There are lots of ways to get your groove on in. Raleigh is way beyond the clubbing scene of your 20s. Today’s dance scene is a little more, ahem, elevated–from salsa to swing and everything in between.
Dancers cut a rug every Wednesday night at Humble Pie, where two of the city’s favorite jazz bands perform under rafters merrily strung with lights.
Peter Lamb and the Wolves play the first and third Wednesday of the month. The quintet got together for a one-time gig at Humble Pie’s 2008 presidential party, but its onstage electricity fused them into a full-fledged band. Sets range from New Orleans jazz standards to clever modern covers.
Sidecar Social Club plays the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Lisa Veronica Wood fronts this five-piece band of jazz veterans, adding her sultry vocals to covers and originals that would be at home in a 20s speakeasy.
When: Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Admission: free. Bonus: $5 highballs. Humble Pie is located at 317 S. Harrington Street in downtown Raleigh’s warehouse district.
Salsa at Carmen’s Cuban Café
It’s tucked away in a strip mall near the airport, but Carmen’s Cuban Café is a salsa-dancing hotspot. Its Tuesday night dance party has been going strong for more than 12 years; according to DJ Betto Herrera, it’s the longest-running salsa night in the state.
Drop in after work for cocktails and authentic Cuban cuisine. Stay to mambo and dance the Cha Cha. Beginners can come early to gain confidence and learn basic steps before they hit the floor with more experienced dancers.
When: Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Admission: $5. Bonus: Hour-long beginner class for $10 (starts at 7 p.m.). Carmen’s Cuban Café is located at 108 Factory Shops Road in Morrisville.
Irregardless Café has had live music every night for over 40 years. And for the past decade and a half, fans have packed the place for its Saturday Night Jazz Club.
The evening starts with live music over farm-fresh fare. After dinner, the tables are cleared and a second band starts to swing.
Dancers jump and jive on the new dance floor to a rotating calendar of jazz acts. Past performers include Carolyn Mitchell and La Fiesta Latin Jazz Quintet.
The latter recently played the “Caribbean Nights” Taste of Jazz open house at the Glenwood Club, Irregardless Café’s new event venue. Guests sampled themed cuisine at tasting stations and danced to tropical-flavored jazz. Keep an eye on the website for details on the next Taste of Jazz event.
When: Saturday nights at 9:30. Admission: free. Bonus: Half off dessert nightly with theater ticket stub. Irregardless Café is located in downtown Raleigh at 901 W. Morgan Street.
West Coast Swing Friday Night Dance Party: 8 p.m.- 2 a.m. at Loafers Beach Club. Members, $8 (memberships available at the door), guests $10.
Sunday Swing at the Raleigh Elks Club: join a hundred other dancers every week from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. $10 cover charge (free beginner’s lesson at 6:15 p.m. with paid cover). Cash bar.