Pick a theme, any theme: trivia challenges, quiet clubbing, country line dancing, paint-your-own-canvas. Have nightspots ever been more entertaining? When an evening out calls for more than socializing, you'll find several spots with a little something extra to offer on certain nights of the week.
Men and women are dancing wildly on an outdoor deck amid strobe lights and smoke, but there's no music to be heard -- unless you're wearing headphones. Everyone on the dance floor is jammin' to DJ music they're hearing through wireless headphones, rented for $10 on the spot. Onlookers don't hear a thing, they can only wonder what beats the masses are moving to.
WHEN | WHERE Silent disco nights have been held from time to time at Bracco's (516-378-6575, facebook.com/braccos) and Cleary's by the Water (516-415-7675, clearysbythewater.net) -- both in Freeport. See quietevents.com for an updated schedule.
Head to a bar or restaurant hosting a make-your-own-painting night and you'll be provided with a canvas, paints, brushes and instruction to create your own masterpiece over the course of the evening. And yes -- you can break for a cocktail or an appetizer. Sessions cost $45 -- reservations suggested well in advance.
WHEN | WHERE Events are scheduled monthly at restaurants such as Mitch & Toni's in Albertson and Eleanor Rigby's in Mineola. See paintnite.com for the full schedule of upcoming events.
MONTHLY TRIVIA NIGHT
Teams of up to four people vie at this urban coffeehouse's monthly trivia night. Topics range from the '90s to music, sports and niche pop culture categories such as "Seinfeld." Patrons get a small whiteboard to scribble their answers on -- the night's winners get gift certificates or tickets to, say, a Mets game.
WHEN | WHERE 7:30-9:30 p.m. every last Monday of the month at Sip This, 64 Rockaway Ave., Valley Stream
INFO 516-341-0491, sipthisny.com
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS NIGHT
The classic game of chance gets its due in Bay Shore, where a full-on tournament goes down -- brackets and all -- at The Cortland. The best four out of seven hand throws takes the round -- winners might get tickets to a show at the YMCA Boulton Center next door or credit to spend at the bar.
WHEN | WHERE 9 p.m. Thursdays at The Cortland, 27 W. Main St., Bay Shore
INFO 631-206-2220, thecortland.com
MONTHLY POETRY NIGHT
With exposed brick walls and lots of big brown couches, Roast is a cozy spot to settle in and hear readings of original poetry. The monthly sessions draw a crowd of mixed ages, including teens, says manager Tiffany Rivera.
WHEN | WHERE 8-11 p.m. first Saturday of every month, Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company, 41 E. Main St., Patchogue
INFO 631-312-5027, roastcoffeeandtea.com
RETRO GAME NIGHT
If you're someone who gets nostalgic about Super Smash Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog, consider this a walk down memory lane. On Sundays, game systems such as Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo are hooked up to the bar's eight TVs for patrons to have at it. About 40 to 50 people come to play each week.
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m.-4 a.m. Sundays at The Leaky Lifeboat Inn, 3603 Merrick Rd., Seaford
A little slice of Nashville rolls into Bay Shore on Wednesday nights -- complete with live country music, cowboy hats aplenty and real line dancing (there are lessons for the uninitiated). Cover charge is $8.
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m.-late-night Wednesdays at The Nutty Irishman, 60 E. Main St. Bay Shore
INFO 631-969-9700, nuttycountry.com
BOARD GAME NIGHT
A 21-and-over game night with up to 15 players on any given Wednesday. Games are big on strategy. This group plays independent board games, mostly European games such as Dominion and Resistance. "These games are very mentally stimulating," says Abbey Cooke, 32.
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Katies of Smithtown, 145 W. Main St., Smithtown