When it comes to nightclubs, there are many factors that seperate the incredible from the woeful. Size however certainly isn’t one of them. Many people prefer their clubs intimate. Small clubs may not have the awe-inspiring wonder of their huge counterparts, but you will usually find a raw and genuine atmosphere that can be missing in the impersonal superclub experience.
Here are five of our favourite intimate party locations, from around the planet.
STUDIO 80, AMSTERDAM (NL)
Having missed two flights after lingering too long in the morning madness of Studio 80 at ADE, DJ Mag can attest to its intimate (and persuasive) charm. One of Amsterdam’s clubs in a recycled building — here, an old national radio studio — there’s still an internet radio station in the space between the club’s two rooms.
A supporter of domestic talent such as Joris Voorn, Steve Rachmad, 2000 and One and Boris Werner, who recently played a mammoth 15-and-a-half-hour set, its central Rembrandt Square location is also a regular stop-off for labels such as Diynamic, CLR, Desolat, Secretsundaze, Hot Creations, Visionquest and Crosstown Rebels, all testing its Martin Audio system.
SUB CLUB, GLASGOW (UK)
Ask any clued up Glaswegian about the pride of their club scene, and they’ll invariably utter two words: “Sub Club”.
Originally a cinema that became an afterhours jazz venue during the ’50s/’60s, Jamaica St’s classic low ceiling basement club with steel panels, exposed brickwork and a big ’ol soundsystem became what it is today in 1987.
ASYLUM AFTERHOURS, HONOLULU (HAWAII)
This pint-sized beauty of a club is putting Hawaii on the map. Strictly underground, with a crowd dedicated to the best in house and techno, Asylum is run by a passionate crew of promoter/DJs who walk the walk and talk the talk.
Lately they’ve had everyone from Lee Foss and DJ T to Mr C through their doors, and once you’re inside, you can’t help but be entranced by its warren of wild and wacky rooms, great sound and friendly vibe. Responsible for an upsurge in the popularity of dance in Hawaii, the club has just launched a new label, Asylum Confidential, while its resident DJs, like Willis Haltom, are gradually making their presence felt on the world stage.
SPYBAR, CHICAGO (USA)
Not only underground in music policy, Chicago’s Spybar sits a floor below street level, its stripped back décor — all exposed bricks, low-ceilings and wooden floors — given a modern touch with a flurry of jet-black tables and sleek seating. As with all venues, though, what comes out the soundsystem is most important, especially in a city as steeped in clubbing heritage as Chicago.
Keeping up with tradition with an up-to-date twist, Loco Dice, Marco Carola and Maceo Plex are just a few to man the Dynacord Alpha system in recent months, making this clandestine number one you should certainly spy out.
MINT CLUB, LEEDS (UK)
Opening its doors in 1998, Mint Club has served as a taste-making torch bearer for a club scene considered by many as the UK’s No.2 for house and techno.
Pretty much level peggings with Manchester — behind only London — Leeds’ nightlife has continued to snowball, spawning clubs left, right and centre as the city’s infectious enthusiasm for clubbing has spread, passing down to multiple generational waves of students succumbing to the addictive allure of the 4/4.
Mint Club has been at the very core of it, the nucleus of the whole operation, its tight network of industrious promotions — Louche, System, Teknicolour — and its Watergate-inspired LED-ceiling serving to provide some of the iconic images in modern UK clubbing history in recent years.
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