Location: Cebu, Philippines
The Oqtagon, in Cebu City — a day's journey from the capital Manila — has been going from strength to strength for more than a decade now, championing the region's own homegrown talent (one of its key parties is called Local and Proud). A solid team of 10 residents, led by head jock Juan Pablo, keep things steady, while Korean DJs like DJ Koo and Justin Oh head over for the +82 parties, a celebration of K-Pop. “Being in the business for more than 10 years, 2017 was a banner year for us,” they reckon. 'We were able to strengthen Cebu's image as a nightlife destination, not just in the Philippines, but in the world.” Long may it prosper.
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
One of the city’s newest ventures, De School has fast become a valuable jewel in Amsterdam’s nightlife crown. Run by the collective that gave us Trouw and Club 11, the former technical school is now a space that attracts partygoers from far and wide with its 24-hour license seven days a week. Since it opened its doors in 2016 it’s been known to focus on local talent alongside key international DJs (often unannounced), giving artists those much loved extended sets. Whether it’s locals Job Jobse and Tom Trago, or Berliners Objekt and Tama Sumo; prepare to be taken on a journey.
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
One of several superclubs flying the flag for the burgeoning South East Asian scene, ONYX is two rooms, a leathering D&B Audiotechnik soundystem, state-of-the-art lighting, and seven-days-a-week partying.
Hosting EDM, trap, and hardstyle in the bigger of the dancefloors, Steve Aoki, Alan Walker, Quintino, and Tigerlily give some idea as to the kind of booking power the place has. Situated on Bangkok’s famous Royal City Avenue, the hub of nightlife in the Thai capital, while it’s not the only club on the street for many it’s the only club on the street.
Location: Hangzhou, China
With China’s club scene truly blossoming, Hangzhou’s SOS has a highly respectable position as one of the oldest venues in current club culture as it’s been inviting international acts and nurturing local talent since 2005. Fresh from its full refurb in late 2016, the venue has galvanized its role in China’s fifth largest city as one of the most exciting venues. Four arenas, all loaded with fine-tuned Fulcrum soundsystems, a good balance of party space and exclusive VIP areas and host to travelling superstars such as Steve Aoki, DVBBS, Alan Walker, Zomboy, GTA and many more, SOS’ position in one of the world’s most thriving club scenes remains as strong as it’s been for 13 years.
Location: Moscow, Russia
For years, Arma was one of Moscow’s main clubs for underground electronic music, hosting celebrated names like Zip, Silent Servant and Helena Hauff. However, it always moved about: a fire destroyed its first location and Arma was also subjected to ongoing harassment by the Russian authorities, which resulted in it closing down on at least four other occasions. The final straw for Arma’s organisers came when their 2016 Outline festival, alongside other events in Moscow and St. Petersburg, were also shut down. Since then, Arma says that it has ‘entered a de facto state of an international phenomenon’ hosting parties all over the world. Arma’s next big event is in Berlin in June, and in the meantime, the organisers’ label also continues to release left-of-centre music, most recently an LP by house producer Vakula and two superb industrial edits from Mick Wills.
Location: Miami, FL, USA
Located in the heart of downtown Miami, this go-to spot is reshaping the Magic City’s nightlife culture via its true after-hours ethos. As one of the only venues holding a 24-hour license in Florida, Heart is an essential destination for both clubbers and DJs who prefer marathon sets running late into the morning. Exhibit A: Erick Morillo once infamously threw down a 12-hour set, with the event stretching out to 40 consecutive hours with 15 other DJs. It’s a welcome approach to DJ culture for a 24/7 city like Miami, and it’s the main reason why Heart took home the Best Club: South title in our inaugural Best of North America Awards last year.
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
When it opened just after the turn of the Millennium, Sao Paulo’s D-Edge — with its state of the art LED panelling, designed by visual artist Muti Randolph — looked like possibly the most futuristic nightclub in the world.
Where other Brazilian clubs embraced the EDM revolution of the past decade, D-Edge has stuck to its guns and still books the coolest names in house and techno. This month they’re celebrating their 18th birthday with a 16-hour festival encompassing all four floors of the venue — Slam, Mark Broom, Ryan Elliott, DJ Heather and DJ 3000 are among the noted guest spinners, playing alongside founder Renato Ratier and lots of other Brazilian residents.
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
One of the biggest, longest-running clubs in Sydney is a near permanent feature in our Top 100 Clubs poll. The club has three different rooms all with an intimate feel, as well as a terrace. It has a broad remit that takes in house, electro, tech, bass, party mash-up, hip-hop and breaks, as well as plenty of key DJs from Europe when on tour. Sonny Fodera, Nina Kraviz, Marcel Dettman and more all visited in the last 12 months.
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon's enduringly cool Lux Fragil sustained its pivotal vibes through 2017 and into 2018, with some stunningly impressive programming. Rivalling any top flight club you could care to mention, there have been visits from Dâm-Funk, Prosumer, Optimo, Steffi, Danny Krivit, K-Hand, Jeff Mills, Daphni, Michael Mayer, Maya Jane Coles and Levon Vincent, spanning everything from weirdo electronica to driving Detroit techno. Elder statesman of house DJ Harvey chose the venue, along with the likes of Berghain, Ministry in London and Concrete in Paris, for his series of worldwide residencies. And he knows his onions. Long may Lux continue to shine.
Location: Moscow, Russia
One of the longest-running clubs in Moscow, Propaganda is widely regarded as the first club to bring quality electronic music to the Russian capital. With a host of local residents and international guests including Randomer, Black Loops, Slam and Mihalis Safras. Based in the heart of the city, its policy of inclusion and unpretentious partying has made it a haven for LGBT clubbers, who dance alongside businessmen in suits. During the day Propaganda operates as a café, before clearing the tables to transform the space into the institution its become, hosting parties every night of the week.