Introducing the Wiggle Room, NYC’s Coolest Dance Club (Literally)
With strong cocktails and even stronger A/C, the newly opened East Village bar is the place to boogie this summer
Finding a place to dance downtown during the summertime can be a nearly impossible. All the hip places have lines wrapped around the block (thanks TikTok!) and are typically filled with summer interns, those wannabe financial analysts and bankers who have made their yearly descent onto the city like a swarm of locusts.
Besides that, the city is notoriously sweaty this time of year. You want me to leave the comfort of my air-conditioned apartment and wait in a deathly humid subway station just to go rub up against strangers’ sweat-soaked backs on an equally hot dance floor? No thank you.
But some weekends, you just can’t fight that dancin’ feeling. Luckily, there’s a new East Village bar that’s worth the sticky trip downtown this summer.
Previously the home of the bi-level cocktail lounge Drexler’s, the Wiggle Room is a two-floor dance club and bar on Avenue A, near the corner of Houston St, from the team behind other much-loved East Village and Lower East Side establishments Mister Paradise, Pretty Ricky’s and Boulton & Watt.
We had the chance to check out the East Village’s latest nightlife spot. Here are our takeaways:
A laidback upstairs bar with impressively strong cocktails
Entering the Wiggle Room, you’re first greeted by the bar’s upstairs, a somewhat simple, but beautifully designed space with a wood-paneled ceiling and Venetian walls. The soft color scheme is a nice alternative to the glowing neon disco bar downstairs (which we’ll get to later) and cements the upper story as a sort of laidback sanctuary if you need a break from the club.
It also stars its main bar — a long, wrap-around bar with chic forest green tiles and matching colored barstools. Beyond the stools, there’s a couple of other tables to chill at (if they aren’t occupied.) But if they are, the upstairs is large enough to stand and chat comfortably while sipping on the bar’s rotating selection of draft cocktails and made-to-order signature cocktails, a list created by Beverage Director and former Cote bartender Will Krepop.
Prepare to snap a picture because the presentation is half the reason the Wiggle Room’s hand-crafted cocktails are standouts. Martini glasses with exaggerated stems and curved glass tumblers are the fun, Insta-worthy vessels for the unique-tasting cocktails that have even greater unusual names like “hot lava,” “dog balloon animal” and “a six on the richter scale.”
Of the seven cocktails offered, I had a taste of four and found the “hot lava,” a pleasantly spicy and flavorful Blanco tequila and Ayuuk-based drink with hot honey, toasted sesame and pineapple to be my favorite. The bar’s on-tap espresso martini coming in at a close second.
Beyond aesthetics and flavor, though, and arguably more importantly, these cocktails pack a real punch — and at $16-$17 a pop, they should!
I’ve had many an overpriced cocktail in my day, in New York City especially, where a $15+ drink is the norm. I’m willing to pass over my credit card (if the vibe’s right), but typically cap off at two, then try to switch to something more cost-effective. But at the Wiggle Room, two full cocktails (plus sips of two others) carried me through to the end of the night. I was sufficiently tipsy. And ready to dance.
A vibey dance floor with funky tunes and a disco ball
The downstairs of the Wiggle Room is where the wiggling happens.
Squiggly neon lights and a disco ball overlook the bar’s medium-sized dance floor, and if you can weed your way through the crowd, there’s a second, smaller bar in the back.
The Wiggle Room plays a nice curation of funk, disco, soul and house tracks spun by a weekly rotation of notable and up-and-coming DJs. On a warm-weather Friday night, the dance floor was decently packed by the time I made my way down there at around midnight, with patrons movin’ and groovin’ under the colored disco lights. And despite the full dance floor, I found myself dancing comfortably. Largely because …
The music is bumping and the air-conditioning is pumping
I can safely say that the Wiggle Room has been the coldest bar/club I’ve been to in recent memory. Maybe that’s a weird detail to note, but my friends and I thought it was a critical component of our experience. We’re used to profusely sweating in dark, confined spaces that are stingy on the A/C, so we notice and appreciate a continuous blast of cool air.
I’d recommend hitting the Wiggle Room soon (before the summer interns discover it). Have a couple of cocktails (or however many you can handle) at the upstairs bar and be sure to get all of your talking out of the way before you head downstairs. Then dance the night away on the coolest dance floor in the city, literally.
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