After a long week at the office, sometimes nothing beats breaking out a bit of two-step on the dance floor. (Or if you’ve had a really bad week, the sprinkler). The same goes if you’ve just jumped off a plane, ready for a weekend of fun in Adelaide.
“Where do you go to dance in Adelaide,” a good Melburnian friend asked me recently, which back pushed me to write this post.
I lurve a good dance floor and have had many dance floor injuries to prove it. I’ve sprained ankles, chipped a tooth and received countless bruises. There was the time when my husband (an ex-nightclub dancer himself – a title he wears as if it’s an Order of Australia) over enthusiastically whacked me in the eye causing all my eyelashes to fall out and, of course, I can’t forget the time I was carted off in an ambulance after a dramatic dance floor face plant (evidence below).
While sadly many of Adelaide’s big clubs have closed down* in recent years (HQ, there’s a secret part of us that mourns you), these are the faithful city-based dance floors that are as reliable as a pair of Converse.
Zhivago is worth checking out if you’re in Adelaide and searching for a dance floor. Hell, if it’s good enough for Edward Cullen to have a few drinks at, count me in.
This dimly-lit basement bar is reminiscent of a Melbourne laneway with ample brightly-coloured street art, along with a huge central bar, lots of lounges and, most importantly, lots of dance floor space. The crowd is unpretentious and the vibe is energetic, with music that ranges from old-school hip hop to Taylor Swift. Get here pre-10am to avoid the inevitable cobra-esque line-up.
Zhivago | 54 Currie Street, Adelaide, South Australia
2. Rocket Bar & Rooftop
Rocket Bar is real, unpretentious and another favourite of mine. Several flights of stairs above Hindley Street, join the crowd packing out the dance floor, foxtrotting to interstate DJs and live bands. There’s even a raised dance floor if you want to be the centre of attention and don’t mind breaking your arm (or chipping a tooth) when you inevitably sashay off the stage. There’s also lots of seating when you’re ready to give your high-heeled feet a rest.
Then when your ears start bleeding, head upstairs to the more sedate, very large rooftop cocktail garden where you can enjoy views across the city.
Downstairs, Electric Circus and Mr Kim’s (also in the Crippen Place complex) are other dance floor bangers if the line at Rocket Bar is too elongated.
Rocket Bar & Rooftop | 142 Hindley Street, Adelaide, South Australia
I’ve had a long-time love affair with this cocktail bar on Rundle Street, because it’s like a half-and-half pizza. Split over two levels, downstairs is relaxed and intimate with lounges and ambient music that you can actually talk over the top of; while upstairs is a heaving, hot mess of dancing, cocktail drinking and beautiful people.
There’s no cover charge at Distil; the music is a mix of modern, house, R&B and old-school; and while the wine list is good, the cocktail list is even better. Finally, how can you not love a place that has a bed on the dance floor for those late-night (random) pillow fights?
Distil | 286 Rundle Street, Adelaide, South Australia
4. Red Square
I’m loathed to write this one. I feel a little grubby doing so, like I’ve had a vodka sunrise shower, but alas if you’re after a trashy big dance experience, this Hindley Street institution is the place to be. With two rooms – R&B and electro house – the DJs here are top-notch, the energy electric and there’s a light-up dance floor! Plus, it’s the place you go at 7am Sunday morning (when the lock-out laws are lifted) and you want to keep partying – I’m told.
Red Square | 111 Hindley Street, Adelaide, South Australia
A 180 from #4 on this listicle, Superfish is a relaxed alternative for a drink and dance. Taking over the space that’s previously been populated by summer pop-up bars Little Miss Mexico, Little Miss Miami and Crab Shack, there’s lots of nooks and booths in this semi-outdoor bar to just sit and have a chat, along with plenty of fernery to create a South American tropical vibe.
For those pesky stomach rumbles, there’s also a South American street food-inspired menu. Snack on smokey slow-cooked skewered meats, grilled corn and charred vegies, while enjoying local South Australian wines, beers and tiki-themed cocktails. Last time I was here there was even a real macaw bird doing the rounds.
The popular pub Crown & Anchor is right next door if live music is more your bag and the tropics become too much.
Superfish | 188 Grenfell Street, Adelaide, South Australia