I love to explore and search for something new and different that excites my senses. When it comes to nightlife, finding the ideal nightclub with a great dance floor is always part of my M.O.

Aqua Sidebar Key West

A prime dance club and video bar, the Sidebar has an upscale vibe, 12-foot video wall, and stellar sound and lighting. (Photo by Blueye Images, courtesy of Aqua Sidebar)

Since I tend to dance like the character Elaine from the Seinfeld television series, watching everyone else dance is my preferred method of entertainment (maybe with a vodka soda in hand as well).

So what’s new and exciting in Key West this year? A new upscale LGBT dance club that will inspire you to get out and dance, though hopefully not like Elaine. Of course LGBT visitors, straight visitors, and residents mingle freely at all of our establishments here on the island, embodying our “One Human Family” philosophy.

In September 2013, Michael Ingram and his son Kimball purchased the Aqua Nightclub, known for its hilarious nightly drag shows and also its very popular fundraiser Aqua Idol. Aqua is located in the “Pink Triangle,” which includes a cluster of LGBT bars, entertainment clubs, and stores around the 700 block of Duval Street.

Duval, of course, is the town’s main 14-block entertainment and shopping zone that spans just over a mile between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Aqua Sidebar Key West

The Sidebar’s casual elegance makes it an inviting spot for friends to meet for cocktails and conversation. (Photo by Blueye Images, courtesy of Aqua Sidebar)

The Ingrams decided to expand Aqua, and in late 2016 opened their new venue in a building behind it (whose address is actually 504 Angela St.). The new offering, the Sidebar, was transformed from an old industrial building into a world-class dance club.

The Sidebar now connects all three of the Aqua Group bars, including the lovely outdoor garden bar called the Back Bar, where you can enjoy a tasty libation under the stars.

As befits its status as a prime dance club and video bar, the Sidebar boasts a stunning 12-foot video wall where dance videos are shown nightly starting at 9 p.m. The impressive dance floor is 20 feet by 16 feet (honestly!) and the club has Crown Amplifiers and a Serato Dual DJ Controller. The floor is lit by two overhead complements of Chauvet lighting, fog and lasers to provide the perfect club atmosphere.

The Sidebar’s mix of music ranges from house tunes to disco and 80s and 90s dance music — plus whatever patrons request from cooperative DJs. And according to Kimball Ingram, Sundays will likely soon have a “Broadway” theme, with a happy hour featuring videos of musicals throughout the years, followed by dancing.

Singer at Sidebar Key West

Well known South Florida singer Jennifer McClain performs during a recent happy hour at the Sidebar. (Photo by Peter Arnow)

By the way, if you’re planning a wedding or special event during your Florida Keys visit, the Aqua complex can accommodate a seated dinner for 50 people or a buffet-style event for up to 150 guests.

And up until 5 p.m., you can rent the entire complex for yourself (and maybe just a few of your very best friends).

After partaking in all our lively island nightlife, you may need to take a break and rejuvenate.

My favorite way to “chillax” is a deep tissue massage at one of the island’s day spas — and there are many of them, all waiting to provide renewal and relaxation.

In fact, whether you’re a party animal at heart or a health and wellness enthusiast, Key West is ready to fulfill your dreams of a great getaway.

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