Location: Shanghai, China
China’s dance scene has been in ascent for over a decade, and MYST has long been at the forefront of that march. The trajectory is set to continue, too, with an imminent relocation. We’re expecting the same epic production and D&B sound when that happens, building on a heritage that stretches to 2013, when the country’s most cosmopolitan metropolis got its first taste of what has grown into an institution. It’s welcomed the likes of Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Diplo, W&W and Yellow Claw in the last 12 months alone, and is understandably a regular presence in this poll.
Location: Guangzhou, China
Self-described as a “Disco and Club”, Catwalk is one of the most unique nightlife experiences in China. Located in the Tianhe District of Guangzhou, Catwalk has booked some of the biggest acts in the world, including progressive house legend Sasha and sensational sisters Nervo to headline the “biggest club in Guangzhou”. Known for being packed to the brim on any weekend, you’ll need to make sure to get a reservation before visiting if you want to be guaranteed entry. But once inside you’ll be treated to unique cocktails, an impressive LED backdrop and one of the most luxurious club spaces in the city.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Billing itself as ‘Sydney’s most iconic underground nightclub’, Chinese Laundry is an internationally renowned venue, hosting DJs from all over the world, as well as local Aussie talent in and around Bondi. With genres spanning house, techno, hip-hop, electro and breaks, Laundry has brought the likes of Detroit Swindle, Leon Vynehall, CamelPhat, Patrick Topping and Dusky to the picturesque Sydney shores. Opened in 1996, it’s still one of Sydney’s most popular party spots across two regular residences: LNDRY and Bassic. After a long day of surfing on Bondi beach, Laundry is the perfect heads-down wind-down.
Location: New York City, NY, USA
Brooklyn’s underground scenesters have found their new home at Elsewhere. The tall ceilings and winding staircases of the 24,000-square-foot, former furniture assembly warehouse contribute to the seamless navigation of this fledgeling hotspot, which opened in Bushwick during October of 2017. A true club for all seasons, Elsewhere’s rooftop features rotating art installations, frozen drinks and sunset DJ sessions during warmer months. The Main Hall (which has welcomed talents like ZHU, Magda, Nastia and Mike Servito) boasts a large, multi-tier dancefloor, but for Elsewhere loyals, the intimate ‘Zone One’ is the final destination for experimental sounds. “The first year is really about listening to your crowd and continually evolving the space alongside your community as it grows,” says co-owner, Jake Rosenthal. Long may that continue.
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Despite being open for barely three years, Vietnam's Envy is bringing cutting-edge EDM to the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, tailoring its vibe to that of 'an indoor festival'. But presumably with much nicer toilets. As well as hooking up the festival powerhouse Ultra for some collaborative parties this year — the first time the clubbing super-brand has pitched up in Vietnam — Envy has been feeding Asia’s seemingly insatiable lust for ma-hoo-sive EDM headliners by bringing in the likes of Tiësto and Hardwell collaborator Dyro, Krewella, Tujamo, Borgeous, Cash Cash, Norwegian wunderkind Alan Walker and Yellow Claw.
Location: Toronto, Canada
Previously operated as a live music venue, the Coda team have transformed this space into one of the hottest nightlife destinations in Canada. Featuring a four-corner stack soundsystem designed by PK Sound, and with notable bookings over the past year including Peggy Gou, Dubfire, Carl Craig and Hot Since 82, it’s no surprise Coda has earnt one of the two Highest Climber awards in this year’s poll. Clubgoers visiting the established venue are invited to experience the sounds of resident DJ Oddio or grab a drink and relax in the Coda lounge area.
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Located on the River Tagus, Portugal's coolest venue turned 20 in 2018, and certainly made sure it was a year to remember. Bookings at Lux Fragil — which houses a club space, bar and terrace — included Sonja Moonear, Dr. Rubinstein, Shanti Celeste, Job Jobse, KiNK, Avalon Emerson, Jane Fitz, Juan Atkins, Paula Temple, Peggy Gou, and two shows by Circle of Live, the live trio featuring Sebastian Mullaert, Johanna Knutsson and Tobias. And those are hardly outliers. Throw a dart at any Lux Fragil calendar weekend and you’re guaranteed to hit a party featuring the best DJs in the world — just the way we like it.
Location: Moscow, Russia
Considered one of the most important nightclubs in Moscow and certainly one of the longest-running, Propaganda has kept a unique aesthetic since it opened in 1997. Priding itself on an inclusive and unprejudiced door policy, it’s the place to find a diverse crowd of clubbers in Russia’s capital. Over the last twelve months, they’ve invited international guests like Sterac, Objekt, Privacy, and Dave Aju to play and the club holds long-standing residencies for renowned local artists like Sergey Timoshov and Sergey Sanchez.
During the day, Propaganda serves as a café highly regarded for its service and reasonable prices, before taking the tables away at night to transform into a raver’s paradise.
Location: Beijing, China
Located in the luxurious east side of Beijing, Elements is a frill-heavy venue and nightlife spot focussing on VIP experience. With modern design that ‘oozes sex appeal’, Elements has seen the likes of Steve Aoki, Alan Walker and Paul van Dyk grace its booth since it opened in 2012. Founded by Beijing nightlife mastermind and former DJ Mark Zhang, Elements covers the whole VIP experience with an impressive Turbosound system. Room two caters to a growing hip-hop and urban audience in China, with artists like Run DMC having played in the past.
Location: London, UK
Studio 338 came back strong after the devastating fire in August 2016. Now with renovated acoustics and new octopus lighting installation, they’ve continued to host popular day and night parties throughout the venue’s indoor and outdoor spaces. The outdoor terrace parties are a highlight throughout summer, plus there’s two indoor rooms — the main room having an impressive glass ceiling.
Over the past twelve months, they’ve booked the likes of Marco Carola, Loco Dice, Lee Burridge, Solardo, Pete Tong and the list goes on. The impeccable sound is thanks to a custom-fitted Void soundsystem.