Location: Ibiza, Spain
Starting life on the former site of DJ Mag’s number one club Space, Hï Ibiza had a lot to live up to. It did it with impressive style, re-imagining the legendary location into a remarkable clubbing experience with state-of-the-art sound and lighting coupled and forward-thinking residents, nodding gracefully to all aspects of the island’s diverse musical history.
After an esoteric launch campaign full of personality, Hï kicked off with new resident Black Coffee inviting Luciano, Apollonia, Kölsch, Nic Fanciulli and Space resident Paul Reynolds. Later in the season, bona fide legends Armin van Buuren and Eric Prydz both transformed the The Theatre overnight with their bespoke setup, proving Hï’s versatility and ambition in its programming could be matched in its production. The LED screens that run alongside the walls, through the crowd and connect at the booth offer a seamless connection from the dancefloor to the DJ while the moving kinetic lights have to be experienced to be believed.
Off centre, the Wild Corner, or ‘disco toilet’ as it affectionately became known by the DJ Mag staff, plonks a DJ booth right in the centre of the unisex bathroom, with lights and lasers reflected from the all-black gloss floor and toilet doors. Island party-starters Melon Bomb brought the funkiness to this unique space, often capturing the attention of partygoers who came for the seats and stayed for the beats.
With former Amnesia institution Cream making its way to Hï for the 2018 season and Black Coffee, Eric Prydz, Glitterbox and Armin van Buuren all set to return, Hï’s entry straight into the top five of the DJ Mag Top 100 Clubs means it’s already carving out its own legacy on the d’en Bossa seafront.
Location: Zrce Beach, Island of Pag, Croatia
Given its location — right on the seafront — Papaya’s famous swimming pools almost seem redundant. That is until you see them in the throws of the club’s so-called ‘after beach parties’ — famously debauched late-afternoon affairs that have well and truly promoted this Croatian mainstay into the global dance music Premier League.
First opened in 2002 as a sister venue to the club of the same name in the country’s capital, Zagreb, the Zrce Beach address has grown enormously between then and now. The venue’s shell-like main stage, complete with powerful LED array, provides an instantly recognisable backdrop to the wider scene: thousands of revellers marauding around a site that comes complete with multiple levels and hidden corners, not to mention towering palms, its own shoreline, and, last year at least, jungle-themed decorations. Needless to say, the open-air setting is fundamental to the club’s entire personality, and atmosphere.
When the offering is this good the pull is always going to be huge, and Papaya is no exception to that rule. A 24-7 operation during the summer season, when its Croatian homeland becomes one of Europe’s go-to destinations for those in search of sun, sea, and serious tunes, between May and September the venue provides a base for more than ten festivals, including Hideout, Sonus, Fresh Island, Barrakud and Black Sheep, to namecheck just a few of the annual highlights.
All of which means visiting talent comes in the form of huge names from across the electronic spectrum and beyond, with variety one of the defining features in the line-ups. Paul Kalkbrenner, Major Lazer, Sean Paul, Marco Carola, Jamie Jones, Solomun, Don Diablo, Timmy Trumpet, W&W, and Lost Frequencies stopped by during 2017, representing the gamut from EDM to low-slung house and techno.
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Octagon is one of Seoul’s most popular nightlife destinations and no stranger to the DJ Mag Top 100 club listings. Last year the South Korean hotspot was number five in the running, for the second year in a row. Nestled beneath the New Hilltop Hotel close to the Han River, Octagon was once a three-storey basement karaoke bar but now resembles more of an industrial warehouse reminiscent of ‘90s illegal factory raves. Kitted out with a Funktion One soundsystem, the circular structure is also rigged with a state-of-the-art laser show and vast LED screens behind the DJ booth so the club is quite the spectacle for ravers on the dancefloor.
For the clientele wanting a more high end experience, there are elevators leading to the top floor VIP area where there are 80 tables to choose from. Adding to that, there are another ten private rooms that can be hired out if you so desire. It regularly attracts a celebrity clientele with past guests including Tiësto, Hardwell and Jamie Foxx. Not wanting to be defined by EDM which is what the club’s been best known for, the music policy expands into techno, trap, tech-house, hip-hop, plus it’s held album launch parties for Eminem and Maroon 5.
