Night clubs in television are always much cooler, bigger, and cleaner than the ones you find in the downtown of your town (unless your town happens to be New York City
, Ibiza or London
). Expect to see a line around the block to get in
whether the club is full or not, though some people need only wink at the Bouncer
or have a spot on the guest list and in they go (this seldom includes the main protagonist unless they're a sexy female). And as with the High School Dance
, expect everybody in attendance
to be dancing around and having a great time (whereas, in Real Life
, you're likely to see a lot of Mood Dissonance
among the attendees and more than a few people who just want to go home).
Clubs in television also seem to be packed no matter what night of the week it is, and the bouncers
seem to have no problem letting teenagers in the front doors (again, except the main characters). Furthermore, everyone of relevance to the plot will hang out at the same one.
Often a Bad Guy Bar
and rarely a Good Guy Bar
(because Evil Is Cool
and Good Is Boring
See also Where Everybody Knows Your Flame
, for the gay version.
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- The club/bar where the criminal element makes its home in The Crow is an excellent example, with far more people than a run-down dive like that place would expect, and much better live acts...though that could be explained by its being the home base of the city's criminal kingpin.
- Chaos Theater. The owner may be one of the worst assholes ever, and Ramona's 7th Evil Ex, but his club was still a nice place, with video games, music, stage for concerts, and a planned, but scrapped by the author, skate park.
- Adam Warren's Dirty Pair has an interesting justification for nightclubs populated solely by attractive people; they have "hotness scanners" that compare incomers' bodies to a stored "aesthetic profile of body somatotype and facial symmetry", and only permit entrance to those that are "sufficiently hot".
- The "End of Line Club" from TRON: Legacy. The name also doubles as a Call Back.
- The "House of Pain" in Blade 2 appeared to be a popular hangout for the young, beautiful Vampire crowd.
- The Matrix: The Merovingian's Hel Club.
- The "Retinal Fetish" club in Strange Days features live rock shows, performance art, sadomasochism games, mosh pits, crazy lights, smoke machines, and of course an upstairs lounge where villains and thugs hang out. Bonus points for acting like it's totally independent - housed in an abandoned building with exposed cabling everywhere and wire fencing for secure areas.
- The unnamed club where John Travolta's character hung out in Swordfish appeared to be populated exclusively by gorgeous models.
- In The Breakup, Vince Vaughn's brother takes him to a super cool club, making him feel intimidated and out of his element.
- A Night At The Roxbury: Exit, which is dreamed up by the main characters, where the inside looks like the outside, and the outside looks like the inside.
- Hackers features Cyberdelia, an appropriate 'cyber-nightclub that has a full complement of skate ramps, a video game console about as large as a mid-sized room, and of course, techno music. It's also by invite only.
- The Ink & Paint Club in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a speakeasy run by cartoon characters.
- Wicked Lovely brings us the Rath and Ruins. If you have read the series, you want to go there. No exceptions.
- The Dresden Files has a club called 0, run by the White Court. Everywhere one looks, there are couples, threesomes, foursomes and nineteensomes, a variety of substances to snort, swallow or inject, and even biohazard bins to dispose of the syringes in. Just because they're a bunch of evil vampires doesn't mean they're irresponsible.
- Moon Over Soho has quite a variety of cool clubs, including the Real Life "Groucho Club", unfortunately they are all murder scenes due to the Monster Of The Book being a vampire that feeds off of Jazz musicians' brains (It Makes Sense in Context).
Live Action TV
- In the fourth season of 24, terrorist leader Habib Marwan records a videotaped message in a nightclub that plays a remixed version of the show's title theme music, and is still open, even though the whole city was affected by a blackout from an EMP surge. If that's not dedication, I don't know what is.
- Must have been run by an expatriated New Orleanian. A number of our clubs and bars didn't even close for Katrina.
- The Bronze in Buffy the Vampire Slayer has an unending lineup of top quality bands, and is full seven nights a week.
