We may love Ithaca dearly, but we’ll be the first to admit it it isn’t known for its club hoppin’, knee boppin’ dance scene. Still, for those who love to get down (in all senses of the word) and shake it, Daze shares its thought on some of the more “legendary” spots. (Warning: Our list is probably as comprehensive as our dance skills are America’s Best Dance Crew-worthy.)
The huddled mass of scantily clad coeds bunched together across the street from Peace Restaurant may, at first glance, conjure up an image of a hot Hollywood club. But there are no clipboard Fascists nor overpriced cocktails at this local watering hole. Johnny O’s (affectionally termed “Jo’s,” or “J Bros” by locals), has tranformed into the de-facto spot for frat stars, rock stars, sorrority girls, meatheads, wannabes and, more recently, Johnson School students.
The ideal arrival time varies from 11:42 p.m. -12:59 a.m., depending on the night and one’s level of alcohol consumption. Drawn in part by the 10-by-10 box that serves as dance floor, coat check, bathroom and lounge, patrons flock to J. O.’s in hordes for the experience of being squished together by the crowd, spilled on and potentially fought with. But that’s all part of the fun. A detailed ethnography of Johnny O’s conducted by a team of researchers reveals that the area by the DJ booth offers patrons the most breathing room, is one’s best chance of being seen and caters to inebriated upperclassmen looking to “do work.” At the end of the night, Ithaca’s finest stumble out onto the street and the late night experience known as Club Sidewalk begins. The same researchers have also concluded that one wil, undoubtedly, repeat the same process the following night.
Sick of all the other DJs in town? Want to host your own damn dance party this time? Then send a Facebook invite to all your 21+ friends and down to Ithaca’s shadiest cock, the Chanti. If you and your friends can drink enough cheap booze to cover the cost, the space is yours for free. Though you’ll have to pass through a downstairs area full of characters straight out of a David Lynch film (most of whom, mind you, have never actually SEEN a David Lynch film), the upstairs area is spacious enough to accommodate a good-sized dance party. And, did I mention: The booze is cheap.
If you’re not feeling quite that ambitious, swing by the Chanti loft once a month on Wednesdays for a mid-week fix with one of the freshest dance parties in town. American Weekends kicks it ‘cross the decades with funk, disco, hip-hop, soul, and swing. Seriously, these jams are tight. Check them out on MySpace at: http://www.myspace.com/americanweekends.
Rumor has it that the Chanti may also soon become the new home of Ithaca’s famous “versus” dance parties (The Cure vs. The Smiths, Talking Heads vs. David Bowie, Michael Jackson vs. Madonna … you get the picture). Stay on your feet and stay tuned!
With a statuesque stone mansion, an enormous great hall (complete with a viewing balcony) and a house full of brothers willing to party, Alpha Delt has always been the best frat on campus for booty shakin’. While their infamous Halloween party may have ended a bit early this year (woops), this house proved they’ll do anything for a dance party, including setting up a tent in their parking lot when the house couldn’t be used. In-house DJ Vince Davis ‘10, aka Tron Vegas, can be seen spinning at crush parties and events throughout campus, but he always saves his hottest mixes for the shindigs on his own turf. No matter the day or time, there is always a dance party happening somewhere within the mysterious walls of ADPhi; our question is, is the party hopping in their mysterious tomb, too.
Enjoy a little corner of Brooklyn in an Ithaca alleyway. Pixel’s dance scene blends electronica, indie rock and hip-hop to draw the most diverse crowd in Collegetown. Undergrads and MBAs, engineers and English majors, hipsters and punks all bump hips here after midnight. DJ Bob gets the eclectic party started at 10 p.m. on Thursdays with a postpunk, no-wave and indie pop mix while Electric Mayhem and DJ Fuzzy Duck take you deep into the weekend with genre-mashing electronic beats.
Need something to get you dancing? Pixel updates its list of over 25 killer brews almost weekly. Feeling adventurous? Try a mixed drink with Tang or absinthe.Imaginative drinks from Ithaca’s finest mixologists provide the fuel for a memorable — or perhaps not so memorable — night.
The party doesn’t get started until late at Pixel, but if you get there early, never fear: There are free video games and other divertissements most nights of the week to keep you busy until those drunk ass friends of yours finally arrive. For up-to-date listings, check out Pixel’s blog at pixelithaca.com.
By far the best dance scene in Ithaca, Common Ground is the little known bar located way off … somewhere in Ithaca. It’s far, but definitely worth the trip and the cab fare: though known as Ithaca’s gay bar, it’s open to all, as long as you actually know how to dance. Our first evening there occured during last year’s “Queer Love Shoe Fest” (a performance art / drag show), and reminded us that there are good male dancers in Ithaca.
And the best part? It’s a rare night at Common Ground where your breasts will get groped.
There is a place where the wild things are. The architecture majors, notoriously non-existent, party at a house in upper college town. You don’t walk in the front door, you go to the underground lair, via shipping pallet stairs. It attracts hipsters, sorority girls and assorted Risley kids. Most of them are wearing black and / or scarves. Sometimes even a professor will show up (see Halloween). In the basement, there’s the front half of a car sticking of a wall next to a homemade bar (because architects like to build things). The music is a wide range, it’s not frat hip-hop. It’s everything from DJ Sheyen Ikeda, to M.I.A., MGMT, Kanye West, live bands and Michael Jackson. There’s a lot of dancing — but it’s not grinding — on Halloween, Team Zissou (Giffen Ott ‘13) did a legitimate head bob-plus-booty shake. There may be a dance party outside in the yard and on the porch — though glasses and drinks are known to get thrown into backyard, so watch your head. It happens to multiple people. Luckily, it’s next to the Beta Annex and there are places to get coffee on your way back to Rand at 3 a.m.
– A.D. + A.L.