81 South 6th St.
(corner of Berry St.)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
This Williamsburg spot edges a little closer towards bar-with-a-dance-floor territory than some of the aforementioned clubs, but don’t let the crowd of drinkers fool you—Bembe is a dance club at heart, and a culturally-diverse one at that. DJs and live bands roll out sets chock full of salsa, meringue and samba, not to mention rumba, reggaeton, calypso and a smattering of old school hip-hop. If you’re female, you can usually breeze in free of charge (fellas, expect a $5-$10 cover on busy nights) and the whole scene feels fairly Miami-inspired, with mojitos and coconut drinks that COME IN REAL COCONUTS available for post-dance resuscitation.
NY Mag says:
Alongside the Williamsburg Bridge, Bembe is a world apart from its concrete, industrial environs. Inside, the lounge feels more like Miami or a steamy, fun-loving Latin American hotspot, with a tropical drinks menu—mojitos, rum punch, a tasty vodka concoction marinated in and served from an actual watermelon—and an airy, island-like décor of exposed brick and blonde wood. (The slightly exotic, accented bartenders, both male and female, lend another degree of authenticity.) But more than anything else, it’s the sexy, ethnically-diverse crowd dancing (some expertly, some not) to vibrant Latin music, spun by a DJ but sometimes accompanied by live drummers, that really makes you feel like you’re on vacation. Be warned: These booty shakers move with an enthusiasm and determination—sans attitude—that’s contagious.