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Best Northside Dance Spots For Awkward Nerds

I am a vile human being. The vilest..est... I'm a shoe gazer. The guy at a show that stands in the back, not moving; a statue that wards lovers of dance, music, and fun far, far away.

I am a monster!

But! There is a place for me on the dance floor. Or rather, there are dance floors for me. Few and far between, but they exist, dance floors that'll put even my awkward, off-putting ways to rest. These, my friends, are them.

(credit: Windy City Soul Club's facebook)

Windy City Soul Club

The Empty Bottle
1035 N Western Ave
Chicago, Illinois

The DJs don't necessarily look like they know a lot about soul. Their mustaches*, while nice, don't exactly inspire confidence. It doesn't matter what they look like though, does it? It only matters what they play. This is where they shine. Their selection of soul is expansive, playing songs just about anyone would know the words to, but also, more often than not, playing less familiar tunes that are just as good. The songs, made by the masters of soul, are easy to dance to. Even for soul-less cretins like you and me.

Awkward rating: 2 drinks - you won't immediately find yourself in the groove, but it shouldn't take long to catch a decent beat even YOU can dance to, loser.

* Mustaches are not, by any means, a guarantee.

(credit: Late Bar's facebook/Allison King)

Late Bar

3534 West Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL

Late Bar makes new wave music feel, well, new. As opposed to old and outdated, a dead bastion of the 80s. Often filled with all sorts of colorful goths, punks and new wavers, Late Bar does a good job of catering to the, well, awkward loser. You. Me. And them. This atmosphere, like the lunch room table you sat at in high school, is your own kind of safe haven, which is probably what makes it so comfortable. Oh yeah, the great DJing of expertly cut songs from the 80s, that often go along with Sci Fi and Horror movies played on a projector in the back (it's quite wonderful to watch clips of the original Tron as you listen to bands like New Order), also make this place one of the best bars in the city to embarrass yourself in.

Make sure to check out their calendar so you can decide which DJ stylings might fit you best.

Awkward rating: 4 drinks - everyone's friendly, but the dyed hair and eye liner on genders of all kinds can take a little getting used to for you nerdy stiffs.

Beauty Bar

Beauty Bar

1444 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642

I wasn't too comfortable the first time I walked into Beauty Bar. The glitter on the walls, old-timey hair dryers (you know, the chairs you sit in that look like they're from a Sci Fi movie) and someone giving manicures in the corner all combined to scare the crap out of me. Once I got a few drinks in me and pulled the stick out of my butt though, I really warmed up to the place. The dance floor, which is located in its own room, is a relaxed little space with benches surrounding the walls. It's nice that it's separated from the bar, making it seem like a safe haven for your foolish dance moves.

Awkward rating: 6 drinks - once you have enough to drink to get over your crippling fears and anxieties, you'll find that Beauty Bar is one of the best place to dance at in the city.


1951 West Dickens Avenue
Chicago, IL
(773) 489-6457

Danny's exudes comfort. The wood walls, lit candles and small dance floor are almost deceptively comfortable, to be honest. Which is good when you're as uncomfortable and awkward as we are, buddy. This is a nice place to go to with some friends, where you can casually make a fool of yourself, and not really care.

Awkward rating: 1 drink - you're perfectly welcome to sit in the booth next to the dance floor if you don't wanna get your grove on. No pressure, broseph (or is it "broseph"?).



954 West Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657-4438

This one, admittedly, isn't the best fit for this list. If you love the night life, dancing, dance music, and are comfortable in social settings, this place is perfect for you. Very hip, little club. If, like me, you're a giant, nervous, gangly loser, Berlin will probably make you feel uncomfortable. But sometimes you need to feel uncomfortable. And, if there's any place to feel uncomfortable at, this would be a place. Something between a hip bar and a club, Berlin isn't the exaggerated dance scene you see in movies filmed in Eastern Europe where a bunch of kids dance to crazy techno. It is, in the least, more comfortable than that.

Awkward rating: 12 drinks - that's a lot, I know, but as much fun as you have, you might not want to remember this night.

White Mystery

White Mystery

White Mystery isn't a place, it's a band. A local brother-sister duo, they're the keepers and saviors of rock & roll in Chicago. Armed with a guitar and a drum kit, they keep things fast and loose, playing garage rock with delicate, psychedelic pizzazz. Yeah, I just used the word "pizzazz," what of it?

Pizzazz be damned, White Mystery is also easy to dance to. And their music tends to be so fun, you don't even think to worry about it. I mean, you can casually sway to them, tap a toe, or just totally spaz out and have an upright seizure. There are many choices.

While they do tour, they play in their hometown of Chicago constantly, so check them out sometime soon at a venue near you! Upcoming Chicago Shows: 10/09/11 at the Congress Theatre, 10/12 DJ gig at Liar's Club, 10/26 Live from Studio 10 - Radio, 10/28 The Double Door...

Awkward rating: 0 drinks - they're just that good. (But, by all means, feel free to have a drink.)

And there you have it! A whole host of places to embarrass yourself at. Just do me one favor: if you see me on the dance floor, don't laugh. I'm ever so sensitive.
Mason Johnson, CBS Local Chicago


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