Tired of the same old bars? Try this handy-dandy guide to some new (and not-so-new) nightlife hotspots.

We've even included a key!

Live in St. Louis long enough, and your going-out ritual becomes predictable. For some it's heading to South Grand for last call (and then some) on weeknights. For others it's braving a lack of parking to hit the Landing or Soulard on weekends. Still others prefer to guzzle cheap pitchers of beer at Blueberry Hill, or make the scene in the Gayborhood on Manchester.

Whatever the place, we realize that it's far too easy to fall into a social rut. So in the spirit of the start of spring and impending warmer weather, we'd like to recommend some lesser-known places to check out, places that might not always be on your social calendar. Consider this piece a guide to some newer hotspots in town — and a reminder about some long-standing nights that still deserve your patronage.

ElectroElevation
Where: Upstairs Lounge (3131 South Grand Boulevard; 314-773-3388)
Web site:www.upstairslounge.com
When: Every Sunday
What:Better known as "drum 'n' bass night," this Upstairs Lounge Sunday tradition starts each attendee's week with just enough "oontz-oontz-oontz" to keep 'em vibrating through Monday morning. This night has been around so long that it's become a weekly tradition for many St. Louis electronic music lovers. At around 10 p.m. the music starts out lighter and more minimal, but as the night moves on it gets louder and louder. By the 3 a.m. closing time, most of the place is exhausted from dancing and half-deaf from the persistent, big-bass thump. Protect those ears, kids, 'cause Groove Is in the Heart, indeed. — Jaime Lees

Using Technology
Where: Upstairs Lounge (3131 South Grand Boulevard; 314-773-3388)
Web site: www.myspace.com/usingtechnology
When: Every Monday
What:The Upstairs Lounge has been hosting rock & roll nights on Mondays for the past nine years — and while the name of the night changes, the feeling is always the same. The current title, Using Technology, is a nod to Iggy and the Stooges — appropriate, considering the playlist focuses on vintage punk rock, classic soul and experimental new wave. You won't often hear anything too new or edgy here, but DJs present you with the thrill of hearing your all-time favorites blasted loud while you dance or enjoy a brew or two with your homies. Kick out the jams, Upstairs. (JL)

Rapture
Where: Upstairs Lounge (3131 South Grand Boulevard; 314-773-3388)
Web site:groups.myspace.com/rapture
When: Every Tuesday
What:Upon entering Rapture, you might feel like you've stepped into an unofficial Zombie Squad meeting. But children of the dark side are usually very sweet (we swear) — and at this weekly staple, everything is accepted: alternative, corsets, industrial, combat boots, mope, white face powder, '80s, transvestites, indie rockers, tragic goth dancing... you name it, it's cool. At Rapture, there are no crimes against fashion, only music. Black lipstick? Awesome. Don't know the words to "Love Will Tear Us Apart"? Blasphemy. Here, you're pretty much guaranteed to hear the Cure, the Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen and Nine Inch Nails — along with more underground things on the stompy industrial and gothic side as well — courtesy of DJ Skeletal and guests. Warms your little gray heart, doesn't it? (JL) 84
Where:Upstairs Lounge (3131 South Grand Boulevard; 314-773-3388)
When:Every Wednesday
What: Helmed by Earthworms/Essence of Logic DJ Mahf and man-about-town DJ Crème Brulee, the general theme of 84 is "anything funky." What that means for its playlist, of course, varies. Old-school electro? Check. New-wave funk? Yup. Ridiculous old-school hip-hop? Sure. All things Beastie Boys? Of course! (And my favorite tune when I went: a brilliant mash-up of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" with Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy.") With plenty of room to bust a move — or show off your breakdancing skills — 84 is the perfect way to loosen your joints for the impending weekend discotheque action. — Annie Zaleski

Totally '80s Wednesday
Where:Miso on Meramec (16 North Meramec Avenue, Clayton; 314-863-7888)
Web site: www.misolounge.com
When: Every Wednesday
What: Miso's Totally '80s Wednesday is the best place for twentysomethings to act out all of their conflicting emotions about this bullshit sneak-attack called "the adult world." Forget responsibility and feel young again by sipping on martinis and dancing to songs like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Get dressed up all handsome-style, boys, for at Miso the cougars prowl for fresh meat just like the huntresses in Duran Duran videos. The classic '80s pop and new-wave tunes are provided by the legendary local DJ Les Aaron. (JL)

Smart
Where: Xes (612 North Second Street; 314-588-1010)
Web site: www.flyhomesmart.com
When: Every Thursday
What: The cozy, cave-like atmosphere of Xes is perfect for the tribal beats thrown down every Thursday at Smart. Smart's the latest creation of United Colors of House, a St. Louis crew dedicated to promoting house music. Their fixation on this genre is not a hindrance, however, as they only play and hire the best of the best. While Xes is a great place to mingle and sip fancy cocktails, be sure to check it out if you want to watch some dancers seriously break it off. Far from the average club experience, patrons come here for the music and they often (please forgive us) ooze good vibes. (JL)

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