- Well, Mayor Wilkins spared no expense to make his town attractive to homeowners so the monsters could eat them. The problem is that it's still open several years after Buffy blows him up. Maybe Willow did it?
- "Man, I hate playing vampire towns."
- P3 from Charmed was a brilliant way for The WB to promote artists on the Time Warner label. One ep labeled Michelle Branch as a "Special Musical Guest" (WB shows her performing one of her songs, and then they show the three sisters talking at the club).
- CSI: Miami seems to have a new "coolest club ever" every third episode. The one that I remember most starkly is the club where hot men poured honey over hot women on stage (and the customers removed it using fruit).
- The original CSI, being set in Vegas, also had its share of memorable clubs, has did CSI:NY. Miami just uses the Coolest Club Ever formula more frequently then its sister shows.
- Subverted (awesomely) in the How I Met Your Mother episode "Okay Awesome", wherein the main characters excitedly visit a cool, new, and exclusive club, only to find that they really hate it and can't enjoy themselves, with Ted, the main character, eventually determining that everything one is traditionally supposed to like actually sucks.
- Gossip Girl has the Chuck owned 'Victrola' and dozens of clubs all willing to let in any of the cast, despite them pretty much all being underage, often by half a decade or more.
- The club on The O.C. has top-tier indie bands playing most nights of the week - mostly ignored by the cast.
- Justified by the location.
- Babylon from Queer as Folk.
- Averted in Smallville, since it's, well, a small ville. The closest thing to a club nearby is a dingy redneck bar. When the scenes shift to Metropolis, a few Cool Clubs make brief appearances.
- The Cirque du Soleil series Solstrom revealed in its Grand Finale that the sun creatures stopped on Earth on their way to a planet that houses the Coolest Club in the Galaxy, and the episode takes place there. The clientle, naturally, is mostly alien, but they have the same line at the door and the Running Gag of the episode has an "Inoffensive Crank" trying to get past the doorman and his robot bouncers.
- Used/parodied in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, in which Tommy spends the entire episode trying to get past a bouncer and into a trendy new club. He succeeds near the end, immediately after which it is revealed that it lost it's trendiness, and is practically deserted.
- The disco in Kenosha on That '70s Show.
- Castle seems to have one of these every other week. Granted they are in New York but considering how elaborate and expensive looking a lot of these clubs seem, it's hard to believe that the main characters, both being locals, had never even heard of these places before they were on the case.
- Sex and the City uses this trope on an almost weekly basis, although perhaps due to the age of the central characters there's an equal tendency for them to hit supposedly amazing restaurants instead of bars and clubs (see also Improbable Food Budget). It's usually justified as Samantha, who works in PR, is usually promoting the club and is able to get her friends in for the opening.
- Lily Langtry's cub, "The Haven" in Kindred: The Embraced.
- Parks and Recreation has the Snakehole Lounge, which is surprisingly large, well-appointed, and well-attended considering it's in a small town in Indiana. In something of an aversion, there never seems to be a line to get in.
- On Arrow Oliver spends most of season 1 converting an old warehouse into one of these. It's initially a subversion since he primarily wants it as a cover for his activities as a vigilante. He does not care that the construction drags on or that a crazed maniac set fire to it shortly before its opening. He even hired his best friend Tommy as the manager even though Tommy has no business experience. Surprisingly, Tommy managed to turn the club into a working business and it is revealed that the club's lost-and-found mostly consists of ladies' underwear.
- Burn Notice is Spy Fiction and set in Miami. For them not to toss this in—usually when dealing with The Cartel or The Mafia—would practically be blasphemy.
- On The Nanny episode "Fran Lite", Fran and Val take Maxwell to a club, on the condition that he pretends he's gay and claims he doesn't know them, so that they can still meet guys. This backfires when he gets to go in (being a Broadway producer and all), and takes their advice literally and claims not to know them, leaving them in line.
- Almost every dance-pop song about partying by anyone, ever, will have a video full of this.
