Living in the city can be tough. So it's only natural that every five days or so, we ease the stress of work/school/relationships/sobriety by indulging in the hedonistic pleasures of the night life. Only when you're in the perfect night club (where the music is pumping, the Heineken is abundant, and the beautiful people are crowding the dance floor) can that $35 traffic ticket vanish into oblivion. In fact, there are times when the only thing that can make the daily trials of cosmopolitan existence worthwhile is the chance to let it all go with a night of frivolous abandon and indulgence.

Sometimes, however, this is more easily fantasized about than accomplished. If you are relatively new to a big city (or if you have little night club experience), the mere thought of navigating the maze of clubs can be enough to bring on a migraine. Fear not, nightlife novices, for after reading this SYW, you will be equipped with the information you need to rapidly seek out and conquer the perfect night club, rave, or whatever your choice of nighttime locale may be. A club that will help you forget your problems, ease your pain, and very possibly have you dancing on the tables while your adoring fans line up at the bar to buy you drinks. We take this chance to remind you to ALWAYS wear your underwear to a night club.


The toughest part about choosing a regular watering hole is finding out what your options are. Many cities are quite strict about shutting down establishments that serve alcohol at 2:00 a.m. on the nose, and many clubs quit serving and begin clearing people out as early as 1:45. With such limited time, the last thing you need is to waste your time driving back and forth across town without a specific idea of what you're looking for.

So to find a good club, you must first familiarize yourself with different parts of your city: the various neighborhoods and the type of scenes they offer. See, clubs tend to reflect the neighborhood they're in. So in an upscale neighborhood, you'll find upscale clubs. In a scummy neighborhood, you'll find scummy clubs. In a college neighborhood, you'll find college clubs. In a gay neighborhood, you'll find gay clubs. In a neighborhood of a predominant ethnicity, you'll find clubs with similar music and clientele. So to start out, decide what sort of atmosphere you are looking for, and concentrate on the corresponding area of town.

Naturally, this is only a basic, basic guideline. After all, there's no "hip-hop" neighborhood, or "dance" neighborhood. For those, you usually have to go into "the city." Yeah, yeah, we know . . . "the city" is kinda general. But most of us recognize what is meant by "the city": it means the central area where things are happening. In Philadelphia, it would be Center City. In New York, it would be Manhattan. In L.A., it would be West Hollywood. If you're not sure what your equivalent of "the city" is, then it means that 1) you already live there, or 2) you're so far away from one, that you shouldn't worry about it. If you fall under option 1, then keep reading. If you fall under option 2, then go buy some beer from your local 7-11 and pray that you eventually move to a bigger town.

Other potential sources for surveying the offerings of any metropolis are the free weekly papers (every city has one). As their title suggests, they are free. These papers typically list almost all of the city's clubs, what the offerings are for each night of the week, their addresses, phone numbers and possibly a brief review. These weeklies are your most valuable assets in choosing a night club. They will tell you whether there is a cover charge, if there are any deals (e.g., Ladies Night), and if there are any special events planned (e.g., a famous D.J. or singer planning to perform). Listed below are the free weeklies for some major US cities:

In addition, you can pick up some pointers by simply talking to friends with similar tastes, or surf some relevant web sites like or All of these sources are fairly reliable when it comes to finding out about location, cover charge, type of music and entertainment and dress code. Keep in mind that the larger clubs in touristy areas of town are typically more crowded, less selective at the door, and not as creative when it comes to music. So the most obvious spots, while a good place to start out, probably won't be your regular hangouts. A bit of investigation will reward you with a more satisfying night. On the other hand, if you are in the mood for more than a little cheese, head to the K-Mart of clubs and prepare for a good laugh.