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Poll Clubs 2019: Academy LA

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Capacity: 1,500

academy.la

Academy has a unique situation: it’s a super-club sized venue in the heart of Hollywood, that also has an expansive outdoor patio up top. The space has gone through many incarnations. Some may have known it as Create, others as Vanguard or Qtopia. With Insomniac and Exchange LA — two nightlife giants — partnering to give it yet another facelift in 2018, Academy now features a Funktion One soundsystem, customisable LED curved ceiling panels and an array of moving lights for a top-of-the-line clubbing experience.

Fridays and Saturdays are the key nights, but starting on Memorial Day Weekend at the end of May and running throughout the summer, Academy will morph into a daytime venue with its Day Trip event every Sunday. With the club’s musically open-minded format, in the past year, it has had everyone from Krewella to Snoop Dogg, Adventure Club, Paul van Dyk, Afrojack, Knife Party, Nero and Nervo grace its main stage.

No matter how many times you’ve been here in its previous incarnations, Academy’s revamp, with a lush, strategically-lit garden, decadent velvet draped VIP lounge, cavernous main dancefloor and even its slick lobby, will one-up all previous experiences.

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Poll Clubs 2019: Space Plus

Location: China

Capacity: 1,500

spaceplus.club

Space Plus is a club that offers way more than just music. Its main feature — aside from a Funktion-One system designed and tuned by Tony Andrews himself — is a mechanised spaceship that “embodies the spirit of exploration”. That is one of the reasons this place is the most revered in China; a venue that sets an example that many others follow, but also one that has branched out in 2019 with many new venues under the same umbrella, all around the county from Chongqing to Kunming and Changsha city.

The concept finds trance and EDM-inclined DJs like ATB, Thomas Gold and Tchami play in a club that boasts more than 700 square-metres of LED screens alongside countless rotating lights and lasers. Open 365 days a year, Space Plus hosts theme nights like Retro Party and Hip Hop Night, as well as more contemporary dance events.

“Space Plus musically still focuses on high energy main stage acts, while slowly introducing new musical genres in its programme,” a spokesperson for the club tells DJ Mag. This year, the club introduced a new nightlife concept brand Chaos, which focuses on house music and high-level live performances, including dance groups and live music acts. Add in the rooftop lounge bar — complete with swimming pool — and it’s easy to see why Space Plus is so popular.

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Poll Clubs 2019: EGG LDN

Location: London, UK

Capacity: 1,070

egglondon.co.uk

Founded in 2003 by Laurence Malice — who formerly ran the legendary Trade parties at Turnmills — Egg LDN is no stranger to the DJ Mag Top 100 clubs poll. Storming into our charts back in 2014 the club hasn’t dropped out since and even scooped the Best Large Club trophy at DJ Mag’s Best Of British awards back in 2017.

Boasting four rooms and a powerful KV2 soundsystem on the middle floor, they also recently refurbished the former Apothecary room into Cell 200, a new Funktion-One-laden, stripped-back basement club.

Fridays are generally more bass and d&b orientated, with Saturdays focusing on house and techno. Occasional Sundays offer varied promoters from Berlin’s Pornceptual to one-offs like Promised Land. The Egg resident DJs are Kyle E and Luther Vine; the former heads up in-house label What Came First and has earned his keep playing alongside Green Velvet, Omar S and Laurent Garnier, while the latter is an integral part of the Phonica family, with a wide-spanning record collection and exceptional mixing skills.

Never short of headliners recent guests include Charlotte de Witte, Matador, Goldie, Pete Tong and this year they’ll also be throwing a 16th-anniversary party with Nicole Moudaber, Hito, Arbat and plenty more joining them to celebrate.

