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There are probably about as many places that feature live music as there are Starbucks in this town. Dance clubs are a different story. Seattle's got something of a reputation for its unwillingness to loosen up and get down--an unfair assessment, we say. If you're looking for a dance party, there are plenty of places to find it. Here's a list of our 10 favorite venues to dance the night away. (After the number one spot, the runners0-up are in no particular order).
It's a Capitol Hill newcomer, but Q on Broadway has quickly established itself as one of the city's hottest dance destinations. Formerly a garage, Q is now a Vegas-quality venue with high ceilings, polished floors, neon lighting, an upstairs lounge, a huge white bar, four disco balls, two DJ booths (live DJs spin six nights a week), and a thumping sound system. Quirks include unisex bathrooms and a walnut-paneled bourbon bar. The spot's so luxe, in September of 2012 Erykah Badu chose to host her Decibel Festival afterparty here.
This two-level club features multiple dance floors and lounge areas, divided by musical genres (primarily hip-hop and techno). At Trinity, the bartenders serve stiff drinks, the packed dance floor smells of sweat and cologne, and on many weekends, visiting pop acts--Black Eyed Peas, Jay Sean--host their after-parties here. Come last call, patrons share sausages and sauerkraut in the light of night at the hot dog cart, conveniently located around the corner.
Spinning headstands? Airswipes? Downrocks? Elbow Glides? Flares? Poplocks? On Tuesday night's Stop Biting, Eastlake's Lo-Fi Performance Gallery's got 'em. Early in the week, urbanites and hipsters of every make and model crowd the labyrinthine space for the best in old school hip-hop, new school socializing, and, of course, break dancing. On other evenings, this warehouse-style venue is true to the second half of its name, showcasing spoken word performances, video installation, dance combos, jazz trios, and other varieties of artful entertainment.
7. R Place
This three-story dance club attracts gay men, straight women, and everything in between. At R Place, your best bet is to attend the wildly popular ASS! (Amateur Strip Show) on Thursday nights; dance to Top-40 hits, watch hot guys work the pole, or, if you think you have what it takes, compete alongside them to win $200.
Boom Jinx, Armin van Burren, Lady GaGa--it's evident by the names that have graced the Last Supper Club with live performances that the venue is a level above others in the city's limited club scene. Pioneer Square's two-story bar offers a solid DJ lineup, seizure-inducing techno music, and potent cocktails that draw huge weekend crowds, despite the pesky cover charges. Upon entering, we're accosted by the smell of hair spray, cologne, and sweat. Go-go dancers are writhing atop platforms in their underwear, bros are buying rounds of shots, and girls are alternating between sipping cocktails, dancing with friends, and reapplying their lip gloss. Patrons scream at each other to be heard over the frighteningly loud music. In other words, it's as close to a nightlife scene as you're going to get in hipster-ridden Seattle.
If ever there was an oldie-but-goodie, it's Re-bar. While other Seattle nightspots attempt to lure in the city's nouveau cosmo crowd with glossy fronts and pricey cocktails, Re-bar's got a faithful following hooked to its understated charms. And insiders know that the venue has nurtured some of Seattle's edgier performing talents, from Northwest drag kings to the off-off-off Broadway version of Hedwig and her Angry Inch. Re-bar keeps kicking with all manner of theatrical and music events, almost all of them low-cost and hi-fun.
Many regard Neighbours, Broadway's ever-popular gay bar, as a hook-up spot. But whether you approach Neighbours as a pick-up joint or a free-for-all dance party is your business. Either way, you're going to wind up in the middle of one of Seattle's largest and most popular clubs with a zillion sweaty bodies moving to the beat of New Wave and pop hits. On Fridays and Saturdays, the club lets the bodies go on moving to those hits until 4 a.m.
3. Baltic Room
Once a piano bar, the small and idiosyncratic Baltic Room sits on the slope where Pine meets downtown, an ideal stop during an evening of clubbing, if not the only destination. The club frequently hosts such touring electronic artists as Carl Craig and DBridge, and local talent can be found and heard spinning almost every night of the week on regular theme nights like DNB Tuesdays, What The Funk Wednesdays, and 1990Now.
Had Sex and the City been set in Seattle, Carrie Bradshaw and her girls would have chosen Pnk Ultra Lounge as their cosmo-swilling hot spot. The upscale establishment is soaked in pretty pink lights, pop music, and saccharine cocktails. There's even a bar in the women's bathroom. But what really makes Pnk fabulous is its prime location: on the top floor of Pacific Place, overlooking downtown, so that you can rise--and dance--above the pains of tourists and traffic.
Novices have a hell of a time finding Havana. The beloved Capitol Hill gem is hidden in an old brick building, and the directions on its website read like a text message from a friend who's already slurped down a few: "Stand in front of Caffé Vita, walk into the parking lot directly across the street, then look for the black awning." But Havana is worth finding. It's as unpretentious as a dance club gets--you can get away with wearing a ragged sweatshirt as easily as you would a sequined dress, and sipping a beer is as acceptable as throwing back tequila shots. Your best bet is to hit the club on a Thursday, when the DJs spin both rare and popular soul. Just be prepared for the drunk girls to start swaying and singing along when the Supremes' "Can't Hurry Love" comes on.