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Best Dance Club 

Velvet

Gone are the days, at least for now, in Washington Avenue clubland when competition for high-profile DJs meant that we freaks could hear cool house -- and, less frequently, techno and drum & bass -- nearly every weekend. Sadly, now we're punished with no-names clogging up the decks downtown, spinning commercial trance and pop, at least in the spaces that call themselves "dance clubs" (Tangerine and Lo, neither of which is truly a dance club, spin great stuff, but they don't count here; neither has a dance floor). Of the true big-deal dance clubs, only one still books and cares: That's Velvet, which has weathered countless storms in the past year, including unnecessary police scrutiny for operating a "rave venue," the current Washington Avenue construction and the weekly near-riot emanating from Kaos across the street. The folks at Velvet are celebrating their sixth anniversary this month, and that's a long time for any club. But there's a reason they're the veterans: They know their house music and constantly strive to bring top-notch talent to town, and they know the best local selectors and consistently provide an arena for our homeboys and girls to showcase their stuff. Now if only a few of the nearby numbskulls would step up and offer some competition, Washington Avenue could thrive with quality, not dreck.

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