on 1st Avenue in Belltown) is one of the best concert venues in Seattle to see those lesser-known, up-and-coming bands. A top venue, with loads of lore, for the city's frequent music festivals, the Croc also has a stellar sound system and hosts monthly dance and DJ nights. Recent evenings have featured everything from Bollywood beats and house and hip-hop rhythms, to global sounds and those rooted in Black and African music.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Opened in 1991 and host to bands that put Seattle on the map, the relocated Crocodile is a prime venue for concerts and dance nights.

Corinne's expert tip: Also check out Madame Lou's, named after the infamous Seattle iconoclast, "in all her elegance and spitfire." This venue honors the legacy of Seattle's gritty D.I.Y. spirit, hosting everything from all-ages punk shows to dance nights.

Read more about The Crocodile →


Located at a thriving Pike Street intersection in Capitol Hill, this music club hosts awesome punk and indie-rock concerts (and the occasional dance party theme night), and has attracted bands like Black Mountain, Vampire Weekend, Buckethead and The Reconteurs. The space was originally opened as Moe's Mo'Roc'N Cafe in 1994 and re-launched in 2003 under its current name. The venue prides itself on "an always relevant and carefully curated music calendar, outstanding light production and state of the art sound system." The digs accommodate 800 fans, mostly with standing space, but three bars and balcony seating are available as well.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Located at a thriving Pike Street intersection in Capitol Hill, this music club hosts awesome punk and indie-rock concerts plus the occasional dance theme night.

Corinne's expert tip: For more concerts and DJ nights, check out happenings at Barboza, located just downstairs.

Read more about Neumo's →


A Fremont staple since 2004, Nectar Lounge is the city's largest indoor- outdoor music venue, which prides itself on bringing talented acts to "the Center of the Universe." The venue's aim: "Our goal is to bring all genres to our stage and all sorts of people together in our space." Although this neighborhood hangout is certainly known for being more of a concert hub than anything, the dance floor often fills with enthusiastic patrons, especially on dedicated theme nights designed to provide pumping beats and a space in which to get down. When the temps inside rise, the garage door rolls up, creating a cool hybrid space in which to enjoy the evening.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: A Fremont staple since 2004, Nectar Lounge is the city's largest indoor-outdoor music venue, which prides itself on featuring talented acts and dance nights.

Corinne's expert tip: Check the calendar for dance-specific theme nights, like a recent event billed as a "Reggaeton/Bollywood Dance Party."

Read more about Nectar Lounge →


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Located in the historic Oddfellows building, Century Ballroom's vintage locale perfectly suits its mission: to keep ballroom and social dancing a thriving part of the Seattle nightlife scene. If the venue's popularity is any indicator, the mission is succeeding. The elaborately renovated ballroom space (with a 2,000-square-foot dance floor) is the place in the city to revive the grand days of formal evenings out on the town. Dance nights, often with live music, set the perfect tone with dining, drinks and dancing under the same roof. Meals and a full bar are available right across the hallway at the Tin Table. Whether you enjoy salsa, swing, tango, tap or burlesque, Century Ballroom or the adjacent East Hall offers all that and more. And for those who need instruction or just a chance to brush up on their rug-cutting skills, Century Ballroom hosts fun and friendly classes and lessons.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Century Ballroom is a Capitol Hill mecca for the dancing crowd; come here to enjoy every genre from tap and tango to swing and burlesque.

John's expert tip: Far from a disco or nightclub, this classy historic ballroom nevertheless offers one of the best dance spots in the city. Also check out their series dance classes and one-off workshops.

Read more about Century Ballroom →


Showbox at the Market
Photo courtesy of Showbox

Although it's experienced a variety of incarnations over the decades and boasts a rich history, the current-day Showbox is a must-visit place to catch touring bands directly across from storied Pike Place Market. Amid Art Deco columns, young and hip crowds clamor to hear and see their favorite groups. There's even a dance floor on which to show off one's moves if the spirit strikes. Plus, several bars accommodate patrons with a good menu of libations. Before the show, pop by Kerns Music Shop, a lounge formerly know as The Green Room, which provides an intimate atmosphere and features a full bar.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Showbox at the Market brings live music downtown, but it also brings a hopping dance floor on nights when bands aren't booked.

Corinne's expert tip: Tip to be one of the first in the door: If you're 21 years of age or older, the venue first welcomes in patrons who purchase food or drinks in Kerns Music Shop (the lounge space at The Showbox, just off the lobby) or the Showbox SoDo Lounge prior to a show. Both open two hours before door time.

