Location: Pirovac, Croatia
Barbs — as it’s affectionately known by the thousands of ravers who descend on Tisno, Croatia every year — was lovingly restored by Garden Festival founder Nick Colgan when he discovered an old open-air club that’d fallen into disrepair. Harnessing the spirit of the early days of Ibiza, he turned the discoteque into something of a festival staple, the official and sometimes unofficial after-party of the many events that now operate in The Garden, a former holiday camp for the military-turned-Adriatic boat party paradise.
Probably Croatia’s most famous and most infamous club, it’s set among the pine trees by the sea and features a slammin’ Funktion-One system. Barbarellas has hosted events such as Love International, Defected Croatia, Soundwave, Dekmantel Selectors and SuncéBeat, with the likes of DJ Harvey, Midland, Horse Meat Disco, Young Marco and The Black Madonna set to hit the booth in the summer of 2019. When the music stops at The Garden, you can even take a speedboat across the water to Barbs and dance the rest of the night away, right through till dawn and beyond. One for the party bucket list.
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
The Beatles, Michael Jackson, The Ramones, Kaskade, Markus Schulz, Erick Morillo are some of the responses to the question, ‘Who has played at the Avalon in its 90-plus year history?’ The longtime Hollywood landmark, transformed into Avalon — both in brand and in structure — in 2003, and since that time has been a consistent spot for electronic dance music. This doesn’t mean that the venue doesn’t get continuous upgrades, in all areas: aesthetics, audio and production, but you know you’re going to get your money’s worth, no matter what the night.
Avalon’s key nights are its staple Control on Fridays, where the best of the harder bass sounds can be heard, and the more high-profile Saturdays, where the marquee level of the DJ — Carl Cox to Calvin Harris, Tiësto to Sasha & Digweed — dictates the experience.
No matter what the night or who the DJ, Avalon’s immersive lighting and high-resolution LED installations, the largest subwoofer installation in any club, as of a few years ago, with six bass cabinets in the main room featuring 40-inch subwoofers.
If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, pop over to Bardot, Avalon’s club-within-a-club with its boudoir feel and inviting indoor-outdoor design.
Location: London, UK
Its cavernous, industrial space and epic waterside location make Tobacco Dock a truly unique clubbing venue. Based inside a 19th-century warehouse in Wapping, London, the former dockside storage facility is now home to epic and elaborate events including Drumcode’s infamous Halloween parties.
The sprawling space features plenty of reminders of its industrial past, with statues and staircases leading you around the more modern glass structures. Inside the main room — known as the Great Gallery — the building combines old and (very) new with a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system reflecting on the iron roof, modelled on the building’s original design. The laser system is the cherry on top, providing an immersive sensory experience.
Over the past 12 months, Tobacco Dock has hosted everything from Junction 2’s techno heavyweights and Hot Since 82’s popular Labyrinth event to lead promoter LWE’s epic New Year’s party. Spread across 16,000 square meters, it’s definitely one of London’s most impressive spaces to get lost in music in, with the production team constantly pushing the boundaries to create unrivalled immersive experiences. While Tobacco Dock may not be hosting electronic music events every weekend, when they do, they do it right.
Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Location, location, location. Sure, brilliant programming, first-rate service and a soundsystem that can rattle your ribs are all well and good, but the perfect location can truly elevate a club to the next level. Culture Club Revelin has that part of the equation nailed down.
Housed in a converted 500-year-old Croatian fortress in the historic heart of Dubrovnik, a short stroll from the Adriatic Sea, Revelin is the answer to that oft-asked question: what would it be like to go clubbing on a Game of Thrones set? A truly magical venue converted into a rave cave a decade ago, the party is powered by a 115kW Martin Audio soundsystem, which can really be put to the test thanks to the club’s three-metre-thick walls. They’ve cleverly kept many of the best traditional features, including the sprawling arches and keystone dome, while adding in modern touches, including CO2 cannons, confetti drops and a stunning AV set up.
Open nightly, they’ve hosted an impressive roster of DJs from the deep and tech-house, EDM and techno worlds in the past year, including Mark Knight, Claptone, Patrick Topping and Afrojack. Factor in very healthy support for their local scene, including a large cast of resident DJs, a new second dancefloor and that mind-blowing fortress location, and you truly have one of the world’s best clubs.
Location: Phuket, Thailand
Millions of people who flock to Phuket, Thailand each year also pass through the doors of Illuzion. It is hosted in a converted four-storey former shopping mall and is right in the centre of the capital. It’s a warren-like club, and it’s easy to lose yourself in the maze of bars, private rooms and balconies inside. Production is next level throughout the three rooms, with huge LED screens covering 100 square-metres, CO2 cannons, and aerial performers and dancers coordinated by a European choreographer.
Ten resident DJs play throughout the week and hip-hop, pop, commercial, live acts and the odd underground name all get covered. Tiësto, Nicky Romero, Martin Garrix, Soulja Boy and Afrojack are just some of those to pass by and light up the most comprehensive clubbing experience in Thailand. The building itself is always evolving and after adding a club called Empire last year, the roof has also recently been converted to add yet another dimension.
