If you are in your twenties and looking for a nice dance club in Connecticut, the choices are rather limited with many clubs in the large cities like New Haven and Hartford so instead one should check out the Ultra 88 Night Club in the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville.
Comparing the club to those clubs in New Haven and Hartford, these cities sometimes proves to be unsafe to walk in and often those who own lots near the clubs charge fees to park “at your own risk” and usually supervision of those lots ends once the lot is full.
Fees for such parking in the cities can be as low as $5 and as expensive as $20 while Mohegan Sun has plenty of free parking in several covered parking garages along with a large parking lot.
I know that many people in Connecticut drive into Rhode Island and visit Providence since the city is much safer than New Haven and Hartford.
Providence has many different things for young people to do thanks to smart developers who have placed five or six dance clubs within walking distance of Providence Place Mall.
While Ultra 88 is one of the nicest clubs I have been to, there are ways they can be better.
Going there several times, I recommend those interested to go on Friday nights when the cover charge is $10 and women with black dresses can get in for free before 11 p.m…
Perhaps the promotion is to encourage more women to go to the club since many dance clubs have more guys than girls.
As a result, some guys are unable to find a girl to dance with unless they came with some girls.
Of course, some girls go in groups and dance with one another but that seems to be only a small percentage of those on the dance floor.
Saturday nights the cover skyrockets to $20, taking full advantage, of course, of the increased number of clubbers on that particular night of the week.
When Ultra 88 first opened, Saturday night cover charge was $15.
The last Thursday of every month, the club has a special promotion and I believe cover is $10.
Thursday night promotions take advantage of the fact that it is the night of the week that many college students party.
While Ultra 88 is not located in a “college town”, there are several colleges within an hour’s drive.
Mitchell College, Connecticut College, Naval Academy, and Williams School are all in New London, twenty minutes away, in a shoreline city which only has one dance club and from one I’ve heard it does not have a good reputation.
The University of Connecticut has a branch campus in Groton, about twenty minutes away and Eastern Connecticut State University is about a half hour away in Willimantic with the main UConn campus in Storrs about 45 minutes away.
The club has had promotions for Sunday nights but I envision them to end due to lack of interest since most have to go back to work or school on Monday unless it’s a holiday.
Their competitor down the road, the BB King Club in Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket is open Thursdays through Saturdays with Latin Night on Thursdays.
BB King traditionally has a higher cover and their cover price, unlike Mohegan Sun is not posted on the website.
Also, BB King is an even smaller club with a less elegant atmosphere and appeals to those who wish not to get totally dressed up when they go to the club.
For Ultra 88, located in the world’s second largest casino, I am a little disappointed in the size of the club, the size of the main dance floor, and the way the club is setup.
For starters, at Ultra 88 one must see a bouncer near the upper level concourse at a podium to ensure they meet the dress code and are 21.
The dress code is strict and prohibits tennis shoes, sneakers, flip-flops, work boots, tank tops, jogging suits, hats, and jeans that are ripped, baggy or torn.
While the website states that blue jeans are allowed if the person is wearing a blazer or collared shirt I would not take the chance and would advise people to “dress to impress”.
The bouncer then gives the customer a small ticket which must be redeemed by a certain time at the club’s main desk located down a back hallway going past an Irish bar.
At the desk, one surrenders the ticket to one employee and pays the cover to another, there are no stamps or wristbands since you must be 21 to go to the club.
Large velvet curtains welcome visitors as they step in the club with a small hallway on the right leading to plush white seating in front of a large television and plush restrooms where an attendant sells cigars, cigarettes, cologne, mouthwash, and condoms.
The main dance floor of the club has three entrances, one at each end, right next to four plush seating areas that can accommodate about 20 people each.
All seating areas overlook the dance floor while two face the DJ’s booth and a large screen which shows images of the dance floor from cameras mounted on the ceiling.
Of course, these seating areas are not free and require reservations in advance.
A waiter will come to bring you drinks and the areas are quite popular for those having birthday parties, bachelor’s parties, etc.
To the right of the dance floor is an area designed with different colors, possibly to try to mimic larger dance clubs that have multiple rooms, this area has a large techno-looking bar with reserved seating on both sides of the bar.
While there are plenty of areas to stand around, such as an area in front of the bar, places to sit are quite limited since none of the bars have stools or seats at the bar.
On the left side of the dance floor are larger plush reserved seating areas offering more privacy and they provide more space for groups wishing to not feel cramped.
One of these areas has its own large screen television, exclusive butler service, and can be shut off from the rest of the club.
While I don’t know the price of reserving these areas, I’m sure that it isn’t cheap.