- About half of all dance-pop songs and maybe a quarter of all hip-hop tracks feature lyrics about dancing in a club with the opposite gender.
- Ke$ha's "Take It Off" is about one of these places, and the second video takes this to an extreme by showing a club made up entirely of 80s video cliches.
- Elton John's "Club At The End Of The Street" and the B-52's "Love Shack" also come to mind.
- Polyhymnia in Transhuman Space. It's so exclusive that it doesn't have a Wannabe Line, because the Wannabes never know where it is. It's constantly moving, and constantly changing who it's aimed at, but clever memetics ensure that the "right" people get drawn to it seemingly by coincidence.
- The World of Darkness loves this trope. Super-cool nightclubs are popular hangouts for all sorts of supernatural creatures, perhaps most notoriously vampires. Vampire: The Masquerade has the Succubus Club in Chicago, probably the most famous and coolest club in the setting.
- The Asylum is a wonderfully enjoyable club in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines but it's dwarfed by the (human-run) Confession, which is a converted Gothic Church.
- The clubs in 2027 are where you gain the majority of your missions.
- The Devil's Dalliance in Dm C Devil May Cry. It also serves as a front for the demons to seduce the clientle into becoming their Quislings. After Dante gets inside (by punching the Bouncer out and "adding" his name to the list), the interior winds up transforming into a Design Student's Gladiatorial Arena to entertain the demonic VIPs.
- Afterlife in Mass Effect 2 isn't particularly big or glamorous and because of the game engines limitations neither very crowded nor is the line outside very long (but it does have one, including people complaining to the bouncers), but it's probably the Coolest Club In Video Games Ever. It's in fact so cool that the big crime boss of the sector has her office on a balcony over the main floor where she receives visitors surrounded by her enforcers and hitmen. Since the entire decor is very industrial and low tech, lots of people keep repeating that someone should build that place for real, including the game's creators.
- Afterlife is fairly exclusive, but it's peanuts to its VIP section, which even Commander Shepard can't get in, even considering that she knows Aria herself. In this case, the VIP section's relatively few customers and small space makes sense, as it is extremely exclusive.
- Mass Effect 3 brings us Purgatory, which like Afterlife, is run by Aria. Given that it is designed to better fit the Citadel's sensibilities than Omega's, and more importantly that she only has a club on the Citadel because she was forced to abandon Omega by Cerberus, Aria considers it her own personal hell.
- The Hive in Deus Ex: Human Revolution which isn't very big but is apparently the go-to place in Hengsha with even the city elite visiting it in the slums. Oh and if you don't have a membership card it costs 1000 credits to get in, each time. For reference, a fully-automatic combat rifle costs 1250 credits, and a sidequest found inside to collect a year's worth of debt adds up to 5000.
- Club Errera in Halo: Reach. As a an Easter Egg, you can find a hidden switch and start up a Covenant dance party.
- Club Solar in Call Of Duty Black Ops 2. Being located on Colossus, a floating city in the Cayman Islands and the wealthiest city in the world (Mason casually mentions that it would cost Harper more than he makes "in a year" for a weekend there), it's big and clean and features plenty of hallways and lounges before you even reach the dance floor. Skrillex is blaring throughout the entire place.
- Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony stars the bouncer, Luis, and the owner, Gay Tony, of the hottest nightclub in Liberty City: Maisonette 9. Most of the game revolves around Luis and Tony trying to pay off loan sharks so they can keep the club open. Gay Tony also owns Hercules, the hottest gay nightclub in Liberty City.
- L.A. Noire invokes this trope with a surprisingly realistic twist, combining actual cultural tropes of the day to make up what would genuinely be the coolest club in a coolest city (at the time). It's an ultra-suave music hall in the heart of Hollywood that features its own imported Nazi movie-babe\crooner singer, a band of hottest black jazzmen of the day who have just discovered both bebop and heroin, is protected by the chief of the local Vice department itself and caters exclusively to the clientele comprised of movie stars, fat cats and corrupt government officials. And has a French-Caribbean Negro butler.
