Location: Tokyo, Japan
It’s been a pretty scorching 2018 for the huge, sprawling AgeHa — the biggest nightclub in Japan, which brings in over half-a-million clubbers every year to experience its four dancefloors, outdoor pool, park area and food court. The venue has welcomed a host of impressive international jocks, spanning soulful sounds with New York dons Masters at Work hooking up with the veteran Tokyo DJ Muro, through a rare appearance outside of NYC from the legendary Sound Factory resident Junior Vasquez, and heavyweight vibes from the Kyoto Jazz Massive. Long may it reign.
Location: Bogota, Colombia
The largest club in the Colombian capital is hidden in a five storey building. It has a geometric design concept with modern styling and is a place to catch the likes of Guti, Matthias Tanzmann and Nick Curly. The DJ booth is elevated at one end of the room, which makes for a sermon-like atmosphere as confetti explosions rain down from above and subtle lasers cut up the floor. Because the walls of the club are 50 centimetres thick and covered by 4,200 pyramid-shaped foams, the volume can really get pumped up and immerse you in rich sound.
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Colosseum, as the Roman name suggests, is all about excess. With 16-metre-high ceilings, over 1,000 square-metres of dancefloor and an LED chandelier, this Jakarta mega-club doesn’t do things by halves. The music policy follows suit, with a high-energy mix of trance and EDM/electro-house at the weekends, featuring guest DJs like Zedd, Sam Feldt, Cosmic Gate and Paul Van Dyk, as well as a weekly techno night in their second room with more cutting-edge names, including Amelie Lens and Charlotte de Witte.
Location: Sydney, Australia
With views overlooking Darling harbour, Home is one of Sydney’s most impressive clubbing spots. Now in its 20th year, the former playground hasn’t lost its fun factor, with a capacity of over 2,000 clubbers, spread over an impressive eight rooms.
Over the past 12 months, it’s seen the likes of Solomun, Carl Cox, Derrick May, Todd Terry, Steve Bug and John Tejada play, and hosted Defected’s feel-good disco party Glitterbox. As well as global party brands and legendary DJs, Home gives back to its local talent with a list of residents and promoters that includes bubblegum pop party S*A*S*H, BBE, Audiopax and Matinee.
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Built in 2014, The Grand Factory is renowned not only for its panoramic views of Beirut’s port, sea and mountains, but the incredible vintage soundsystem located in its smaller 300-capacity room called Reunion. On Saturdays, Reunion and the larger Soul Kitchen open for C U NXT SAT, with acts like Tale Of Us, Black Coffee, Maya Jane Coles, James Zabiela, Giorgia Angiuli, Recondite, Nicole Moudaber, Pan-Pot, Mind Against, Magdalena, and Agents of Time. All that electronic music is balanced with Fridays’ rock, pop, and hip-hop and funk/Afrobeat parties, combining to make The Grand Factory rather grand indeed.
Location: Glasgow, UK
Descending into the depths of 22 Jamaica Street, you can pretty much feel the history of the building. Although the address has musical roots stretching back to the mid-1950s, Sub Club first opened its doors in 1987 and hasn’t faltered since. A revolving door of who’s who bookings (recent highlights including KiNK, Nightmares On Wax, Jane Fitz and Bicep) grace the place week-in-week-out, with Harri & Domenic’s Subculture possibly the longest-running house and techno residency on the planet.
If walls talked you’d struggle to find many that could spin yarns more captivating or precious than these.
Location: Camboriú, Brazil
They've done it again! The club that topped the poll in 2013 and 2015 — and has been in the top three all decade — has risen to the apex once more for 2018. So it's congratulations to Green Valley in Brazil, who even had world class footballer Neymar supporting their campaign again this year.
Green Valley is a fantastic place to party. More like a mini-festival than a traditional walled club, the fact that it's largely open-air — thanks to the warm climate in the state of Santa Catarina in the southern part of Brazil — simply adds to the allure.
When you consider that Green Valley was nothing more than a makeshift tent in the middle of an airfield a decade ago — surrounded by lush vegetation — its meteoric rise has been incredible. The legendary Carl Cox played that first rave, creating enough of a stir for the demand to be there in the locality to create a permanent structure. GV quickly built up, and now boasts three main areas, multiple bars, a merchandising boutique and a lovely picturesque lake in the centre of the grounds.
The main room is covered by tented canvas, and plays host to a wealth of international big room names. Sonically, it is equipped with the latest VerTec Series technology by JBL, combined with the latest Funktion One system for DJ monitoring. Huge attention is paid to visuals and lighting, with LED walls transmitting cutting-edge visuals from the various in-house VJs, and several 'light hubs' working overtime. Add in CO2 cannons, lasers and other special effects and you get an amazing immersive experience.
The second room, Underline, is for more underground sounds. A platform has been built at one side in the past 12 months to give a great view of the lake, and new LED walls and lighting put in to amplify the experience of being on a long rectangular dancefloor. And up at the top of GV, the Lagoon Stage — used on especially big nights during Carnival and the like — is like another festival stage in itself.