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Poll Clubs 2019: PANAMA

PANAMA

Address: 
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Capacity: 
1100

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Capacity: 1,050

panama.nl

Sitting on the water in a century-old warehouse, Amsterdam’s Panama club has remained a beacon in one of clubland’s busiest cities for over a decade. That’s thanks in no small part to its tireless attitude towards improvement, having undergone extensive renovations in the last year. “We renovated the entrance to incorporate a new chill out area, and made efforts to improve the sound in room two with new amplifiers and processors,” says Panama COO Niall Dempsey. “But the biggest change has been the main club, where we installed a new and extended stage and decór, as well as an all-new lighting system, so we ensure we always stay in time with the rapidly changing music industry.”

2018 saw a wide range of artists come through Panama’s doors — including Paul van Dyk, James Zabiela, Steve Lawler, Roger Sanchez, Benny Rodrigues, Coyu, Hector Couto, Dennis Cruz, Heidi, Pfirter, and Ferry Corsten, amongst others — to play key nights like industrial techno concept Tram 10, trance night Luminosity, and weekenders like Jungle Dam, Cutting Edge and Abode. And with its continued focus on local talent, and its restaurant for pre-club fine dining, there’s almost nothing Panama doesn’t do well.

 

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Poll Clubs 2019: KALYPSO

Location: Zrce Beach, Island of Pag, Croatia

Capacity: 4,500

kalypso-zrce.com

A mainstay on the Croatian party circuit since the late ‘80s, Kalypso Beach Club on Zrce Beach is genuinely something a little bit special. With sweet-smelling pine trees to the rear and the glistening Adriatic in front, the 4,500-capacity beach club on the Island of Pag is about as perfect a setting as you could wish for. And thanks to a huge renovation project last year, it’s been updated to modern day specs, including next level production, a dozen bars to choose from and a finely-honed D&B soundsystem.

Covering everything from daytime pool parties, sprawling chillout areas and a dancefloor pulpit overlooked by balconies and terraces, it’s cleverly partnered up with big-name festivals like Hideout, Sonus, Fresh Island and Black Sheep, meaning the summer months run like a virtual 24/7 party. And they’ve backed that up with an impressive array of their own bookings, spanning everything from Pan-Pot’s rolling techno, the melodic sounds of Dixon and a legendary annual appearance by Ricardo Villalobos, plus plenty of EDM action in the form of Timmy Trumpet and KSHMR.

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Poll Clubs 2019: De School

De School

Address: 
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Capacity: 
700

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Capacity: 750

deschoolamsterdam.nl

A former technical school built in the ’60s, since opening in 2016, De School has quickly become the hottest ticket in Amsterdam — particularly thanks to a careful door policy that ensures only the true heads make it past the bouncers. A sprawling network of rooms offering various types of music, mesmerising art installations and chillout spaces, heading down into the smoky blackness of the brick-walled, Funktion-One-fitted basement offers one of the most intimate, enthralling and downright gully clubbing experiences in Europe.

The past 12 months have seen a plethora of cutting-edge underground talent perform, including Aurora Halal, Roi Perez and Tzusing; while the club’s renowned Het Weekend series makes the most of the club’s 24-hour license, bringing the likes of JASSS, Interstellar Funk, Call Super, Josey Rebelle, Eris Drew and Upsammy in for full weekender sessions.

All the programming is done by the in-house team, working closely with artists to ensure impeccable line-ups and strong relationships — reflected in the fact they’ve stopped even counting how many acts are classed as residents.

Add onto that a beautifully dappled garden space, a highly respected restaurant and the educational Het Klaslokaal lecture series, and you have a space that’s so much more than a simple rave cave (though it does that superbly too).

 

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Poll Clubs 2019: Cove Manila

Location: Manila, Philippines

covemanila.com

Just over two years after opening, Cove Manilla makes its debut in the DJ Mag top 100, so it is clearly doing something right. A go-to spot for EDM, progressive and tech-house, names like Pete Tong, DJ Snake and Diplo have all visited recently and played under the huge dome that encompasses dancefloors, a butterfly-shaped swimming pool that hosts indoor pool parties and cabanas with their own temperature and lighting controls and views over Manila bay.

