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Dancehall is one of the most vibrant and exciting parts of Jamaican culture. The music genre is characterized by a D.J. singing and/or rapping over danceable, hardcore music. Dancehall emerged from Dub and Reggae in the mid-1980s with the prevalence of digital instrumentation and sound systems. Since then, Dancehall has taken over from Reggae as the dominant genre of music in Jamaica. Its beats and bass lines have enticed people around the world into partying and having a good time, making it one of the most loved and sampled genres of music. Here are the best clubs and bars in Kingston, Jamaica to hear Dancehall.
Kingston’s premiere nightclub, Fiction Nightclub, is one of the best clubs in the city. The hot spot is a popular venue for locals that want to party, mingle, and enjoy Dancehall music on the weekends. The extraordinary nightclub has a friendly staff and upscale ambiance that is sure to make you feel like a celebrity. The frequent parties, hostings, and special events held at Fiction bring about local and international celebrities.
The renowned Mingles Pub, located near the Courtleigh Hotel, is a favorite among locals and the visitors that stay at the hotel. This upscale space aligns with the atmosphere of New Kingston, offering a luxurious party experience. The pub has a range of theme nights, including Karaoke Fun on Thursday with a D.J. spinning records, a Friday night Escapade for those who want to relax and enjoy the music, and Saturday night is “Saturday Latin Mingle” with Latin dancing.
Puls8 is a newly refurbished open-air bar at the Pulse Entertainment complex in Kingston. The former Studio 38 was redesigned and reintroduced to the Jamaican public as Puls8, a trendy, rendezvous spot that hosts weekly events like Pepperseed Wednesdays, MVP Fridays (both Dancehall parties), karaoke nights, and corporate functions and comedy events. Pulse models from the modeling agency, Pulse International, are usually regulars at the space during Caribbean Fashion Week and special after parties.
The Triple Century Sports Bar, located in New Kingston, is owned by Jamaican Cricketer and former captain of The West Indies Cricket Team, Chris Gayle. The Sports Bar has several large 55-inch television sets, a lounge, and the main stage where karaoke nights and musical performances are held. Triple Century is a popular hang-out spot for locals, especially sports fans, and a frequent venue for intimate Dancehall shows.
The Deck is a loved entertainment spot in Kingston among young professionals and college students. The sports bar and grill has stood in Kingston for over 20 years, providing a haven for those who want to relax after a long day or party on the weekends. The Deck features an eatery, a sports bar located outside, and a lounge inside. This chill spot is known for its Dancehall nights on the weekends and live entertainment which sometimes brings in notable artists.
The Stone Love sound system was built in the 1970s and the name has now become synonymous with dancehall. The Stone Love Movement has maintained its dominance over four decades and is Jamaica’s most popular sound system, known for its superior sound quality. The Stone Love Headquarters in Kingston is the home of the famous Stone Love recording studios. The venue is also the host of many popular Dancehall concerts and the weekly “Weddy Weddy Wednesday,” one of the most popular dancehall events on the island.
With themed nights such as “TGIF” and “Karaoke Mondays,” it is not hard to understand why people flock to Escape 24/7 in Kingston. This spot is so special because it is entertaining both day and night. During the daytime, guests can be seen grabbing lunch, catching up with friends, or playing a game of domino at the tables outside. At night, Escape is transformed into a place where clubbers come to release their stress, have a drink at the bar, and party.
Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records is a casual dining and sports lounge inspired by Jamaican superstar athlete Usain Bolt. Tracks and Records features an athletic stadium design, with a circular bar in the middle of the lounge, 45 flatscreen TVs above the lounge, and a luxurious VIP area. The sports lounge has karaoke nights and is a popular venue for small Dancehall and Reggae shows organized by Usain Bolt’s famous musical friends. Tracks and Records recently opened a second location in Ocho Rios so people on the north coast can share the Tracks and Records experience.
CRU Bar & Kitchen opened in 2013 and quickly became a popular hang-out spot for young professionals and college students in Kingston. The kitchen and bar are an excellent mixture of elegance and relaxation. Its restaurant is one of the most revered in Kingston, offering an impressive menu of international and Jamaican dishes, while the bar boasts premium drinks, wines, and cocktails. CRU also has a rooftop lounge that hosts a D.J. on weekends. The lounge is the perfect place to hang out with friends, have a drink, and vibe to the music.
The underlying theme of Club Privilege is exactly what the name suggests—privileges. This nightclub is one of the most luxurious, exclusive clubs in Kingston. The massive 800-square-foot venue features two VIP lounges, a main bar, a champagne bar, and a large dance floor with walls covered with mood lighting. As expected, Club Privilege is a popular spot for late night clubbing and partying among Kingstonians and visitors. The club is also a regular hang-out spot for celebrities who visit Jamaica, adding to its luxurious quality.