5 Alternative "Clubs" To Regular Nightclubs

alternative clubs, alternative to clubbing, country dance clubs, gay clubs, places to go dancing, wedding crashing -

5 Alternative "Clubs" To Regular Nightclubs

I have a confession.  I don't go to regular clubs as often anymore because, honestly, it gets really repetitive.  I've gone so many times to experiment that I can't tell one night from the next.  By regular clubs, I mean the standard nightclubs with theme-park long lines, eardrum shattering loudness, wallet-burning cover, metal detectors, and asshole bouncer.

Yes, you know what I'm talking about.  In fact, right when I started creating my club dance program several years ago, I started going to several different venues just to get some variety and relief.  I love dancing to all kinds of music and stretching my comfort zones, so it was a no-brainer that I'd find myself in all sorts of strange situations.

Some places were misses, but most were hits.  Along the way, I even was able to film some of my exploits and put tiny snippets into the cut scenes on my videos.  Here are my favorite alternatives to going to regular clubs.

5. Summer/Outdoor Festivals

If there's one thing I like about being partially based in Toronto, it's the outdoor summer festivals.  There are so many, that I can't count them.  All of them have some form of live music, and the larger ones have really good live music.  Whether it be a food festival or a cultural celebration, they all have a party atmosphere.  

I can go to the Polish festival to try out Polka, the Brazilian festival to work on my Samba, the Jazz Street Festival to try some big band dancing, and Toronto Pride is like going to an outdoor rave for free.  Almost all the festivals will have a Latin stage, since salsa music is almost synonymous with "summer party".

4. Big Corporate Christmas Parties

Working for a big corporation is not my cup of tea, but I have to admit their annual Christmas or employee parties are like no other.  Either get invited to one, or as I've before a long time ago, just crash them ;)  With hundreds or sometimes, thousands of people coming and going, once the party is halfway in, if you're dressed the part, you can likely go in unnoticed.  The music tends to be so-so, but the dancing is relaxed like everyone attending, and there's usually free drinks and food.  As a comfort challenge, don't just sneak in, but socialize and even try to win some of the prizes.

3. Weddings

Weddings may be my favorite dance venue.  Everyone's relaxed and looking to have a good time, socializing is easy, there's endless drinks and food, and you're surrounded by friends and family (except for Italian and Indian weddings, where you might be surrounded by friends, family, and 350 people you don't know).  People who won't normally dance will dance (grooms, I'm looking at YOU), and funny enough, it's usually the older generation who get the party going.

Country  Bar

2. Country Bars

Country music isn't for everyone, but it's popular in North America for a reason.  If you've never been to one, it's not what you imagined.  It isn't a crowd of old people line dancing or shuffling the electric slide.  Rather, it's typically a younger, energetic crowd looking to have some good, old-fashioned fun.  Country music nightclubs are typically well-lit and colourful, compared to the dark, laser shows at your standard clubs, and the music tends not to be as loud so you can actually have a conversation on the dance floor.

With a good speaker and the bass turned up, the music is pumped enough to get a dance rhythm going, and most country nightclubs play a few rock hits to get the crowd going.  And, unlike how regular clubs are over-glamorized in films, what's crazy is that country bars sometimes often look a lot like Coyote Ugly - hot girls dancing on the bar, electric bull riding, and some rowdiness thrown in for good measure.  So relax, give up the grudge, put on a cowboy hat, and roll with it!

Gay district rainbow lights

1. Gay Clubs

Surprised?  Well, read on.  I'm not talking about all-male or all-female clubs, unless you're gay, but the ones with a decidedly mixed crowd.  The music is better (usually EDM and some disco) and the vibe is friendlier.  I'll let the secret out, and tell you that it's a great place to be for straight guys.  There are plenty of straight women hanging out with their gay friends, and they're less defensive than in regular clubs.  To top it off, some gay clubs even provide entertainment in the form of drag shows.  I can tell you that one of the best ways to start converation with the single ladies in the crowd is to jump on stage with a drag queen.  Sure your conversation will usually have someone interject with "are you straight or gay?", and you might have to brush off some guys, but then you'll have a better understanding of how many women feel like at clubs!

What I like most is the variety of music, and in turn, the variety of dance.  To cater to the all ages and the bride, the DJ will mix it up from slow songs to club tracks, from oldies rock to classic funk.  Maybe that's why I have a whole dance program for weddings.

Tip:  If you're getting married, don't leave the song selection in the hands of the DJ.  I have a huge list in the member's section that you should use.

Honourable Mentions

  • Student Parties/International Student Parties at a bar or club
  • Brazilian Clubs for Brazilian Funk
  • Hitting a local club when you're at a resort or travelling
  • Hitting a tourist club in Las Vegas for the sheer nonsense
  • Smaller House Music Venues (a little bias - I love House Dance)
  • Event after parties (e.g. Toronto Comic Con had a Cosplay after party)
  • Live Indie Music (Dance/Funk)
  • Salsa/Bachata/Reggaeton clubs
  • Kizomba, Zouk, and New Style Hustle practices (though scene can be small for these styles)