In the past year, Green Valley has booked the likes of Claptone, Bontan, Duke Dumont, Amine Edge & Dance, Oliver Heldens, Steve Angello, Steve Aoki and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, while also foregrounding top Brazilian artists like Gui Boratto and Felguk. Among the residents are Alok and Vintage Culture — who both rank prominently in the Top 100 DJs list, and who undoubtedly owe part of their success to Green Valley — as well as Chemical Surf, FTampa, Fabrício Peçanha, San Schwartz and the unstoppable Rodrigo Vieira. Backstage, the 'green rooms' are more than ample for visiting DJs.
Green Valley embarked on an international tour recently, taking in China (Hangzhou, Shanghai), Tokyo in Japan, La Coruna in Spain, and Madeira and The Algarve in Portugal — spreading the brand name far and wide in the process. But the main concern is the home club, which is set to put on a host of top nights well into the future. The club will surely be celebrating their status as the No.1 club in the world again, Brazilian-style — reclaiming the Top 100 Clubs crown for 2018.
Location: Playa D’en Bossa, Ibiza
Ever since it arrived in 2011, Ushuaïa has always been about setting new standards when it comes to luxury clubbing experiences in Ibiza. The club makes no bones about that and prides itself on combining premium accommodation with huge international headliners. Last season, it redesigned all rooms and suites with plush material such as “ash Travertine and black Marquina marble, granite bar counters and combed cotton sheets with creative details by interior designer Nina Campbell for Osborne & Little”, and even added a presidential suite to cater for VVVVIPs.
At the same time, the club continued to bring dance giants like David Guetta, Tinie Tempah, Martin Garrix and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike to play by their famous pool. Thousands flock round it for each party, with palm trees, beach hut like bars and sun loungers all in the shadow of the giant Tower. Another of Ushuaïa’s unique features is that it throws parties in the day, under the warm Balearic sun, without the constant threat of closure from police.
Although the slightly more underground ANTS party continues to call the place home, people who come to Ushuaïa really do so as much for the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and over-the-top pyrotechnics as they do the music. Each night of the week, Ushuaïa offers varied stage designs and decorations which make for slightly different experiences. But you can always count on there being beautifully designed gogo costumes, as well as an abundance of confetti, streamers and CO2 at each party, and these days the fact all this happens in the open air stands Ushuaïa out from the crowd. In 2018, tropical house and pop crossover star Kygo will return for another summer residency, as will Martin Garrix.
The word institution is thrown around far too readily when it comes to clubs, but Zouk Singapore legitimately lives up to that title. Not just as a world-renowned club with an illustrious history and global influence dating back to 1991, but because it’s been able to entirely relocate to a new location and venue and still retain its atmosphere, status and loyal following.
The last year has been testament to this; Zouk re-opened just over a year ago in its new riverside location on Clarke Quay and continues to claim its must-play reputation for world-touring DJs and world-travelling music lovers.
This is down to a number of reasons: the attention to line-ups, production and atmosphere remains just as strong as it has since it became a critical incubator of electronic music as it moved from west to east in dance music’s earliest chapters, but also its design and installation was taken care of by the same company who fitted their original location on Jiak Kim Street. This created consistency with the club’s 27-year legacy in terms of its aesthetic and vibe, but this time on a much grander scale as it offers two new lounge areas, two storeys and an impressive overlooking balcony as well as its two famed rooms: Zouk and Phuture. The former dedicated to the big EDM guns, the latter championing underground and deeper talent as it has done since Phuture was established in 1996, both Zouk brands remain as on-point and dedicated as ever with their line-up curations and support of the entire cross-spectrum of dance music.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Ask the likes of Apparat, Âme, San Hole, Jai Wolf, M.A.N.D.Y, Blasterjaxx, Sven Väth, Tujamo or any of the other high ranking artist who’ve passed through the famous club’s doors in the last year. Long may the institution continue…
Location: Washington, D.C., USA
The vision behind Echostage was always clear: a hybrid nightclub and concert venue that offers an immersive outdoor festival experience year-round with the comfort and convenience of an indoor space. Finding that sweet spot between the intimacy of a nightclub/concert venue and the bombast of a festival was born out of necessity to satisfy the growing EDM fanbase in Washington, D.C., and meet the ever-evolving technical demands of DJs and live acts. The team behind GLOW, the city’s longest-running EDM promotions company, answered that call with Echostage in 2012, which has since grown to become one of the most coveted venues on the East Coast.
The building where Echostage calls home is ideal for ravers and music lovers; housed in a warehouse space reminiscent of early-day electronic music culture, the venue features a large main room with unobstructed sight lines. Echostage then comes to life via its enhanced production and sound and lighting setup, which includes a D&B V-Series audio system, a giant 14-by-40-foot LED screen, tons of lasers, cryo jets, intelligent lights and confetti cannons. Collectively, it all offers a performance-centric production value rarely seen in an indoor setting. Echostage recently upped the production ante, upgrading the D&B sub amps to powerful four-channel DNB D80 amplifiers, a move that doubles the amount of available sub power, up to 48,000 watts on the subs alone. The venue also recently installed a new LED wall to further enhance the visual experience.
This is the reason why the biggest names in dance music have made Echostage a can’t-miss stop on their US tours, with recent bookings running the genre gamut: Diplo, Alison Wonderland, Sasha & John Digweed, Kaskade, REZZ, DJ Snake, Above & Beyond and many more. Whether you’re a festival veteran, a club-hopping raver or a live music fanatic, Echostage offers a taste for everyone.