The Scene: It’s called the Mansion for a reason. It’s huge and has it all, from the upstairs retro room complete with a light-up dance floor (think Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” music video), to flame eaters, aerialists on silks overhead and a massive dance floor downstairs.
The Music: Downstairs bumps hip-hop and house. Upstairs plays everything from Madonna to the Bee Gees to the King of Pop.
The Crowd: A diverse mix of mostly 20- and 30-somethings.
Insider Tip: For a tamer experience, join the West Coast Swing Club every third Saturday of the month: lessons at 6:30 p.m., dancing at 7:30 p.m. No cover till 8 p.m.
20 N. Tejon St., mansioncs.com
The Scene: Don’t let the building fool you. It’s a little unpolished on the outside, but all party on the inside—like a kiwi or Boston Baked Beans. You’ll find a full bar and medium-sized dance floor at the self-proclaimed hottest Latin club in Colorado.
The Music: Mostly salsa, with dashes of meringue, reggaeton, and hip-hop for good measure.
The Crowd: 20- to 40-somethings, typically an authentic Latin crowd.
Insider Tip: Get a free lesson every Friday from 8:30 to 10 p.m. But call ahead—sometimes they get canceled unexpectedly.
1865 N. Academy Blvd., lqnightlife.com
The Scene: Most locals know The Loft as a warm, comfortable music and wedding venue, but every Wednesday the swing dancers and Lindy Hoppers come out and shake it.
Music: Vintage swing, sometimes with a live band.
The Crowd: Full range of 20- to 50-somethings.
Insider Tip: Save on tickets online. Register for free beginner weekly lessons. Watch for theme nights, like the Pajama Party Swing Dance. And feel free to BYOFB (food and beverages).
2506 W. Colorado Ave., loftmusicvenue.com
The Scene: A little John Wayne, a lot Blake Shelton for two-step, three-step, cowboy cha-cha, waltz and line dancing.
The Music: Country tunes till midnight with some hip-hop thrown in later.
The Crowd: Cowboys and girls from 21 to 75 with plenty of city slickers too. Everybody feels welcome here, and the advanced dancers are usually patient with the newbies.
Insider Tip: Usually no cover before 9 p.m. Your hand stamp gets you into the Mansion too.
25 N. Tejon St., cowboyscs.com
The Scene: Get out of the office and shake out workaday stress on your lunch break. This DJ set is one of the most fun ways to spend an hour in Colorado, and you’re not allowed to talk about work. The venue usually rotates between GOCA, the FAC and UCCS.
The Music: A wide variety, from 80s pop to 70s funk to current Top 40. Usually a relatively family friendly mix.
The Crowd: The most diverse blend on a COS dance floor, including 5-year-olds, grandmothers and even an occasional dog.
Insider Tip: Like the Facebook page to get info on the monthly (usually) events. Save $5 by buying your ticket online.
—by Allison Daniell