11:30 p.m. Thursdays: Best Place to Dance Without Pretending You're Cool 

The Ivy Room's Soundboutique

Tired of going to clubs and watching the crowd artfully pose while the panicked DJ works up a sweat trying to coax people onto the dance floor? Want to visit a dance club where people actually ... um, work it? Well into its stride after two successful years in the booty-shaking biz, the Soundboutique night at the Ivy Room is easily the East Bay leader in getting a club on its feet. DJ duties are traded off between Soundboutique founders Jacob Tillman and Sean Sullivan as well as a roster of guest turntablists, and the musical mix is an eclectic blend of funk and soul, early hip-hop, and dance-friendly but obscure 1980s pop-radio gems. The friendly, enthusiastic crowd is no less diverse: equal parts hipster, Cal student, and grizzled barfly. No cover charge, no snooty dress code, and the floor is dark enough that nobody will laugh at your attempts to finesse those smooth moves you remember from watching the dancers on Solid Gold -- in a word: perfect. Soundboutique happens Thursdays from 10 p.m. till closing time.

Readers' Pick for Best Dance Club: Ashkenaz

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