Read more about Showbox at the Market →


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North Metro

Although a very different kind of dance club, Seattleites who like to move their bodies (especially when it comes to two-steppin') flock to this happening Green Lake venue that's known for its live country music scene. Seattle's not just about grunge anymore, and Little Red Hen is a perfect example of why. Here, you can dance, you can sing, and you can listen to live tunes every day of the week. There are free line and country dance lessons, and for nights when a band isn't booked, you can always show off your chops by stepping on stage for karaoke (every Wednesday evening).

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Country music-loving Seattleites flock to this happening Green Lake venue that's known for its live music scene and hoppin' dance floor.

Corinne's expert tip: Karaoke Wednesdays enliven the venue each week. Fuel up beforehand with a coffee from nearby Retreat, a cocktail at Shelter or a cozy meal at Latona Pub.

Read more about Little Red Hen →


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Downtown

A popular restaurant by day, the Alibi Room really comes alive at night. Owned by a group of filmmakers, the club works to support independent films and their creators, by fostering an artistic dialogue among patrons and making scripts available for public perusal. If that's a bit heavy for you, just come and dance to the mixed rhythms of rotating DJs or enjoy one of their specialty vodka drinks. You'll also find live music from time to time, along with a great wine list and tasty appetizers. A real local favorite, Alibi plays host to everyone from the eccentric to the street smart.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Alibi Room is a tucked-away hot spot in Pike Place Market where basement beats pump and the dance floor quickly fills on weekend nights.

John's expert tip: Located in a historic brick building in Pike Place Market, the Alibi Room by day comes off as rustic with all-exposed brick and beams plus vintage hardwood floors. But don't be fooled; at night the subterranean club booms with beats. (Before getting your dance on, grab dinner upstairs; think brick-oven pizzas, including a vegan option.)

Read more about Alibi Room →


Three nightlife experiences in one, Trinity caters to those clubgoers always looking for something new. Guests must be 18-plus to enter and 21-plus to drink. The most action can be found in the Main Room, which features a spacious dance floor, state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems and a DJ booth constructed from a pulpit. Relax with a cocktail and tasty dim sum or sushi in the elegant, scarlet-hued Card Room, and then surrender yourself to the beat in the ultra-trendy, futuristically-lit Blue Room. The club attracts top talent from across the country and beyond, folks who spin a fresh mix of Top 40, hip-hop, house and more. So go ahead and get your dance on in Pioneer Square.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Trinity Nightclub spices things up with varied spaces offering eclectic, happenin' vibes. Find music genres from hip-hop to house.

John's expert tip: Acknowledged by many scenesters as the best club in Seattle, Trinity's name has a Goth tinge to it. But on the dance floor genres blend fluidly, with a slate of national and international DJs doling out house, trance, break beats and jungle, among other styles. Advance tickets are available as well as those sold at the door. (Advance ticket holders don't wait in the general admission line.)

Read more about Trinity Nightclub →


In previous years, this Capitol Hill club was one of Seattle's best venues for dancing, and although the competition has increased, a recently remodeled Neighbours still offers a good time and has loyal fans. Thanks to a large dance floor (the club can reach a capacity of 1,000-plus), guests show off their moves with abandon, shaking and gyrating to everything from techno and disco to R&B and even those pop tunes that so many seem to disavow yet love nonetheless. Everyone's welcome, and you're certain to see a wide variety of patrons. After all, fun has no boundaries. Check out special events from drag shows to dance nights fueled by global beats.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: Neighbours, one of the Seattle's longest-running LGBTQ nightspots, draws patrons from near and far to its lively dance floor.

John's expert tip: Neighbours has plenty of competition nowadays, but it is still popular as one of Seattle's oldest LGBTQ nightspots, having opened on Labor Day weekend in 1983. Street parking or paid parking can be found across Broadway or in the Seattle Community College lot.

Read more about Neighbours →


1
Eastlake
LoFi
Photo courtesy of LoFi

This funky treasure of a venue on Eastlake is a favorite hot spot for those who simply love to dance. The happening club hosts everything from DJ nights to rap, indie rock and improv acts, showcasing both national and international talents. The space features two rooms and two bars, both with separate sound systems. There is also a small room adjacent to the front bar which boasts cozy seating and a few vintage arcade games. This 21-and-over venue hosts highly popular soul nights that draw loyal fans, among other themed evenings that range from 90s dance parties to hip-hop extravaganzas.

Recommended for Dance Clubs because: This popular Eastlake dance mecca hosts everything from DJ nights to rap, indie rock and improv acts.

Corinne's expert tip: Check the venue's social media pages to learn about events, like a recent DJ night spotlighting funk, house, boogie, disco, hip hop and more.

Read more about LoFi →


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Meet Corinne Whiting

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's...  More About Corinne

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