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On The Town

Clutch City Clubs: 11 of Houston's Greatest Nightclubs

Houston’s crop of nightlife hotspots pumps up the energy for all types of clubgoers.

By Amarie Gipson With Shelby Stewart and Daniel Renfrow Published in the Fall 2022 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Miami Vice meets ancient Greece at Houston’s most exciting new dance club, Paradise Palace. 

In addition to our illustrious food and fine-dining offerings, Houston has one of the country’s liveliest nightlife scenes. Post-pandemic-era club and bar openings have flooded areas like East Downtown with the emergence of warehouses-turned-dance hubs galore. Each has distinct design characteristics, from Paradise Palace’s neon maximalism to Sekai Night and Day’s over-the-top outdoor pool amenities. 

If you’re looking for a Downtown adventure or need a fun weekend night out on Washington Ave, stop into any one of these Houston hotspots.

77° 

 
Midtown

Originating in north Austin, the Union Venture Group has created nightlife concepts throughout Texas, but 77° is a special addition to Houston’s market. Its name refers to the “optimal cocktailing temperature”, which the club attempts to maintain so you can enjoy their specialty drinks like the Grape Expectations (made with crushed white grapes), Namaste (perfect for fans of green tea), and the Ruby Slipper (hello, blood orange).

Clé

 
Midtown

As the flagship venue for the eponymous hospitality group, this Midtown hotspot is a great time, every time. The nightclub isn’t your typical dimly lit venue with music to accompany— it’s an all-around sensory experience. The dual indoor-outdoor club is complete with a massive pool, daybeds and VIP cabanas outside, while the interior has an impressive dance floor brought to life with neon lights that adorn the walls and ceilings, three different bars, and lounging areas. What makes Clé so special, though, is that the nightclub speaks to everything that makes Houston the nation’s most diverse city by acknowledging all niches of music culture—not just one sound. Famous DJs from across the nation (and genres) come to perform the best of EDM, dubstep, rock, hip-hop, and more.

Babylon

 
Midtown

Babylon has landed in Houston and is already off to a controversial start. (Its midsummer opening caused a stir because of the live exotic animals on display outside the building.) The Middle Eastern–themed nightclub promises the perceived flair and theatrics of the historic Mesopotamian city with no time travel required. The interior is filled with ornate décor, from the sofas to the richly colored walls to the gaudy gold trim throughout. Babylon also offers no shortage of entertainment from belly dancers, fire performers, and a variety of music genres. 

Heart

 
Washington Corridor

At first blush, Heart is just another concept from the Clé Group with bottle service and section reservations, but the Washington Corridor space has an electrifying aura completely unique from its sister clubs. Coincidentally, Heart is located at the heart of the entertainment district, and upon entering, you’re greeted with a high-octane environment, and the experience is illuminating. At Heart, bottle service means you’re greeted with waitresses toting champagne sparklers and confetti cannons. Depending on the package, a waitress could be carried out on a miniature jeep with your name in lights. 

Paradise Palace

 
Downtown

Miami Vice meets ancient Greece at Houston’s most exciting new dance club, Paradise Palace. It’s the brainchild of Brian Almaraz and Cole Evans, the minds behind Austin’s beloved Coconut Complex (Coconut Club, Neon Grotto, Cuatro Gato). With the help of Andréas Hernández-Garza, they have ushered in a necessary disruption in the Bayou City’s nightlife scene. After the permanent closure of the LA-based arcade bar EightyTwo at the same site, Paradise Palace initiated a total transformation: a neon collage on the facade, interior pillars, intricate lighting designs, and an all-star DJ booth. This dance hub is free of bottle service and VIP sections, instead emphasizing the work of talented local DJs and the preservation of underrated music genres like house, disco, and more. 

Paradise Palace

Rise Rooftop

 
Midtown

Bringing new life to the space formerly occupied by Proof Bar, Rise Rooftop is another Midtown offering, dubbed Houston’s “premiere rooftop music venue.” The club is sprawled across 13,000 square feet, and partygoers are in for a diverse selection of live music. If the weather is nice, the facility retracts the roof for a cool breeze to complement the offbeat ambiance. Rise is one of Houston’s most eclectic nightclubs, and music isn’t the only marquee attraction at the rooftop venue. Expect everything from live concerts to burlesque shows and dance parties (think Shrek-themed raves and masked DJ performances).

Sekai Night and Day

 
Downtown

Named after its founders, Sekai Hospitality, Sekai Night and Day is open all weekend for day birds and night owls alike. This megaclub sprawls over 26,000 square feet and includes an outdoor, check-patterned pool and cabanas, multiple full-service bars, an indoor dance floor, and lounge areas. It’s known for its weekly pool parties, dramatic aesthetic (courtesy of Egyptian design firm Studio Five), spacious sundeck, and atrium. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or just want to ball out, Sekai Night and Day is a go-to for a luxury, VIP experience.

Sekai Night and Day

South Beach

 
Montrose

After being on a hiatus since 2018 in order to undergo a complete renovation, Houston’s queer wonderland is finally back, and it’s better than ever. South Beach 2.0 will wow you through its chic new interiors, which can perhaps best be described as Miami Vice meets Restoration Hardware. While you’ll want to come to South Beach for its historically stiff drinks, you’ll likely stay for its fog-spraying ice jets, which have the power to obscure any questionable dance moves resulting from those stiff drinks. The ice jets also provide some great cover for a stolen kiss or two, or so we’ve been told. 

Space

 
EaDo

The antiquated building on the corner of San Jacinto and McIlhenny streets might not cause the average passerby to pause in the light of day, but at night…it comes alive. Space—yes, a nod to our city’s nickname—is a vibrant, Vegas-themed nightclub. You’re bound to see some of the most popular rap and hip-hop artists at this EaDo location, along with a handful of influencers and tastemakers. Without a doubt, Space’s liveliest night is the weekly event dubbed, Privacy Saturdays. Among the VIPs who have appeared there are Drake, DaBaby, Demetrius Flenory Jr., and Houston’s very own Jas Prince.

Wyld Chld

 
West End

Another indoor-outdoor offering from Sekai Hospitality, Wyld Chld has shaken up the Washington Avenue strip. It’s a boutique nightclub that occupies the warehouse formerly owned by Benjy Levit of Houston staple Local Foods. Open exclusively during the weekends, Wyld Chld has a spacious 1,000-square-foot rooftop and expansive cocktail menu.

Zenaku 

 
Downtown

Torn between staying home and watching anime or going out for a drink? Carson Hager of Hospitable Viking's second downtown club concept has the answer. Zenaku is an anime-inspired, multistory nightclub proffering eclectic signature cocktails, immersive lighting, and moving-image projections. It’s spot-on for its unique theme, varied music, and innovative execution. 

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