What’s dance music without a venue to truly experience it? While we can love EDM just as much in our headphones or in our homes, you will not get the full impact of the music or the culture at your computer. This life needs to be lived in the club, with bass and beats hitting you from all sides. That is inescapable. And if you’re hitting up a wack club, what are you really doing to yourself?
The question is, what makes a good club? Is it the fact that its considered “hot?” Do they have a great line-up on the regular? Is it the sound system? Or is it some weird x-factor that can’t be easily explained. We looked at all of these factor in bringing you the best clubs in America right now. From coast to coast, huge megaclubs to smaller, more intimate spots, these are the venues that will give you the best bang for your buck.
Marquee – Las Vegas, NV
Marquee, situated in The Cosmopolitan hotel, is a great example of Las Vegas night life. Not only does it boast resident DJs like Kaskade, Benny Benassi, and Erick Morillo, it features three rooms of sound (including one strictly for hip-hop), an outside pool area, and much more. If you take a few pointers” try to hit Marquee on Mondays, be prepared to walk up and down loads of stairs, get in good with some of the hosts for deals”you’ll be set for a glorious night out at one of the Strip’s premiere clubs.
Board Room – Chicago, IL
This might seem like an odd choice. It’s tiny, and most Chicago residents probably haven’t had the pleasure of visiting. But Board Room is one of America’s swankiest club. It has a fleet of white cars (including Hummers, Lamborghinis, Ferarris, and Porches) to pick up and drop off valued guests. The sound is marvelous. Everyone working, from the bouncers to the bartenders, is attractive. When we went there, as a guest of DJ White Shadow (of Lady Gaga fame), there was a man in a bear suit dressed in a suit (you read that right) and a marching band came through in full gear to play along with the music at one point. Behind the bar, curtains opened up to reveal girls behind glass dancing under showers. A few weeks later, Zac Efron was treated to a $100,000 bottle of champagne by a complete stranger. Because this place is so ridiculous, they keep $100,000 bottles of champagne on ice.
Cielo – New York, NY
Funktion One goes a long way. At Nicolas Matar’s Cielo, the sound and ambiance are truly the focus. With a rather small and quaint size located in NYC’s meatpacking district, Cielo offers a true clubber’s delight. With lineups privileging the deeper and techier side of EDM, Cielo offers the perfect environment to follow the DJ down a rabbithole.
Story – Miami, FL
Story, one of Miami’s most luxurious clubs, wins not only for its supreme Infinite Hybrid sound system or its huge lineup of DJs (which regularly includes Calvin Harris, Wolfgang Gartner, and Tiesto), but also for its ambiance. One of the many kudos you’ll hear is for the layout of the massive club”which works brilliantly, even when there are loads of people rushing through. Story also provides a spectacular light show, with a perfect batch of LED lights, TVs, and other touches that entertain almost as much as the DJs do. A true destination spot if you’re heading out to Miami.
Pacha – New York, NY
Until recently, Pacha had been unchallenged in NYC’s superclub scene. Despite Marquee’s recent re-opening, Output’s opening, and Space NYC’s pending opening, Pacha has remained one of the best, not just in the city but in the U.S. With a crisp sound system, personable and competent staff (which is an oft-forgotten part about nightlife), stellar lineups, and reasonable location, Pacha remains the go to for tri-state ravers. Whether it’s Hardwell dropping his big room bangers, Nicole Moudaber showcasing a great techno selection, or even Feed Me dropping his snarling electro, the energy at Pacha is unmatched. The NYC club scene is often painted with a shallow and “too-cool-for-school” attitude, and that’s not incorrect. However, at Pacha it’s about the music. Yes, Pacha has issues: They don’t enforce any dress code, there is VIP bottle service, and we’ve definitely seen confetti there. Yet, if you’re there for the music, few clubs match it.
XS – Las Vegas, NV
Encore’s XS, which is part of the Wynn dynasty, is one of those clubs dreams are made of. Pools, beautiful people, exquisite light shows, and some of the best DJs in the land have kept XS at the top of the heap for the last five years. This is a destination spot, where you can get lost in the sea of club-goers. Yet, the decadent layout and some of the finest DJs in the land (including acts like Knife Party, Diplo, Madeon, Zeds Dead, Porter Robinson, and many more) providing the sounds, make it well-worth the struggle.
U Street Music Hall – Washington, DC
While only three-years-old, and limited to a 500-person capacity, U Street Music Hall in DC packs quite a punch. One of the keys to the U Hall is the fact that it is owned and operated by DJs, not a promoter. Instead of looking to squeeze the most money out of the patrons, they’re trying to pack the highest quality DJs, and give attendees the most bang for their buck. Expect to hear the best in trap, moombahton, house, and so much more.
The Avalon Los Angeles, CA
If you’re looking for EDM in Los Angeles, Avalon is the spot to be. Yeah, maybe we’re not the first ones to say it, but that’s because Control Fridays have been dominating the weekend activities of L.A. locals for years and with the line hasn’t stopped stretching around the block since this landmark opened in 1927. The dance floor is huge and always gets packed, the sound is always on point, and even though you might spend half a paycheck on a Red Bull and vodka, it’s after-hours upstairs club will make the experience well worth the scratch.
Webster Hall – New York, NY
Now, we know what you’re thinking: That old joint? That 126-year-old joint? Yes, that one. We already told you about the madness that is Alex English’s Girls & Boys night, but that’s not even all of it. From Modestep on a Wednesday night or the weekly ’80s Night on Sundays, Webster is not going to be tied down or pigeonholed. At many of the country’s top clubs, the regular move is sticking to one style. And while we don’t fault those clubs for rocking to what they know best, variety is the spice of life. Webster brings exactly that. Just last month, for example, Webster’s downstairs area/tattoo parlor known as The Studio brought out band Fall Out Boy to play to a soldout crowd before morphing into the weekly BASSment Saturdays, one of the finest bass-centric nights in the tri-state area. Just upstairs from there are multiple bars and dancefloors, and of course the in-house gourmet pizza. With a lax, music-first attitude, no one goes to Webster Hall to keep up appearances, only to rave and jam out.
Beta Nightclub – Denver, CO
When it comes to dance music clubs in the Denver area, Beta is the destination for DJs and ravers to hit. It has been called the best club in the country by DJ Mag, as well as by many who have attended. Their selection of DJs is top-notch, with everyone from Eric Prydz and Mat Zo to Claude von Stroke and Doctor P being a part of the huge list of DJs who get booked at Beta on a regular basis. Their Funktion One sound system is one of the best in America, and if you want to take a breather, you can always hit the Beatport Lounge area, where the sounds are chill and the vibe is right.
If you have any to add to the list, feel free to comment!!