After ruling the Near North Side nightclub scene for nearly all of the 2010s, seminal dance hotspot Studio Paris abruptly closed in February 2019. One year later, it’s reopened as Dance Studio Vol. 1 (58 W. Kinzie St.), a new concept with an updated identity and look. Enter through the alley, then go up the neon-lined, mirrored fever dream of a stairway. Inside, it’s everything you’d expect a dance club to be: dark, loud, and filled with beautiful people, disco balls twinkling overhead.
As the name suggests, this place is meant for dancing. What used to be two separate rooms is now a more open space, and much of the area that was occupied by tables has been converted to a dance floor. The nearly entirely black space is accented with a few catchy signs seemingly purpose-built for photo ops; a closer look at the walls reveals placards dedicated to each weekend’s best dancers. Occasionally, a parade of sparklers announces a VIP bottle service order.
At a club like this, dancing on bars is going to happen, so why not make it as safe as possible? One stretch of the main wraparound bar is built low and extra wide, making for a sturdy elevated platform.
Like its predecessor (which had hosted big names like DeadMau5 and Kaskade), expect to see high-profile artists manning the DJ booth. On the night of our visit, tunes came courtesy of DJ Chris Kennedy, a.k.a. Christopher Masterson, a.k.a. eldest brother Francis on Malcolm in the Middle (he’s now a well-respected DJ). The following weekend, Shaq was spinning.
Dance Studio does subvert some expectations. When was the last time you found satisfying fare at a flashy dance club? Here, you can hit up a window to get a late-night slice of pizza, served by folks from the Happy Camper/Homeslice empire.
The million-dollar question is, what does the “Vol. 1” in the name mean? The answer is a bit mysterious: In January 2022, the current iteration of Dance Studio will temporarily close for an as-of-yet undetermined concept. Until then, it’s as good a place as any to let loose on the dance floor.