Back in the late ‘70s, when disco was at its peak, Rochester teemed with popular dance clubs. Ask any disco-loving baby boomer who lived here then, and most will recall waiting in long lines outside Club 747 in West Henrietta, Fatty Arbuckles in East Rochester, the Winfield Grill near the city or the Other Side of the Tracks in Pittsford.
But disco died in the early ‘80s, and with it went all the disco clubs.
A big dancer back in the late ‘70s, I occasionally miss dancing the night away. Not enough to take a formal dance class, but enough to want to get my groove on a few times a year.
Although finding a suitable place for us boomers to shake a leg isn’t as easy as it once was, it’s certainly easy enough. Depending on how you like to dance and what kind of music gets your toes tapping, you could try any one of the following venues.
Horizons Lounge at Woodcliff Hotel in Fairport
Perched high on a hill that overlooks Rochester, Horizons stands apart for its dependable lineup of local bands that easily move you to the spacious dance floor. Look for The Swooners (vintage pop) on Thursdays, Roses & Revolutions (indie pop) on Fridays and Special Blend (wide variety of genres) on Saturdays. No cover; music starts at 7:30 p.m.
The Little Cafe in downtown’s East End
Rumor has it that Mondays are the night to dance at the Little Cafe if you’re an AOA (active older adult). The intimate cafe, tucked next to the Little Theatre, features a rotating lineup of live music (mostly acoustic) and a smallish dance floor up front. Why Mondays? My source says bands lean more toward jazz and swing on this particular night. No cover; music most nights of the week from 7 to 9 p.m.
Nashvilles in Henrietta
As the name suggests, Nashvilles is the place to go for country music. Boomers and beyond tend to congregate on Saturdays, when the live bands play more classic country. Young’uns prefer Fridays when the music rocks — country-style. Line dancing lessons are offered nearly every night of the week, followed by line dancing to a DJ. The dance floor is huge and the place smacks of down-home fun. Small cover for live bands and line-dancing lessons (free on Tuesdays).
Abilene Bar and Lounge in downtown’s center
A cozy-but-rustic neighbor bar with some of the city’s best live music, Abilene’s is the place to go to let it rip on the dance floor. Yes, boomers too! The unpretentious atmosphere is festive, the crowded dance floor boasts all ages and the music — a who’s who of local, regional, national and international musicians — is worth the trip alone. Covers vary; most acts start around 8 p.m.
Valicia’s Ristorante in Greece
Valicia’s lounge draws a good dance crowd on weekends and for good reason: they feature bands or solo performers that play the music we love from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Oh, to get down to “Shout” or “Love Shack”! While there’s plenty of seating, you can always assure your spot by dining ahead of time in the lounge and staying put. Live music on Friday and Saturday only; no cover; 8 p.m. to midnight.
More thoughts on venues? Do share!
Anne Palumbo writes this column for Messenger Post newspapers. Her email is