- Messiah has Club Kyd, a colorful club where Fear Factory music plays and scantily clad girls serve food and dance on tables. It also happens to have a VIP section which connects directly to a top secret military base.
- Dark has the Sanctuary, which is a massive homage to the Old World of Darkness' Succubus Club.
- Max Payne 3 has Club Moderno, featuring techno music by the real-life DJ collective Trouble and Bass.
- In Opplopolis multi-person pop star Vesper Formicide takes Agnes to a secret club so cool that two other versions of herself were already there.
- Sheila's bar in Bar'd.
- The Cerberus Dance Club in Wapsi Square is a rather cool place. Especially for Minnesota.
- In Sunstone Harper's S&M club the characters visit (And Chris and Alan do commissions for) is pretty impressive in both size and furnishings with a stage and a VIP lounge; it also hosts frequent S&M performances. Word Of God is that the series is set in New York so the club isn't implausible.
- The club Phase takes Vox to in Miami, in the Whateley Universe. It has a ridiculously high cover charge, and so it's one of the only clubs around that can afford the insurance premiums to let mutants in.
- Parodied in Homestar Runner with Club Technochocolate, where the DJ is The Cheat and Bubs tends bar. Bubs's drink creations are, like the rest of his merchandise (and in keeping with the trope) ridiculously overpriced; the "Pink Elephant Pants" is an eyedropper full of green fluid which Strong Bad happily buys for $17.50.
- The oxygen bar from Next Breed Of Thief.
As gaudy as I thought the neon of the streets was, especially at night, the oxygen bar was far worse. It was clean, but every surface was backlit. People giggled, their skin looking bright blue in the ambiance, while drones served drinks as bright as the lights. My oculars toned down the light, blocking harmful UVB and other rays, but cast everything in purple hues.
- One episode of MTV's Downtown featured the local dive under Alex's apartment being turned into a massively trendy, popular club. Chaka is thrilled, especially since it turns out she can sneak in through the back from within the apartment building. Alex, who has to sleep above the pounding techno music, is less so.
- Spoofed in an episode of Mission Hill. Frustrated at the real Coolest Club Ever, Andy and his friends engineer a fake club and refuse to let in anybody who isn't in on the gag, word of mouth to turning IT into the Coolest Club Ever. Then they claim the place was destroyed by fire, causing everyone who didn't go to talk about it wistfully.
- An episode of Family Guy featured Stewie converting Brian and Frank Sinatra Jr.'s old big band bar into one of these as "pLace" ("Little 'p', big 'l'"). But eventually Brian and Frank changed it back, after realizing they hated the new direction.
- Studio 54. It was so cool it even had a movie made about it, years after it closed.
- CBGB, another New York club, had a reputation as a landmark to punk fans. Unfortunately, it closed down after thirty years in 2007. CBGB was a squalid dive rather than a cool club, but this is punk we're talking about, so squalid = cool. Just like Studio 54, it too saw a film made about it.
- Same goes for London's Slimelight, the longest running alternative/goth/cyber club: It looks like a dingy warehouse, its dimly lit and everything appears worn down but it sets the atmosphere perfectly.
- Other famous nightclubs include Space, Amnesia, Pacha (all Ibiza), Watergate, Berghain (both Berlin), Fabric, The End, the Ministry of Sound (all London), Womb (Tokyo), D-Edge (Sao Paulo).
- Manchester has the Warehouse Project, the largest club in Europe, built from a converted World War II air raid shelter. During the "Madchester" scene, it also had the ridiculously famous Hacienda.
- The DNA Lounge of San Francisco is like something out of a '90s cyberpunk movie. It's got kickass wi-fi (formerly public computers running Fedora), has been played by some of the best-known Industrial bands out there, and is frequently getting into trouble with the city for raunchy behavior. It's even run by a famous retired hacker.