 

The amount of tech in the place is staggering: it has HD LED walls, Tony Andrews’ Funktion-One soundsystem which produces ambisonic directional and acoustic sound, video mapping and a one-of-a-kind five-ring Kinetic Centerpiece that produces up to 10,000 special effects.

 

The venue is open four days a week from Thursday to Sunday, and mixes up old school, hip-hop, and local names, with Fridays under the UnCoveRed banner and aimed at bringing in the international names. “Sunday is a very special one as we throw an amazing daytime pool party till midnight and promote an exciting deep house music style,” says director, Heathcliff Motorga.

 

Cove combines luxury with a warm welcome from the local team and fantastic service. “Manila is still difficult for underground music, but our mission is to cultivate all kind of genres here.“ So far, so good.

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Poll Clubs 2019: SKY GARDEN

Location: Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Capacity: 5,000

clubskygardenbali.com

Imagine starting your night on Sky Garden’s famous rooftop: sipping cold beer and munching delicious all-you-can-eat buffet (for under £5) beneath the stars of Bali, while watching action movies on the nearby big screen or taking in panoramic views of the impressive skyline as a local DJ provides the beats. From there it’s time to head downstairs for insane VIP bottle service, as international stars like Dash Berlin, Steve Aoki, Yellow Claw, Axwell, Don Diablo, R3hab, Bassjackers and Afrojack regularly play on crystal clear Funktion-One speakers, while world-class visuals blast you into oblivion. It’s a reality at this massive venue, which contains as many as five rooms — a far cry from its humble beginnings as a rooftop juice bar in 2005.

Though Sky Garden has undergone constant renovations and improvements since then, upgrading its lights, sound, and decór, while continuing to bring the biggest acts from around the globe for an affordable all-in-one experience found hardly anywhere else. It’s no wonder Sky Garden keeps making the cut — this venue is in the clouds.

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Poll Clubs 2019: One Third

Location: Beijing, China

Capacity: 3,600

clubonethird.com

Behind its stark, industrial factory entrance, hidden by a huge sliding metal door, Beijing's One Third has quickly found itself at the epicentre of one of the fastest growing nighttime economies on the planet. Having only opened its doors in November 2017, its achieved such notoriety in such a short space of time that it already commands genuinely A-list DJ talent. This year alone, it has welcomed Martin Garrix, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, The Chainsmokers, Deadmau5, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Afrojack, Nicky Romero and Zedd to the controls.

But it's not beholden to international talent alone. One Third has hosted its own indoor festival, Made In China, showcasing an exclusively Chinese line-up of DJs. And in a move that clubbing brands the world over could do well to take notice of, it held another festival event this year dedicated to only female DJs, headlined by DJ Mag Top 100 jock and its very own resident, Mariana Bo. One Third is clearly blazing a trail in this emerging market, which, as little as five years ago, was barely a blip on the radar of world clubbing. Well, look at it now.

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Poll Clubs 2019: TRESOR

Location: Berlin, Germany

tresorberlin.com

It’s hard to imagine Berlin clubbing without Tresor. Dimitri Hegemann’s brainchild has played a pivotal role in the city’s flamboyant underground scene since it first opened its doors in 1991. Until 2005, the club was headquartered in the vault of the Wertheim department store, before moving permanently to a 22,000-square-metre power plant in the Mitte neighbourhood in 2007.

In its current form, the club has become synonymous with the caged DJ booth in the Tresor vault. But the Mitte venue has two more floors to offer — Globus and +4Bar — dedicated to more experimental and house-oriented sounds.

The club’s bookings read like a who’s who of contemporary techno, with Regis, DJ Bone, Robert Hood, Surgeon, Peter Van Hoesen, Octave One, Dasha Rush, DJ Stingray, Helena Hauff and Objekt having played Tresor in the last year.

Now in its 28th year, Tresor’s programming features events four nights a week, including its flagship Klubnacht party on Saturdays and famed queer night Herrensauna. And with its Wednesday night series Tresor New Faces, putting the spotlight on up-and-comers from the international dance music circuit, Tresor’s paving the way for the next generation of dance music talent.

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