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The 8 Best Dance Parties In Chicago

By Staff in Best Of on Jan 28, 2015 7:00PM

Let's face it, the daily trials and tribulations of life can weigh even the most optimistic person down. Adulting is hard, and sometimes you just gotta let loose and cut a rug. Throw back a few drinks, get up on the dance floor and shimmy and shake like no one is watching. Thankfully we live in a city with a bevy of bars, clubs and venues that host some truly excellent parties where you can spend the night dancing your cares away.

Below are our favorite dance parties across the city, the places we go to escape and feel the music and rhythm in our soul. As always, feel free to discuss and debate in the comments and let us know any great spots to check out.

(Soul Summit/Photo: Facebook)

Soul Summit at Double Door
There are a lot of reasons that Soul Summit is worth going to at least once in a Chicagoan’s relative youth. You’re sure to have a time there, not necessarily a good time and perhaps not even one that you’ll remember. You will, however, dance. Soul Summit celebrates early soul music with a sprawling dance party that consumes Double Door on the third Saturday of every month. The music has a way of forcing you to dance, if only to wiggle out from the tangle of sweating bodies just for a moment of relief. It’s a capitol for people watching in Chicago: there’s usually someone puking out front and sleazes talking to a girl who’s waiting for her boyfriend to return with her vodka-cranberry. If you keep your expectations reasonable and go with the right crowd, I’m sure you’ll have fun. It’s a free event and the music is always good. Dance your heart out and avoid the bathroom if you can. — Erika Kubick

Soul Summit is located at Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Bump & Grindcore
Many moons ago I went to a few parties at the dearly departed Bonny’s, where the dance floor was actually packed with bodies of all kind dancing to some of the smoothest R&B, pop and hip hop jams of the ‘90s. It was messy, sweaty and fun. Sadly Bonny’s is no longer, but those fine folks are now some of the brains behind Bump & Grindcore. Now in its third year at Beauty Bar, the evening has evolved into themed nights with DJs, photo booths and even some burlesque thrown in the mix. Evenings have included a tribute to Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake vs. The Dream, Beyonce and this past winter Ludacrismas. You’ll hear plenty of music from the theme artist, along with music they influence or were influenced by. And while the hits will get you on the floor, choice deeper cuts will keep you there. This isn’t a stand against the wall event, make sure to wear your dancing shoes because people get down at Bump & Grindcore. Their next event, Jan. 30, is a night of West Coast rap with a singalong to “Regulate” and “It Was A Good Day” at midnight. And usually there is no cover during certain hours and some hosted beer to boot. Keep tabs on their Facebook page and get ready to bump and grind your cares away. — Lisa White

Bump & Grindcore is located at Beauty Bar, 1444 W. Chicago Ave.

Living on Video at Neo
Every Thursday, Neo hosts an '80’s themed dance party that celebrates the best of new wave music. This isn’t the type of '80’s party where you would sport an on-the-side pony tail and a sweatshirt with the shoulders cut off. Living on Video is about wearing all black and dancing grimly in the dark with your favorite angst-ridden mall goth friends. Sometimes there is a theme, like a Depeche Mode tribute, other times it’s more general than that and the music sways between The Smiths and New Order. Either way, it’s my favorite place to dance. Check out the Facebook event page for the password. It will get you in free before 11 p.m.— Erika Kubick

Living on Video is located at Neo, 2350 N. Clark St.

(Porn and Chicken/Photo: Facebook)

Porn and Chicken
After five years and numerous nods as the best weekly party in Chicago, it’s hard to think of something that hasn’t already been written about Porn and Chicken. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s not hard to explain: take one part pulsing electronic music, one part complimentary chicken wings, one part raw pornography, one part Wicker Park nightlife and there it is. The concept might raise eyebrows but as someone who has spent many late nights in attendance, I can assure you it’s definitely not a boring way to spend a Monday night. One thing that should be noted: If you’re a shier dancer or don’t have the endurance for hours and hours on the floor, there are PLENTY of unholy distractions at this party including talented resident DJs Orville Kline and Phives, combustible MC Dom Brown, an array of dancers, an impressive LED wall and not to mention the, um, graphic entertainment played all night on the club’s screens.— Katie Karpowicz

Porn and Chicken is located at Evil Olive, 1551 W. Division St.

Soft Leather
One Saturday a month at East Room you can take your kinks out of the bedroom and onto the dance floor. Head to the back room where fellow freaks come out to get down to Health Goth-y beats, footwork tracks and deep drone from the likes of DEATHFACE, Teen Witch Fan Club and others. The lineup varies each month, but one thing is sure: you’ll dance till you sweat (or till you die, as the promos often state). Anything goes at Soft Leather, and there are no guidelines for dress code, dance moves or sexual orientation (or lack thereof). Everything and anything is encouraged especially if it’s weird. There’s no cover but get there early to avoid the lines. — Carrie Laski

Soft Leather is located at East Room, 2828 W. Medill Ave.

(Burly/Photo: Facebook)

Burly bills itself as a "monthly night of music and drink in Logan Square for queer, gay, lesbian, and otherwise funky and/or bearded individuals," but they are quick to point out that beards and/or burliness are not required. Anything goes at Burly as long as you let loose and enjoy yourself. Burly started in 2012 and has grown over the years, with a different theme each month and sometimes live performances mixed in as well, from drag shows to sets by rapper Big Dipper. It's always free and there are always drink specials during the party. Burly does love a bit of camp, January's theme was an ode to birthday gal Dolly Parton with country music sets, and you'll see some of the dance floor dressed for the occasion. While others are dressed down and just ready to dance. The theme next month is Rihanna vs. Riot Riot Grrrl so be ready to pogo to some Bikini Kill before shimmying to some top 40 pop. — Lisa White

Burly is located at The Burlington, 3425 W. Fullerton Ave.

Dance Dance Party Party
Been wanting a place to wear your paw-print leggings and mismatched sparkly leotard circa 1995? Are you a lady who just wants to move away from the reach of roaming male hands and beer breath? Then Dance Dance Party Party is here here for you you (and you). This boy-less, booze-less space with its own poor girl’s disco ball makes a policy of no judgment, and you can take your turn DJ-ing if you’d like to set the soundtrack. So prepare yourself for all the fun you had at a slumber party when you were ten before the party split into factions and things got weird around the Ouija board. The only bad kind of dancing here is no dancing, soul sisters. — Melissa Wiley

Dance Dance Party Party is located at Perceptual Motion Dance Studio, 4057 N. Damen Ave.

Hideout Dance Party
Every Saturday night at midnight, you can show up at The Hideout’s door and they’ll welcome you with a good ol’ sweaty dance party. The theme changes from week to week, from the long running Chances Dances series that encourages LGBTIQ cliques to come together, to one-offs like this coming Valentines Day’s Yo Cupid! with DJs Andrea Jablonski and Mitch Cocanig. And lest we forget the monthly Life During Wartime residency (DJs Bald Eagle and Mother Hubbard) that called The Hideout home until 2012. We made a lot of fun memories under their watch. $5 cover if you’re not already inside after seeing the evening’s scheduled show.— Michelle Meywes

The Hideout is located at 1354 W. Wabansia.