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Moving to the sound in Modesto

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Moving to the sound in Modesto

Inside the Crocodile’s Nightclub in Modesto.

Photo contributed/


POSTED July 18, 2014 7:56 p.m.

MODESTO – Every generation had its idea of what a dance club should look like.

In the 1970s it was a leisure suit and a dance floor that lit up from the bottom.

In the 1980s it was a dance floor that illuminated when you – or, more appropriately, the King of Pop – slid his feet across it.

And in the 1990s it was an abandoned industrial warehouse that had been converted into a shrine for the pulse heavy electronic music revolution that was underway.

Unless you live in Modesto, in which case one nightclub in particular has spanned nearly four decades of providing quality nightlife and entertainment for residents of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties that appreciate the fun, friendly and upbeat demeanor that it has become known for.

There aren’t a lot of places like Crocodile’s Nightclub left anymore, especially in the Central Valley. And while brewpubs and wine bars and cocktail revivals might be the adult-specific trends that are getting the press in the urban newspapers, the line outside of the 37-year-old nightclub on a Friday or Saturday night shows that it’s no fluke. Crocidile’s draws twentysomethings and thirtysomethings and people that look like your parents that just want a place to cut loose and have fun.

Latin dance music. The best party tunes of the last half-century. The best in oldies and R&B and old school.

Even if it isn’t what happens to be in your CD player or on your iPod right now, there’s a good chance that you probably grew up around some of the music in permanent rotation on-site.

Here are a few of the comments bar patrons left on Yelp:

• ALEX C., Modesto: “I’m 21 and knew every single song that’s been played on the old school music weekends. I swear to God – I was born in the wrong era. 5 stars because of the music and the drinks are really good and the environment is super chill, unlike other clubs that have creepy older guys hanging on you. Security is super chill and I just adore the casual vibe from others.”

• SHARAYAH W., Modesto: “So after reading all of the reviews for this place I was a bit apprehensive to go, but last night I came here for my 25th birthday with two of my closest friends and we had a blast. Yes it is like going to a wedding reception – they play all kinds of music and there is a DJ. The decorations are super tacky, but awesome. It was so much fun. If you go there before 8:30 p.m. there is no cover charge and it is happy hour, so going early is a way to avoid spending more money. The service was awesome. This place is also super awesome because there are so many different types of people, of so many different ages and races. You can just feel comfortable and be yourself here. So if you and your friends are looking for a place to dance and just have fun and be yourself, this is the right place.”

Other places worth checking out if you’re in downtown Modesto and looking to cut a rug include:

• PALLADIUM NIGHTCLUB: Address: 950 10th Street, Modesto. Popular, clean and centrally located, it’s part of a downtown walking circuit for those looking to make the most of their night. Phone: 209.522.8899.

• LEVELS NIGHTCLUB: Address: 917 J Street, Modesto. More of the traditional nightclub, but the music is always thumping, the drinks are always flowing and the weekend crowds provide a little something for everybody. Phone: 209.981.3488.

• CLIMAX NIGHTCLUB: Address: 607 7th Street, Modesto. This downtown gay bar draws a huge crowd whenever drag shows are on the calendar, and the drinks and dancing have been known to pack the upscale nightclub with people of all types. Phone: 209.408.8659.

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