Location: Ibiza, Spain
Officially the world’s largest club according to the Guinness Book of Records, Privilege is mammoth in every sense of the word. Its cavernous main space has hosted the some of the world’s biggest DJs and extravagant events since 1978, including Manumission — one of Ibiza’s most infamous parties — in a previous life as Ku Club. Now, it’s home to some of the island’s most impressive event spectacles, its landmark techno party RESISTANCE bringing Adam Beyer, Sasha and Maceo Plex, Loco Dice, Charlotte de Witte and many, many, (many) more to the iconic dome.
As you might expect with overwhelmingly epic line-ups like this, the production matches the occasion, with incredible sound and lighting filling the gigantic space. Its glass-walled second room Vista tones things down in terms of size, but is just as epic when the Ibiza sun begins to peer through the windows after a night of raving.
Having already announced King of Ibiza and Global Ambassador for the event Carl Cox as a headliner for RESISTANCE in 2019, expect more of the same world-class DJs and events from the Ibiza staple. Other parties include SuperMartXé, a gay-friendly stage show and the urban powerhouse IAmARichBitch.
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Spectacle seekers look no further than OMNIA Nightclub, a 75,000-square-foot marvel positioned inside Caesars Palace on the dazzling Vegas strip. Residents like Calvin Harris, Tiësto, Zedd and Martin Garrix fill the atmosphere with thunderous hits that soar past the balcony and envelope the entire Metropolitan Opera-inspired room. Decorated with a 22,000-pound, LED-encrusted, kinetic chandelier that flashes and spins above the club’s main dancefloor, the multi-room mammoth’s extreme attention to detail is what sets itself apart from other ultra-luxe competitors.
“Technology enhances the interaction and storytelling to create an immersive, sensory and celebratory experience for the ultimate Vegas night out,” explains Executive Director of Marketing, Richard Alexander. Those craving a more intimate experience can slip through the glowing red hallway into HEART of OMNIA, a stylish space which trades in some of the EDM-infused fanfare for a plush lounge aesthetic. Deseo Latin Sundays, which feature top Latin talent and an exclusive prix-fixe menu from the acclaimed Searsucker restaurant situated next to the nightclub, have transformed HEART of OMNIA into a cultural destination for music connoisseurs.
In need of fresh air? Step onto the Terrace to experience unmatched views of Sin City. OMNIA’s winning roster and tantalizing interiors are certain to inspire “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” moments for years to come.
Location: Montreal, Canada
As far as effective self-promotion goes, it’s hard to beat Beachclub’s status as the largest open-air club in North America. With its 10,000-person capacity, the Montreal monolith offers an effective approximation of the outdoor music festival experience without the steep price tag or hassle of assembling a campsite.
Although Beachclub had been open for some time, assistant manager Olivia Nasr says the venue took its current shape after falling under new ownership in 2015.
“In 2015, the Primeau family bought and completely renovated the complex,” explains Nasr. She adds it was Beachclub president and co-owner Olivier Primeau’s mission to curate as accessible and affordable an experience as possible for Montreal clubgoers. Even with all of its success, the venue hasn’t rested on its laurels; the last year has seen a new DJ booth installed alongside a renovated soundsystem and larger pool.
Beachclub features two areas: its main stage is dedicated to live performances and DJ sets while the other, the back terrace, offers a more relaxed vibe. Besides EDM staples such as Zeds Dead and Martin Garrix, Beachclub has also brought American trap music fixtures Migos and reggaeton legend Daddy Yankee to the venue. For clubgoers looking to live it up, the venue offers cabanas and bottle service available upon reservation.
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
After celebrating its fifth-anniversary last year, the rather more lively US outpost of the usually pretty demure, upscale Cantonese restaurant chain continues to bring some of the biggest names in dance music to its Sin City club space, nestled inside the MGM Grand Casino. Steve Aoki should probably just move in, basically, to save him the commute. And Tiësto. And Calvin Harris. Maybe they could all get a flat share together. Over the past year, Steve, Tiësto, Calvin, EDM producer Illenium, and goblet-brandishing crunk legend Lil Jon have all held court as residents, the latter with his About Last Night events (which feature 'champagne fire drills and confetti sprays').
Later this year it will feature regular appearances from pop-dance sensation Zedd, Porter Robinson, Nicky Romero, as well as participating in the Exodus Festival events over the Labor Day and 4th of July weekends, spanning various venues around the city, including Hakkasan, with sets from the likes of Dutch don Hardwell. There's also a new residency from Toronto pair Loud Luxury for 2019 too. If VIP high-rolling vibes float your particular clubbing boat, then knock yourself out.
Location: Paris, France
The history of this now well-renowned Parisian club dates back to 1950, when the building it is housed in first held dance parties. Its current incarnation as Rex — hidden away in the basement of the Grand Rex, one of the most famous cinemas in the capital — was started in 1992 by Laurent Garnier and has arguably never been as popular as it is now.
Affordable drinks and entry prices paired with a stripped-back style inside means the focus is very much on the music, while events specifically focussed on empowering women also make stand this club apart.
Parties in the last year have seen Motor City Drum Ensemble celebrate a decade of his MCDE label, live shows from experts like Gregor Tresher, Octave One and Petar Dundov, as well as regular sets from the likes of Kerri Chandler, Ivan Smagghe and an all-night-long session from Amelie Lens. Tasteful, eclectic and on-point, these names help make Rex one of Europe’s most essential nights out.