A party is to New Orleans what rain is to Seattle: it happens (almost) every day. And typically the party is set to a soundtrack of irresistible rhythms. From the jazz born here a century ago to the squeezebox of Cajun music and zydeco’s rubboards, plus the latest from rock, country, techno and hip-hop, “Dance all night, dance a little longer” is always the order of the Big Easy night.
Without question this city is renowned for its unique after-dark hotspot clubs. Those looking to mix old New Orleans ambiance with contemporary clubbing should make a conga line for Bourbon Heat, voted the Best New Nightclub in 2012 and Best Dance Club in 2013. Shaping the downstairs fun are contemporary bars, pulsating music, TVs for sports games, and a romantic French Quarter courtyard. But the spacious upstairs is where the late-night action shifts into overdrive thanks to a large dance floor, video monitors, sexy lighting and light shows, an expansive bar, VIP areas for bottle service, plus a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street from which to check out the nightlife below. Celebrities including actors and actresses in town shooting movies frequent “the Heat” for its Hollywood South-style vibe of cool music, hot partygoers and state-of-the-art cocktails.
Only steps from the Mississippi River awaits another stylish, contemporary club called Masquerade, located in Harrah’s Casino. Nightclub & Bar magazine ranked the popular venue, conveniently located near major hotels, 27th in its Top 100 Nightclubs list. Locals and visitors alike can be found nightly hunkering down for cocktails at Masquerade’s huge Ice Bar, illuminated by a dazzling light tower that envelops the spacious dance floor of partygoers with a fantastic light show. Here bar slingers busily concoct everything from the old-school Old Fashioned to hipster craft cocktails as patrons get down and funky thanks to the non-stop beat orchestrated by nationally acclaimed DJs, accented by Masquerade’s attention-grabbing go-go dancers.
Nightcrawlers in the mood for Vegas-style gambling can belly up to Harrah’s slots and gaming tables. The luxurious Ultra VIP Lounge boasts its own bar and oversized couches plus ample space for greater intimacy. Meantime, New Orleans’ most exclusive champagne venue, the swanky Après Lounge, offers “sexiness, elegance and excitement” for locals and visitors alike looking to mix palette-pleasing bubbly with their best dance moves. Insider tip: Hit the Après Lounge on Thursday evening when its “Eighties with the Ladies” program features free champagne for women set to the music of Bon Jovi, Tears for Fears and more.
Another popular dance spot (and certainly unique to music clubs in most metropolitan cities) is Rock ‘n’ Bowl, a no-frills locals’ favorite, tucked in Mid-City, where people come to dance to live swamp pop, Cajun, zydeco and rock music. Or bowl a few games. Or both. After all, this is New Orleans. A brief menu includes the usual suspects like pizza, burgers and spicy chicken wings, plus a few New Orleans favorites including fried pickles and boudin.
If your better half smiles at the thought of hitting New Orleans’ hottest glam-spot, chalk it up to the cool grooves found at a sexy emporium better known as the Metropolitan Night Club. As far as attire is concerned while putting on the Ritz at the city’s premier video and dance nightclub, it’s the hottest shoes and sexiest dresses for the gals; no cargo shorts for the guys, if you please. Two stories and two rooms of strobes, smoke machines and neon-ish “intelligent lighting” set the cutting-edge, contemporary ambience for spin-meisters like DJs Wixx and Ronnie Roux who nightly fill the space with got-to-dance tunes. Guest DJs have included Lady Gaga’s personal choice -- Space Cowboy. One room churns out Top 40, Hip-Hop, mashups and rock/pop, while another blasts out the best of House, electro, techno and dubstep. Eleven bartender stations, valet parking and covered walkways in this cavernous, redesigned classic New Orleans building guarantee the evening will be convenient and pleasurable.
Customers can also enjoy personal table service at any of the 14 VIP sections (which also include flat-screen TVs). Many visitors to our city enjoy a streetcar ride down St. Charles Avenue. Those that do will notice that for nine blocks the streets are named after the Muses of Greek mythology. Thus, there is Terpsichore Street, recognizing the muse of dance. One can be certain that when she thinks about New Orleans, she smiles and kicks up her heels.
By J. Reilly Cooper