by Cara Gardner
The Big Easy
919 W. Sprague * 244-3279
It's a weird phenomenon, the one R. Kelly describes when he sings, "I don't see nothin' wrong / With a little bump and grind." Bankers by day become "bumpers" by night; college students during the week are found each weekend grinding till dawn. When it comes to this dark, crowded dance floor, all bets are off. You're in the Big Easy, baby, and that means you may not always know who the "bumper" is behind you, but at least you know whoever it is has been utterly and overzealously searched by the bouncers at the front door. You will inevitably find yourself in the direct path of men frenzied with the desire to slip a dollar into the underwear of one of the two scantily clad dancers on stage. No, you're not at Stateline, but apparently if they have a swatch of fabric on, it's not the same as stripping -- so go with it because, well, you have to if you want to have fun here.
Show up before about midnight and the scene may not have even started; only a handful of revelers can be found getting their groove on that early.
But by 1 am, the sound of "Big Pimpin'" will radiate around you and a hundred others on the tightly packed floor. It's a good thing the Big Easy's interior is dark, because you don't want to know what it is that's sticking to your shoes. You won't really be able to tell if she's 21 or 49, anyway. The key to fun in the Big Easy is to take it for what it is -- a circus, a riot, a junior high dance gone very, very naughty. If you're a wallflower, it's cool; there's plenty of tables by the bar and no shortage of people-watching.
909 W. First Ave. * 747-5362
We couldn't write about dancing without mentioning Dempsey's. Show up prepared to groove with bachelorette parties, cross-dressers and tweakers by the speakers. It's a fun, colorful, peaceful scene, so no worries about getting assaulted on the dance floor or wading through stink-eye stares between macho men or catty women. People let their guard down at Dempsey's, which is really what dancing is all about.
515 W. Sprague * 838-6311
You don't have to brave hard-core rap or view inebriated make-out sessions in order to enjoy a little dancing on the weekends. Ankeny's, located in the Ridpath Hotel, isn't just nice place to eat. The restaurant boasts a beautiful view of the city and a small but decent dance floor where a fluctuating number of people can sway to more mellow beats. The scene is relaxed but jovial, and people of all ages can be found enjoying a reprieve from rowdier crowds. Sole Proprietor, a seven-piece band that plays jazz, cover songs and just about anything you can request, helps Ankeny's transform its '80s d & eacute;cor to a cush retro lounge scene.
321 W. Sprague * 624-4549
Consider Trickshot Dixie's dance scene a lot like their drinks -- cheap and strong, served up in plastic. Obviously, the real attraction here is the mechanical bull. Sure, it might be fun to take a spin, but call it quits before turning into the "bull tamer," otherwise known as the girl who acts like she's auditioning for a rap video during her embarrassingly long ride.
A Time To Dance Studio
3815 N. Post St. * 327-9204
Not into the bump-and-grind, the smoky rooms, the liquid courage that gives certain guys an excuse to molest you? Luckily, there are ways to get your groove on without all that. A Time To Dance Studio and others, like Avalon Dance Studio, offers salsa dancing lessons -- solo or with a partner. Classes are held at different times in the evening and weekends.
Others Worth Checking Out
Sunset Junction; the Grail in Coeur d'Alene; Avalon Dance Studio;
the Shore Lounge in Coeur d'Alene; Crazy Eights; Fizzie Mulligan's; Hotteez; Big Al's; Talotti's 211
Publication date: 2/03/05