Location: Cebu, Philippines
While 2017 was a banner year for Cebu’s crowning club jewel, OQTAGON, as it went on to place in the DJ Mag Top 100 for the first time, 2018 showed that staying true to its local roots with an eye towards the world remains a recipe for success. “Being ranked number 75 in 2018, OQTAGON marked itself as clubbing destination, not just in Cebu and the Philippines, but in Asia and the world,” says Marketing Manager Rey Dacalos. “With its campaign to promote Cebu to the world, OQTAGON highlighted its resident DJs, alongside local artists, with Local and Proud,” the club says about one of its flagship nights. Those residents include jocks like Juan Pablo and Boyet Ilustrisimo, with local names like Maxie Perez and Rich Rubillar on regular rotation.
2018 also saw the club book one of Asia’s biggest names, Seung Ri (Big Bang), in celebration of its eleventh anniversary, as well continuing to bring the best in international talent, and South Korean K-pop acts with the highly successful +82 party series. “True to the phrase Experience the Rage, it has become a byword in the nightlife industry, especially among the Asian tourists visiting the island on business and/or leisure,” the club says.
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Crobar is the most well-known club in Argentina, so it’s about time it makes its debut in the Top 100 Clubs poll — raise a glass and give the team a warm welcome!
Cocoon have held parties here in the last year, with guests such as Seth Troxler, Mind Against, Francesco Del Garda and Green Velvet also bringing real quality to the booth and no doubt helping its cause in this list.
The stylish and spacious club has a large main room with an LED ceiling and walls of lasers down each side. The booth is raised up at one end and there is also a plush area to chill in under an arched ceiling. The modern, industrial aesthetic welcomes younger people on a Friday, then a more mature clientele on Saturday. Next to the passing international bigwigs from the worlds of house and techno, there are regular trance parties called Pixel, and gay-friendly nights under the Rheo banner. Be warned, though, this is one of the more high-end, therefore high cost, places in Argentina, so take plenty of cash when you visit.
Location: Ibiza, Spain
Having re-entered the Top 100 Clubs list last year, Eden’s revival has coincided with something of a San An facelift. With a refurb in 2013 adding an impressive Void system, over the past 12 months alone they’ve continued to improve the AV setup and overall vibe with a new lighting rig, new CO2 system, new lasers and even improved the amps and processors on the already top-notch soundsystem.
Last summer saw the likes of Claptone, MK, CamelPhat, Roger Sanchez, Danny Howard, Amine Edge & Dance, Dennis Ferrer and So Solid Crew hit the booth, with everyone from Lady Gaga to Sasha having graced it in the past — expect more of the same calibre of DJs for the 2019 season and beyond.
As UK powerhouse Defected enter into their third season with their In The House parties, they’re being joined this summer by another British staple in Toolroom. Add to that their other parties like Paul van Dyk’s SHINE, techno offering Tronic and Idol, Eden continues to diversify and offer the West side of the island a wide range of styles and sounds, cementing itself as one of Ibiza’s top clubbing destinations in the process.
Location: Hangzhou, China
An SOS might be an internationally-recognised cry for help, but there’s very little wrong with the rampaging Chinese club scene, which has quickly become one of the key global markets. And SOS Club is a shining beacon of EDM in Hangzhou, the Zhejiang Province capital in the east of China. Launched in 2005, SOS Hangzhou is one of the oldest clubs in the region and — thanks to its VIP-friendly 2016 refit and rock-solid EDM booking policy — remains one of the most in-demand dancefloors in China. A large part of that is due to the club's festival-level production, while a local population in excess of 20 million offers a huge target audience increasingly raised on a diet of EDM with big beats and bigger basslines.
The action takes place over four distinct dancefloors and zones all powered by Fulcrum soundsystems, with eight separate VIP areas catering to the big-spenders. SOS have maintained their big-name bookings policy, with Don Diablo, Alison Wonderland and Krewella all delivering suitably seismic sets in 2018 with more of the same lined up this year. As distress calls go, we think SOS Hangzhou have this EDM emergency well in hand.
Location: NEWCASTLE, UK
Digital first opened its doors upon Newcastle’s Times Square back in 2005 with one of the most powerful speakers in the North: a Funktion-One Dancestack, one of the UK’s very first to be installed. Flown over from Miami by the club owner Aaron Mellor, it set the bar high for UK club soundsystems.
Over the years, Digital has expanded with new ideas and concepts — the latest being the smaller Think Tank room tailored for emerging artists and live acts. They’ve also introduced a brand new Saturday night called Carnival Of Fools, experimenting with theatrical performances and playing with the idea of an immersive clubbing experience. The venue now consists of four rooms altogether, plus a VIP area that overlooks the main club.
Regular headliner bookings that consistently pack the dancefloor include Sven Väth, Peggy Gou, Loco Dice, Eric Prydz, and local hero Patrick Topping. It’s also the home of some of the city’s most treasured club nights including Ape-X and Shindig, also recently debuting the all-inclusive queer party he.she.they with Maya Jane Coles and Honey Dijon. Digital is a true gem of the North.
