We won't lie to you: Seattle is not a dancing city. The official Seattle Dance Move is a barely perceptible head bob with (if you're lucky) a light sway from side to side. But to conclude that no one dances in Seattle would be flat-out wrong. People DO dance in Seattle! Wildly! With passion! They just don't do it everywhere. To help you understand that this city isn't totally stiff, here's a list of Seattle's favorite dance spots.
Note: This is a very abridged list. It leaves out plenty of bars that have dance floors. Visit The Stranger's online dance events calendar for the city's best, up-to-date list of Seattle dance nights.
The best dance night in town isn't on Friday or Saturday, but Sunday "church" at Flammable. While most of old Seattle is dead, Re-bar's Flammable keeps on flaming. It's been running for more than 20 years, making it the longest-running house-music night on the West Coast. The party, started by DJ Brian Lyons in 1994, specializes in soulful, groovy, and deep house. The crowd is mixed and fun, and it's the best place to be on a three-day weekend. CB
Do you watch my favorite HBO series, High Maintenance? Do you remember that episode where the pot-smoking father and his adult daughter go to a day rave? Do you wish you could go to a day rave? Well, you can! Daybreaker is a monthly "early morning dance movement" that starts off with an hour of yoga and then two hours of nonstop sober dancing, jumping, and half-hearted shaking to EDM adjacent music. It's hosted in different locations throughout the city and attended by techies and dopamine enthusiasts alike. The party ends with enough time for you to slip off your day-glo yoga pants, slide back into your black yoga pants, and make that 10 a.m. meeting on time. JK
Emo is back. It's true. Anecdotal evidence: I was walking through a street festival in Minneapolis last summer when I realized all the teen street bands were playing emo covers. All of them! How? They hit puberty post-MySpace! Or take a look at the crazy popularity of Emo Nite, a Los Angeles–born touring dance party that plays emo hits from the 1990s, 2000s, and today. The party has hosted more than 150,000 sad kids since it started a few years ago, and when it tours through Seattle (usually to rock venue Chop Suey), sad boys go all-out. Black clothes. Drunk tears. Embarrassing earnestness. It's all there. CB
Though it may not look like it, Seattle has got soul. And lots of it. Every second Saturday, Lo-Fi hosts Emerald City Soul Club, a collective of DJs who spin the hottest and most soulful 45s your little heart can stand. Playing rarities and some popular stuff too, there are two rooms to double your groove. They even have talcum on the floor like they used to in the olden days—at least, that's what I heard they used to do! Come through and you might even catch Stranger staffer Mike Nipper on deck. JK
The original Cumbiatón was founded in Los Angeles and has now made its way to Seattle! This dance party for womxn of color, people of color, and LGBTQ communities takes place quarterly at Club Sur in Sodo. Centering on femme DJs representing cities from all along the West Coast, the music at Cumbiatón pays homage to the AfroLatinx roots of Latin American music. Show up in something sparkly and stretchy so you can hit every move with ease, becoming the disco ball itself. JK
We're a city full of Italo Disco devotees. The campy and confusing Italian music genre from the 1970s and '80s recently returned with a vengeance. Fortunately for Seattle, we have a setting that's perfect for Italo Disco's compulsively danceable "hits": the colorful, nostalgic queer bar Pony. The bar (open to everyone minus jerks and woo girls) probably slips in an Italo track a couple times every day, but the Medical Rx Night is the best time to find sweaty bar queens flailing their arms and pretending to be Armie Hammer twirling Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name. CB
Night Crush is so fucking important! It's a recurring dance party at Re-bar that centers and provides a safe space for QTPOC, people of varying abilities, and all bodies. Every first Saturday, you're guaranteed a spot to commune with other people in queer communities of color and sweat your face off on the dance floor to throwbacks, hiphop, and other hot tunes. The night always features DJs, go-go dancers, and live performers to make the experience all the more memorable—even if you have to wait in that long line that wraps around the building to get in. JK
Ask a punk
While single-family homes are disappearing from select Seattle neighborhoods, there are still houses all over this city, which means there are still house parties. And if you really want to see people cut a rug, you should get to a house show. But know that moshing on carpet is a special privilege, granted only to those who know someone who doesn't care if their living room is turned into a pit. So make some friends and go thrash in Wedgwood. CB