August 17, 2009

Vandam Puts the "Damn" Back in Nightlife

I am not a big club goer in general but, as a lot of my friends know, I love to dance. For years this has been a problem. There are few gay bars where you can dance and the ones where you can, like Splash, often play terrible music. But now I can happily report that problem has been solved.

Sunday is the new Saturday and Vandam, at the eco-conscious club Greenhouse, is where it's at. This unusual night, started by Suzanne Bartsch of course, has really fixed all that is wrong with nightlife in NYC. First and foremost, they actually play dance in music you can dance to. Really.

Upstairs, in an amazing room that feels like your dancing inside a video game, local DJ legend Johnny Dynell plays current pop and 80's classics, like the Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams", all mashed up into sets that are irresistible. I can't recall going to a dance club where, other than people at the bar, everyone is dancing. Also, the room is also fairly well-lit so you can actually see everyone and there are a lot of everyones to see; from club kids to professional nerds, Abercrombie gays and even some well-behaved straight folk. It's a fun congenial crowd that is actually friendly too and, man, they can really dance. In fact, some of them appear to be dancers on their Sunday night off. They are the ones dancing on the banquets.
Downstairs, in a basement that is decorated like a leafy rec room, DJ Will spins some 70's-80's disco realness. But it's not Donna Summer on a loop. Some of the songs I've never even heard of but they still keep you moving. The basement has a gayer crowd, with a band of faithful bear followers from Will's gigs on the circuit.

You'd think the one drawback in all this might be that it's on a Sunday. But I think that is why it's been a success. There aren't tons of tourists or B&T's jamming up the works. Also, the night starts early for NYC; doors open at 10 and it's instantly packed due to a free hour of open bar. And who doesn't like that in the middle of The Great Recession. So you can come early, have some free drinks, shake your ass for a couple hours and be in bed by 12:30. least I can since the play is just a couple blocks from home. It's my neighborhood dance club...shouldn't every hood have one?