Over the years the club has hosted world renowned festival pre- and after-parties in conjunction with ZoukOut, Creamfields Hong Kong, EDC Japan, and Valley Rock Music And Arts Festival to name a few. It’s even ventured into the world of jazz by collaborating with the legendary New York venue Blue Note. Octagon is a go-to location in Asia’s ever-expanding clubbing landscape, and with a stamp of approval from celebs, dedicated locals and tourists from across the globe it will continue to fly the South Korean flag in clubland for many years to come.
Location: Ibiza, Spain
For many Ibiza regulars, Pacha is the definitive club on the island. Having first sprung up there in 1973, the brand has spread far and wide, opening sister clubs in Brazil, the USA, Germany, Australia and more. While Ibiza wasn’t the first Pacha opened, it’s considered the home of the famous cherry brand, with Pacha basing their HQ on the White Isle. The club itself has outlasted many of its rivals to become an Ibiza staple, having opened all year round until recently, further developing its relationship with the Spanish locals. Its New Year’s Eve parties are the stuff of legend, if you’re lucky enough to get tickets, and lucky enough to remember them.
Inside the Talamanca venue, lights, sound, size and style are all spot on, with the club hosting residents like Solomun, Maceo Plex, David Guetta and more recently Sven Väth, having migrated his landmark Cocoon night from Amnesia. The long-running Monday night party Flower Power is a nod to both Ibiza and the brand’s origins as a haven for like-minded hippies and revellers. Though Pacha Group was sold for €350 million last year, the Ibizan institution promises to continue to define the island’s ethos and style for years to come.
Location: London, UK
There’s a strong case for Fabric being London’s ultimate club. No other venue has held so steadfast in its mission. Located on the site of a former meat storage unit in Farringdon, the club has maintained an underground ethos since it opened in October 1999. Its key promotions Fabriclive (bass music variants twice a month on Fridays) and Fabric (house, techno and electro on Fridays and Saturdays) have made a point of booking the most skilled DJs and championing new subterranean talent, while WetYourSelf! On Sundays is a polysexual party with a minimal techno focus.
Its Saturday residents Craig Richards and Terry Francis are known for their deeply dug DJ sets, and Fabriclive resident Skankandbass has made a considerable name in recent times too. Never standing still, fabric has recently added a new night to its event line up too: Forms. This promotion focuses on house, featuring everyone from lo-fi boss Mall Grab to tech-house wizard wAFF.
Fabric’s three rooms boast cutting-edge sound. The flagship Room One has a vibrating “bodysonic” dancefloor, which immerses dancers in bass frequencies. There have been a few cosmetic changes recently: “The Room Two soundsystem was properly unveiled last year and has been a huge talking point for our artists and crowd,” says Kirsti Weir from fabric. “Room Three has also seen a change: we moved the booth to the centre of the floor last spring.” Plenty of reasons why, for a lot of you, Fabric remains your favourite club.
Location: Berlin, Germany
It’s one of the most secretive places in the world, but Berghain is also one of the most globally respected nightclubs to open its doors in the past few decades. Formerly named Ostgut (the inspiration behind its label counterpart, Ostgut Ton) it was a home for notorious male fetish parties in the late ‘90s, and in 2004 found a permanent fixture in the former power plant now called Berghain located in the Friedrichshain district. Residents such as Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann have become names synonymous with the techno floor, learning their craft on the finely tuned Funktion One soundsystem that staggers the concrete walls. Above is Panorama Bar, the safe haven for the house heads and often at its finest hour on Sunday afternoons. The shutter moments have become legendary; the moment those blinds lift to let shards of sunlight across the dancefloor are unforgettable. With one of the strictest door policies we know — infamous doorman Sven Marquardt has even written a book of his memoirs — it’s become a privileged moment for those who walk through the graffiti covered doors. Once in amongst the open-minded, anything-goes crowd, be prepared to stay until Monday morning.
Location: Cologne, Germany
It’s been 14 years since Bootshaus changed its name from Warehouse, when it was only booking techno heads like then weekly resident Sven Väth, and abandoned its Sound of Cologne ethos to embrace a more expansive mindset. In that time, its become a hugely dominant force that matches anything Berlin has to offer in terms of popularity.
