Remember when nightclubs used to play music that actually made you want to do more than find a quiet corner, bitch all night about the door man or make fun of that obnoxious couple at the bar? I'm not talking about that endlessly droning crap you're supposed to think is cool, or lame radio versions of songs you could program yourself. Think hip-shaking, head-bobbing stuff that makes you want to grab your friend, put the drinks down (for a sec) and act a little silly.
South Beach - Gay boys carp about the monopoly Charles Armstrong has over their nightlife choices. But the veteran club owner's crown jewel, located at the end of Pacific St., is hard to beat at full shine. There's so much happening under the giant disco ball, you may find yourself in a dance-induced daze. Lasers criss-cross above your head. Thundering remixes call for hands in the air. Sexy girls and chiseled boys gyrate and grind on speaker boxes. And the club's liquid-ice jets blast clouds of chilly smoke once an hour, instantly dropping the temperature by 20 degrees. Just watch out for, or maybe welcome, mystery hands on your ass.
Venue - Despite the unimaginative name this downtown club, located on Main, offers a diverse sampling of sounds. Depending on what night you pop in, expect to hear Latin music, hip-hop, R&B, house and the occasional live (good) band. The dance floor is spacious, and the entire place clocks in at a whopping 11,000 square feet. Plenty of room, to steer clear of the douchebags. They're inevitable by(rebounding)products of club culture, despite Venue's "high standards for behavior and attire." Puh-leeze.
Pandora - Hip-hop and top 40 are anchors on the small but crowded dance floor at this posh lounge, located on the quickly rebounding Washington Ave. in the Heights. The crowd is diverse and not too pretentious, and there are a few places to rest your aching legs if the music doesn't move you. But don't arrive too late. A steady line isn't unusual around midnight.
Escobar - There's no in-between with Midtown. Depending on who you ask, it's Houston's glittering nightlife epicenter or a frustrating maze of drunken assholes and badly dressed skanks. (Stay out of the street when you're drunk, people.) Escobar isn't completely devoid of those types, but it's hard to deny a dance floor packed with pretty people who love house music and hip-hop.
Club Roxy - Yeah, it's been around since 1994. In club years that's ... well, longer than almost anywhere. The crowd can be a little skeezy. And sweaty. But big crowds still flock to the Roxy's sizable dance floor, which quakes with the sounds of hip-hop, house and Latin grooves. A-list hip-hop acts and touring DJs also help keep the vibes fresh.