We’ve all been there: you’re looking for a night out on the town, where you can let loose and bust a move without judgment. You can’t justify spending $30 club cover to be surrounded by people who spend an entire week’s paycheck on VIP bottle service. Yet, you’re also needing a breath of fresh air from your neighborhood bar that’s always the secure fallback.

You can’t say you’ve fully experience Chicago nightlife without checking out the funky dance scene. After living in the Windy City for four years, my love for deep house, hip-hop, and 90s classics took me all over town. Lucky for you, I’ve done the trial and error for you. Here are the some of best Chicago bars with a killer dance floor that won’t break your wallet.

1. Beauty Bar

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PC: Beauty Bar Chicago photography

Neighborhood: Wicker Park

Playlist: MIA, Spice Girls, Smashmouth, Beyonce, Klingade

Some of my favorite memories in college were made at this place. Beauty Bar is a gem in Wicker Park, well worth the short commute from downtown Chicago. The place is decked out like a retro beauty parlor with pink sparkly walls and old-school hair-dryers. The dance floor is equipped with a massive disco ball and always a live DJ. People are always fun yet chill, and I never had a problem with creepy guys. If you get tired from dancing, you can also have a manicure and martini for $15!

There is sometimes a cover between $5-$7 dollars, depending on the night (get there before midnight. The line is always super long). If you follow them on Instagram or facebook, you can see specific events they have (80s night, 90s night, Beyoncé night). Slay.

2. Bar Deville

Neighborhood: Wicker Park

Playlist: Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre, Wu-Tang, Drake

If you’re a fan of old-school hip-hop, you have to hit up Bar Deville. Walking in the place feels like you’re stepping into a house party in a madmen inspired living room. The place has a full bar, pool table, cushion chairs and couches, and a small dance floor surrounded by exposed brick. It’s one of those places you end dancing and meeting new people, and then somehow end up having a heart-to-heart with a complete stranger.

Make sure to check out the photo booth when you are here, and get there around 11:30 p.m. or midnight since they start to close up around 1:40 a.m.

3. Spy Bar

Neighborhood: River North

Playlist: Live DJs, varies by night

Ah, the place I celebrated my 21st birthday. And Halloween. And many other nights. Spy Bar is the place to be if you want some of the best house music in the city. Honestly the DJs always kill it at this underground speak-easy. However, Spy Bar isn’t for everyone. It’s pretty intense for some and can feel somewhat like a club sometimes. It’s a place you go for certain occasions, and best with 3 or more people.

There’s often cover here ($20, yikes), but if you RSVP online and get there before midnight, it’s free.

4. The Rec Room

Neighborhood: River North

Playlist: top 40s

The rec room is the perfect compromise when you want to go somewhere funky but want to listen to all your favorite jams. The bar is decorated in eclectic, vintage decorations, with a lounge upstairs and a dance floor downstairs. They have a live DJ, and it often feels like a basement party in the 90s, but with current hits. It’s a safe bet that you’ll find something to dance to here, and the crowd is always full of energy, looking for a good time.

5. East Room12189550_10208312385952076_6220521120605175054_n

Neighborhood: Logan Square

Playlist: Live DJs, whose name you probably can’t pronounce

East Room is that type of place that when you get there you’re like “uh, are you sure this is it?” Most people walk past this place and have no idea the magic that’s inside. There’s no shining bright sign that says “East Room”, only a small side door next to a mural that takes up the entire side of a building. Once inside, East Room is casual and chic, with a large dance floor, bar, seating area, and even the infamous “elevator room”. It’s super fun to go with a group of people to East Room, but even if not, you’ll be sure to meet many people on the dance floor.

6. The Owl

Neighborhood: Wicker Park

Playlist: Michael Jackson, Lipps Inc, Moby

You really can’t go wrong with a night out at The Owl. The funk music always brings in the warmest crowd, and this bar never fails to bring the feel-good vibes. The place is decorated with various owl decorations, with a live DJ and small, intimate dance floor in the back. Even that one person in the group that says they hate to dance will end up dancing by the end of the night. The Owl is most likely the type of place you’ll get into a friendly dance off with someone, and they’ll become your new best friend. It’s best to come here if you want a very late night out, and are looking to meet a few new friends. Be prepared, since sometimes the lines are long.

Wicker Park and Logan Square takes the win for the hippest bars to dance in Chicago, I must say. However, there are several other hidden gems throughout the city that probably didn’t make the list.

Comment below: What places in Chicago would you recommend for dancing and why?

Are you feeling ready to try any of these places?

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