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Best of: Ottawa’s dance parties

By Amanda Armstrong on June 11, 2014

Ottawa is home to a bunch of great DJs who host creative and eclectic events that are worth checking out. Nearly every weekend there are awesome dance parties held in pubs, clubs, restaurants, and one what-used-to-be jail throughout the city. There’s more to Ottawa than the Byward Market – especially when it comes to dancing. For those of you who like to dance, here’s a list of some of the best dance parties being held regularly in our city:


Held on the third Friday of every month, Timekode is a dance party where DJs Memetic, Zattar, and Eric Roberts spin a ton of great beats, pulling from a wide variety of genres – including gritty bass-filled rap, energetic funk, and classic soul. The trio’s talents meld beautifully, and the result is a smooth and solid eve, from start to finish. Timekode used to happen where Chinatown meets Little Italy meets Hintonburg. With the closure of the Eri after eight great years, the guys have made moves to the new Cafe Nostalgica, located on the University of Ottawa’s campus. We all know how hot the Eri’s dancefloor could get – a highlight of the new location is that it features an outdoor patio, which is sure to be incredible in the warmer months! If you’re looking for more TK, tune it to their radio show, TKFM, on CHUO-FM 89.1 every Wednesday, from 3 to 4 pm. DJ Zattar also puts on a dance party called Shuck n’ Strut, held at the Elmdale Tavern on the first Saturday of every month, and Tropikalo, whose next event will be on August 22nd.

What: Timekode (DJs Memetic, Zattar, and Eric Roberts)
When: 3rd Friday of every month
Where: Cafe Nostalgica, 601 Cumberland Street
Cover: 5$

Kitchen Party

Kitchen Party is held at the Rochester Pub and Eatery in Little Italy, on the second Friday of every month. The space is small, and there is wood panelling on the walls, but that’s part of the appeal. The windows that span two of three dancefloor walls add to the charm. In the summer, you can flow freely from the dancefloor, outside and still hear (and dance along to) the music playing through the open windows. In the winter, you see snowflakes glinting rainbows in the glow of Christmas lights as you move to the music. DJs Hobo and SweetCheeks play a mix of music – often a mix of what they are enjoying at the moment, alongside some stellar classics. One of the best parts about KP, is the people who come out. With a group of faithful and friendly attendees, the party is always a comfortable space. If you haven’t been, come celebrate their third anniversary with them on July 11th. You can also find the KP DJs at Raw Sugar in Chinatown every Tuesday, making up the beats component of a weekly board game event called Beats & Boards. They’re also DJing on Friday nights at the Lieutenant’s Pump, playing a mix of 90s hip hop and R&B.

What: Kitchen Party (DJs Hobo and SweetCheeks)
When: 2nd Friday of every month
Where: Rochester Pub and Eatery, 502 Rochester Street
Cover: 5$

Double Barrel

DJ Magnificent throws a great party on the last Friday of every month at Mugshots, the Ottawa Jail Hostel. It is a great mix of Motown, funk, soul, and fun. Not only is the music a pleasure to listen and dance to, but DJ Magnificent has great chemistry with the rotation of talented DJs he hosts at DB and watching them really enjoy playing together is a huge part of the good vibes too. In the summer, when the clouds don’t rain, the party is moved to the courtyard – which is unbeatable. Nothing compares to being able to feel the breeze and see the stars while moving your feet to some great beats. If you want more Magnificent, you can find him playing records with a different sort of feel at the Brig, located at 23 York Street. He is there on the regular, playing the best rap, r&b, and reggae. Also, some exciting news has just been announced – DJs Ray Ray and Magnificent will be DJing an event called Beats and Eats at Kinki in the Byward Market, every Sunday, starting on June 15th from 4 until 10pm. Sushi AND dancing – it cannot get much better!

What: Double Barrel (DJ Magnificent)
When: Last Friday of every month
Where: Mugshots, 75 Nicholas Street
Cover: 5$

MOD Club

Every Sunday night, DJs Gaz and Emmett host a widely popular MOD dance party at Babylon. Running since December 2003, the MOD Club is Ottawa’s longest-running MOD night, playing a variety of Ska, R&B, Motown, and modern classics from the 1960s. Combine great music with Babylon’s big open dance floor, free cover, comfy seating, and cheap beers and the night is win, win, win. The evening also encourages dressing the part, so put on your mini dress or mod suit and join in the fun – MOD Club is the perfect way to wrap up a great weekend! I will admit though, the best kind of MOD Club night is a long weekend MOD Club night (only because you know there is no 8am start the next day).

What: MOD Club (DJs Gaz and Emmett)
When: Every Sunday
Where: Babylon, 317 Bank St
Cover: FREE

Electric Pow Wow

Ottawa is very fortunate to be the homebase of the members of A Tribe Called Red; DJ Shub, Dee Jay NDN and Bear Witness. A Tribe Called Red plays electronic dub-step, hip hop and reggae music, mixed with traditional pow wow music and drumming. Their unique style of music – known as pow wow step – compels you to dance. The group has put out two full length albums and two EPs. They’ve just won Breakthrough Group of the Year at the 2014 Junos. When they are not away touring all over Canada, the United States, and Europe, you can find them at Babylon, on the second Saturday of every month, for Electric Pow Wow. Electric Pow Wow is a high energy, packed party and an amazing time. ATCR plays alongside other talented Aboriginal DJs, filling the dance floor with happy feet. Another awesome addition to Electric Pow Wow is the live art happening throughout the party, by local artists like Robbie Larivière of Fall Down Gallery.

What: Electric Pow Wow (A Tribe Called Red; DJ Shub, Dee Jay NDN and Bear Witness)
When: 2nd Saturday of every month
Where: Babylon, 317 Bank St
Cover: 10$

Special Mention: Open Air Social Club

To start the weekend early, you can head out to Parliament Pub on Thursdays, all throughout the summer. A rotation of Ottawa’s best DJs throw a dance party under the stars across the street from the Parliament buildings. In the summer’s wonderful weather, it is really the best place to be.

What: Open Air Social Club (a rotation of DJs)
When: every Thursday, through the summer
Where: Parliament Pub, 101 Sparks St
Cover: 5$