As the ultra lounge becomes the trendy, there are what can be called anti-lounges that offer smaller dance floors, affordable drinks, a creative atmosphere and an expansive musical menu. Where the focus in large clubs is on setting and VIP service, these clubs are exclusive to the musically minded.
In the South Side, the Z Lounge (2108 E. Carson St.) has remained a popular destination on Ambition Fridays, hosted by Inner Child. Many of the larger club DJs spin their B-side records in an intimate setting. On Saturday nights Hkan Hookah Bar and Lounge (2210 E. Carson St.) hosts DJs in the upper-level room. If you have energy past closing time the Beehive coffeehouse (1327 E. Carson St.) hosts a strictly music and coffee party with rotating deejays until 4 a.m.
The Shadow Lounge in East Liberty (5972 Baum Blvd.) has recently opened Ava Bar and Lounge, which caters to the artsy club aficionado open to experimental forms of dance music. Not far away in Shadyside, Havana (5744 Ellsworth Ave.) rescheduled its popular Thursday deep house nights to Saturday, hosted by Brother Mike. On this night the tables and chairs are pushed aside to make room for the serious dancers.
Garfield's The Brillobox (4104 Penn Ave.) injects New York City's East Village into its upper-level room with dance parties themed after influential rare grooves from hip-hop to New Wave eras. On every second Thursday, Pandemic nights experiment with spinning some Balkan reggaeton and gypsy brass into the set. Meanwhile, Oakland's Upstage (3609 Forbes Ave.) is still popular with all forms of retro and the influences of the '80s.
-- Sarah Lolley