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
When D-Edge opened just after the Millennium, it gave the expansive Brazilian city of São Paulo — and indeed the whole country — a welcome injection of a futuristic club vision. Adorned with LED panels everywhere, it quickly became a must-visit for touring international underground house and techno DJs (as well as helping incubate the thriving homegrown Brazilian scene), and as the building has expanded in recent years to accommodate additional space, it has remained so.
The brainchild of DJ/producer Renato Ratier, it remains one of Brazil’s most significant and much-loved clubs — as its jump up the Top 100 Clubs rankings this year again demonstrates. A 20 Years Of Fabric party happening this month — with Craig Richards and Ben UFO — gives you an idea of the esteem in which the club is still held. Or if you’re still not convinced, 2018’s roll call reads like a who’s who of top talent: regular parties include Mothership (bringing over the likes of Roman Poncet, I Hate Models and Jonas Kopp), Moving (Len Faki, Floyd Lavine, Priku), Freak Chic (&Me, Roland Leesker, Traumer) and the occasional night hosted by local drum & bass legend DJ Marky.
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
1900 Le Théâtre has transformed Hanoi nightlife in a remarkably short period of time. Located in a theatre formerly known as Quang Lac, 1900 has helped to breathe life into Vietnam’s electronic music scene. The venue sports two dancefloors, but keeps the focus singular with a lone DJ booth to house the artists who guide revellers through the night’s festivities. 1900’s resident DJs NgoKien, Get Looze, Duy Tuan, Kodeine, Mya and Waitee have been joined by some of the biggest names in bass music, many of whom have stopped by through the venue’s recurring Roadtrip to 1900 series. San Holo, Tchami, What So Not and Zomboy are just a few of the artists to pass through the increasingly popular spot.
In addition to the strength of its bookings, 1900 has also set an example for other Vietnam clubs by remaining open for the duration of the week, rather than just Fridays and Saturdays. The venue’s student night — which offers free entry and two drinks for students or people under 22 — has helped to solidify 1900’s standing as a destination for young people and adventurous tourists alike. While one club employee touted visits by Ferry Corsten and Tchami as among the most memorable happenings at 1900 in recent memories, it seems the best is still yet to come.
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
Deep in the heart of the city of Lausanne lies MAD Club. Located in an old metal factory and what was once a theatre hall, nowadays it's one of the most luminous clubs in the uber-trendy Flon district. Running since 1985, MAD has had plenty of headliner DJs grace the decks over the years; most recently the likes of Afrojack, Marco Carola, Claptone and Hardwell have taken the stage. The venue itself has four dancefloors equipped with L’Acoustic Kudo soundsystems, and a restaurant (the BED steakhouse no less, for a proper feed before the rave), and each floor has its own theme from industrial to Moroccan.
A LED wall adorns the back of the stage for maximum visual effect, and the state-of-the-art lighting system displays various hues across the dancefloor at any given time. They also host monthly label parties for R3volution, Apodia, Pura Vida and Affinity — the latter inviting acts like Nicky Romero and Bassjackers. No wonder the club is constantly busy, with a regular following of over 6,000 loyal clubbers. MAD continues to grow in popularity as it continues to climb the DJ Mag Top 100 poll — the only way is up, as they say!
Location: Santa Cesarea Terme, Italy
Capacity: 3,000 (club), 5,000 (arena)
Guendalina is a massive open-air venue, located in the small town of Santa Cesarea Terme in the south of the Apulia region. Having opened in 1997, the venue now also spans a club, a terrace, bar and pool area and a 5,000-capacity outdoor arena. Dubbed Pyrex Arena, it played host to a festival under the same name, launched by Guendalina in 2018. The inaugural edition of the event was headlined by Joseph Capriati, Marco Carola, Paul Kalkbrenner, The Martinez Brothers, Butch, Chris Liebing and Solomun. Global throttling headliners aside, the club is also praised for its residents Gianni Sabato and Francesco Dinoia.
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
You will find Onyx Club on the most fabulous street in Bangkok. Previously home to hundreds of smaller clubs and bars, many have merged into bigger spaces and now attract thousands of tourists. Onyx is the biggest of the lot and over the last year it has upgraded all of its facilities to be more comfortable and luxurious than ever, as customer experience and service is prized highly in the nightlife sector of the East.
The venue is split up into two rooms; the large Mainstage and more intimate Odyssey. Overall, the venue itself has more than a hundred moving lights, giant LED screens, and a special D&B Audiotechnik soundsystem, while the general décor and design is influenced by post-modern ’70s-style architecture.
Guests like Alan Walker, Zedd, Steve Aoki and Swanky Tunes give you an idea of the sort of musical MO of the club, but because it is open every day you can always be sure of a few surprises throughout the week.