Boasting 14 residents, playing everything from EDM and dubstep to techno, its three rooms — the festival flavoured main room, complete with HD mapping, flamethrowers and confetti cannons, second LED filled BLCKBX room and stripped down third room DREHEREI — each provide a different environ to match the style of whichever guests are visiting.
Across main promotions Gods & Monsters, Loonyland and Blacklist, the last twelve months have welcomed a spread of talent that stretches from DJ Snake to Sam Paganini, Headhunterz to Alan Fitzpatrick, as well as top tier EDM talent including Hardwell Marshmello and Deadmau5.
“All our events are more hyped than ever before,” confirms marketing manager Niclas Aigner on a growing success that now sees most nights sold out. Indeed, such is Bootshaus’ reputation it’s found itself on the receiving end of artists’ management actually asking to play. “Normally it’s the opposite.”
Location: Ibiza, Spain
Now entering its 44th season of hosting some of Ibiza’s most memorable parties, Amnesia’s reputation and influence on global club culture since its earliest chapters remains unparalleled. What first was known as The Workshop Of Forgetfulness in the ‘70s — a haven for people to escape their daily troubles — is now a worldwide chain with 16 bars and over 200 employees during peak season.
But no matter how big the operations and ambitions are, Amnesia has never forgotten how to put on an outrageously good party. Both in its cavernous main room and its infamous all-night terrace, its range of events and guests ensure its status across the full music spectrum: Whether that’s the bass-loaded free-for-all Together parties, its legendary Elrow sessions or Marco Carola’s epic Music On techno adventures, Amnesia offers the full spread of on-point, forward-thinking electronic music with the likes of Carl Cox, Chase & Status, Hannah Wants, Luciano, Richie Hawtin, Nina Kravitz, Chris Liebing and many more top level artists laying the law down and rocking the 18th century San Antonio building’s foundations.
2018 looks just as exciting as the club launch a brand new weekly event, Pyramid. Launching every Monday this summer, and inspired by the club’s iconic monolithic pyramid structure, no line-up has been announced yet but we have a feeling it’s going to be unforgettable.
Location: Zrce Beach, Croatia
The influx of festivals to Croatia has meant that local clubs have had to keep innovating to win the attention of visiting rave tourists. As such, Noa Beach Club has once again switched up its interior design in the last 12 months. The whole place is made out of wood, so the team also have a job maintaining it, and often have to replace any old or weak components. Ahead of the summer season, a whole new stage is also planned.
Big names from the EDM and trance world like Steve Aoki and Robin Schulz, plus more underground techno artist Fritz Kalkbrenner and mysterious house man Claptone have all played here in the last 12 months. There aren’t regular nights here, but throughout summer DJs are booked nearly every day, with key residents Aldo Morro, Robert MKC, DJ Miss Kay Dee, Marco Cole and Clay Clemens all providing able support.
Add in a D&B Audiotechnik system, nature-oriented decor with a lot of wood, palm trees, water elements, and a circular club design with views of the Adriatic, and it’s not hard to see why this beautiful space is so well loved.
Location: London, UK
London mega-venue Printworks really is one of those ‘see it to believe it’ venues, but once you have, it’s not difficult to work out how — despite only opening in February 2017 — it’s smashed right into the top 20 of our Top 100 Clubs list on its very first try. A colossal space that was once the biggest printing press in Western Europe, Printworks boasts two huge rooms: the seemingly infinite Press Halls, and intimate sweatbox known as the Charge Bay. Raw and industrial, and still housing much of the old machinery, it’s the ultimate warehouse venue — yet don’t be fooled into thinking anything about this place isn’t top-of-the-range.
Following two highly successful seasons last year, which saw everyone from Nina Kraviz to Andy C, The Chemical Brothers and Ben Klock tear it up, Printworks has just had a makeover courtesy of honchos Broadwick Live. Brand new d&b audiotechnik J and V-Series systems now give the space unparalleled sound, while the number of Kinesys moving lighting rigs — a feature which has come to define the venue for many — has been increased, and all new LED panels have been added in the main room. Having opened with Kerri Chandler, and with Klockworks, DJ Harvey’s Discotheque and another huge party from The Hydra lined up for the coming months alone, we’d be very surprised if Printworks didn’t continue to rise next year.