A hallway leading to an area behind the DJ’s booth features its own very small dance floor with seating and a bar.
The seating in this small area is perhaps the only seating you can use without advanced reservations, save for the seating near the restrooms.
If you try to use seating in advanced reservation areas, security will nicely ask you to relocate.
This is one of the only clubs I have been in that is designed like that; many have tables and chairs right off the dance floor for those wanting to get off their feet for a while.
While this smaller dance floor can be reserved out for larger groups and shut off from the rest of the club, I have never seen it shut off before and many see this area as a refuge to escape the crowds of people which escalate as the night goes on.Last time I was there, the DJ liked to mix one song with another, and some of those mixes just didn’t sound right.
Small snow particles are released from the ceiling of the club onto dancers for one song during the night, which is kind of neat.
The four bars in the club can get busy at times and bartenders sometimes have a difficult time trying to provide service to everyone promptly.
There is only one bartender per bar area, except for the larger bar behind the dance floor, even though there is adequate space where a second register could be added.
The larger bar is also the most crowded and hard to get to because it is near a concourse which connects the VIP seating areas and small dance floor area to the rest of the club.
Drinks here cost more than those purchased next door at the Irish bar.
As the night wears on, bartenders tend to put more and more ice cubes in the drinks with a glass full of ice with barely little drink.
If you want a glass of just ice, it’s free, however.
This fact goes even for bartenders you have ordered from earlier in the night and have tipped.
Perhaps it’s an effort to ensure patrons are not totally drunk when they leave.
My friend said the trick is you ask for drinks without ice and you get much more drink for your money, it is quite a smart idea but very few do this.
While the club opens at 9 p.m., the people don’t really come until about 11 p.m. and lines outside the security podium tend to get quite long at 11:30 p.m. so it’s suggested you arrive early and avoid the line.
After about midnight or 12:30 a.m., the place gets so packed it’s hard to navigate through the club and the dance floor is jammed packed of people.
Those who get there early can actually have a conversation with friends before the club gets real pumping and the music so loud that your ears are ringing for the rest of the night and into the next morning.
Much of the time, many understand that it’s important to “dress to impress” but sometimes you do see the occasional guy or girl that do not quite fit in with the club’s elegant atmosphere.
For the second largest casino in the world, it is a shame the club was not built with multiple dance floors with different types of music like The Complex in Providence.
While The Complex is much less formal, the four different dance rooms: 80’s music, dance music, trance music, and top 40 music are themed with different things on the wall in each room.
The floors there are cement versus carpeted floors at Mohegan Sun. Floors that have carpet provide better protection to prevent slipping on ice cubes or spilled drink.
Ultra 88 is the only dance club in the casino even though there are multiple bars and some even feature live entertainment.
While many clubs do not close until a little bit before 2:00 a.m. and shut off alcohol service at 1:30 a.m., Ultra 88 pretty much shuts service off right at closing which is about 1:40 a.m..
At the Complex, there would be a last call for alcohol announced on the intercom but that is not the case at Ultra 88 with the club playing a portion of a song before shutting off the music for the night unlike other clubs which have a “last dance” song announced by the DJ.
Providing a show of security is perhaps one of the main goals Ultra 88 is trying to meet with security guys in black suits and black earpieces walking around the club mainly to prevent fights and ensure the general public does not sit in those “reserved” areas.
Mohegan Tribal Police officers swarm the club after the lights come on to encourage customers to leave and last time I was there a large group of 15-20 security guards stood in the hallway outside the club with about 5-10 officers with State Police jackets standing behind them.
What a show of presence! What were they expecting? At Foxwoods when BB King gets out, they simply have three or four security guards while at the Complex, Providence police officers are on horses and yell at the crowd to get out of the club and street so the road can be reopened.
While at Ultra 88, some congregate in the hallway area which experiences little pedestrian traffic except for the 24 hour restaurant, Fidelia’s, a 24 hour coffee shop, Imus Ranch Coffee and the Mohegan Sun Hotel lobby, security discourages people from congregating too long or from blocking the hallway.
After the club lets out, many visit Johnny Rockets, one of the few restaurants except for Starbucks that is still open that late at night.
All of the shops in the Mohegan Sun’s main mall area have closed earlier in the evening.
Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is a popular treat for those looking for something cold to eat and the three Krispy Kreme donut outlets throughout the casino complex satisfies those with donut and coffee cravings.
Expansion plans for Foxwoods includes additional clubs while Mohegan Sun’s expansion will feature a House of Blues restaurant and seating area and possibly more clubs and bars.
It is unclear right now whether either facility will have clubs much larger than what they have today. Based on the popularity of Ultra 88, I believe they can tap even more of an audience if their facility was larger.