A nightclub (often dance club or club, particularly in the UK) is an entertainment venue which does its primary business after dark.
Nightclubs are always associated with music and have a dance floor, however small: a drinking establishment without music is a saloon or bar, pub or tavern. Though a nightclub may have a floor show or other entertainment unsuitable for minors, the music, dancing and socializing of a nightclub are secondary in a "strip joint." Music may be live or mixed by a DJ, and can range from country, jazz, blues, to electronic music styles such as drum and bass, house, trance or techno.
Gatherings in nightclubs that primarily involve music mixed by a DJ involve dancing and in most cases alcohol. Illegal use of recreational drugs such as ecstasy is commonplace in many modern clubs featuring electronic dance music. Clubs are often advertised by the handing out of flyers on the street, in record shops, and at other clubs and events, they are often highly decorative and eye-catching.
Nightclubs often feature lighting and other effects: flashing lights of many colors, moving light beams and smoke machines. One common item is a disco ball: a rotating football-sized ball at the ceiling, covered with many small flat mirrors, with a light beam directed on it; the reflections form a multitude of moving light spots on the floor and on the people. Some nightclubs will throw foam parties where the dance floor is filled with soap suds.
From time to time, variations enter the market, such as non-smoking and alcohol free nightclubs. Also, restaurants may provide music and entertainment simlar to that provided by a nightclub, the main difference being that food is the main attraction at a restaurant, whereas entertainment is the main attraction at a nightclib.
In the U.S., the repeal of Prohibition in February 1933 sparked the revival of nightclubs, which had gone underground as speakeasies. In New York City, three famous Midtown nightclubs from the "Golden Age" were the Stork Club, El Morocco and the Copacabana, while uptown in Harlem the Cotton Club was king.
The first rock and roll generation did not favor nightclubs, but the club returned in the 1970s as the "disco," from the French discothèque (although by the early 2000s, the term "disco" had largely fallen out of favor). Two early discos in New York were "Le Club" and "Regine's." Today in Europe, nightclubs play techno and trance music for the most part. Some nightclubs in the U.S. play trance and techno, but it is still not as popular.
Notable nightclubs since 1970
- The Alrosa Villa, USA 1970s - current, heavy metal music, site of December 8, 2004 shooting rampage that left Dimebag Darrell (of Damageplan and Pantera) and four others (including the shooter) dead.
- Beverly Hills Supper Club, Southgate, Kentucky, USA, 1971 - 1977, elegant dining with light vocal and popular music, burned to the ground on May 28, 1977 killing 165 of more than 2000 souls in attendance.
- Club Universe, San Francisco, trend setting gay nightclub in the late 1990's.
- Cream, Liverpool _ based nightclub, noted in techno and trance
- Danceteria, New York
- The Hacienda, United Kingdom, 1982 - 1997. Home to post punk, early acid house, Madchester and electronic music
- The Limelight, was the name for two different clubs: one in London (1980s - 2003), the other in New York (8 November 1983 - late 1990s), home to industrial, noise, and techno.
- Lunatarium, Brooklyn, 2001 - 2004. 18,000 ft² (1,700 m²) warehouse club hosting a variety of events - home to New York's underground art party scene.
- Paradise Garage, New York, pioneer of garage music
- República Cromagnon, Buenos Aires, Argentina, rock music. site of December 30, 2004 arson which resulted in 175 deaths and 714 injuries
- The Saint, New York, (September 1980 - 1986)
- The Slimelight, London, United Kingdom, (started in the 1980s). Notable London club, its name was a reference to The Limelight and is a home to industrial, noise, techno and goth music.
- Studio 54, New York, 1970s - 1980s, disco
- Tresor, Berlin, 1991 - current
- Whisky A Go-Go, Los Angeles, 1963 - current
- Zouk, Singapore, 1991 - current
- South Beach (http://www.southbeach-usa.com/way_was/latinquarter.htm) Article with historic photos of the Latin Quarter Nightclub in Miami Beach.