Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Established in 2001 at Amsterdam’s former port centre of Oostelijke Handelskade, Panama is located right on the water, serving as a multi-purpose venue for gigs, dining, and other events in addition to the club. Having served for a century as a huge warehouse for generators and port machinery, the building that contains Panama boasts massively high ceilings, towering windows, and plenty of billowing space fitting for many of the bigger names in techno and house. Nights in the expansive space have featured the likes of Sasha, John Digweed, Timo Maas, Armin van Buuren, and Armand Van Helden, to name a few.
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
A devastating blast rocked Beirut in August 2020. The Grand Factory, housed in a transformed mattress factory on the coastline strip, was one of many places to be destroyed. Launched in 2014, it was a ‘second home’ to more than 5,000 clubbers weekly, bringing 400 artists every year across its three curated rooms.
The Grand Factory is determined to return by Christmas 2021, supported by fundraising campaigns. Until then, the strength from the team to push its local cultural scene has ensured its spirit still remains. Outdoor beach escape Plage Isolé was launched in the summer, while streams hosted on the Late Knights content platform ensure its community can keep creating.
Location: Badung, Bali
Holding its own in the DJ Mag Top 100 Clubs Poll for a second year — having made its debut appearance in 2020, just two years after first opening — LXXY Bali is the big fish in one of Bali’s busiest nightlife destinations. Clearly understanding the importance of first impressions, the decor, cocktail bar and rooftop pool live up to the opulence of the venue’s name, but this isn’t a case of style over substance. Hit the floor to find a top-end Bose soundsystem primed for residents and visiting guests, mind-melting lasers and LEDs, all making for a spectacular place to party.
Location: London, UK
With more than a decade under its belt and an envious track record of stellar residents, including Ben UFO, Flava D, Calibre and, most recently in 2020, Palms Trax, XOYO is undoubtedly one of the most respected clubs in London.
The club underwent a significant renovation in the year pre-pandemic, and its d&b audiotechnik soundsystem comfortably soaks the moody Basement and verdant Green Room in crisp, punchy sounds. In recent months, the club’s been bought by TEG|MJR, who have a significant presence across the UK. With Goldie and Crazy P locked in for respective residencies after the return, expect to see XOYO’s rep continue to rise.
Location: Santiago, Chile
Drum roll please... Not only has La Feria been celebrating its 20th anniversary, but it has also announced that it’s the first club in the world to operate with clean energy. The club is basically 100% solar-powered! We're talking 35 photovoltaic panels on the roof and main wall that generate enough energy to power the whole kit and kaboodle: lights, soundsystem, air-con, drinks, the works. Bloody brilliant.
Throughout the whole of last year, La Feria was open digitally, hosting a weekly online event in VR, with residents Andre Butano, Noon Do, Forero, Amalia Balbontin and Paralelo 86 welcoming the likes of Paco Osuna and Stefan Noferini.
Location: Newcastle, UK
Aaron Mellor took over this 1,200 capacity inner-city Newcastle space in 2004, quickly sourcing a game-changing Funktion-One Dancestack from Miami. Residencies at the club — which features four rooms, a VIP space and a separate live-music venue — have sparked healthy careers, with Patrick Topping as its most recent alumni.
Northern powerhouse brands Shindig, APE-X and New Monkey pack out its calendar, alongside touring promoters Cirque Du Soul and Clubland. Topping re-opened Digital in July, enjoying what was “probably the best atmosphere he’s ever experienced”. Carl Cox, Marco Carola and Becky Hill are booked this summer, while CamelPhat, Solardo and Sonny Fedora all hold dates for 2021.
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
The “Halcyon Hunnies” got fit during the pandemic with their weekly Body by Halcyon livestream series, where local San Francisco DJs and fitness instructors teamed up in the city’s beloved brick building and got everyone to sweat it out. The club, which celebrates its fifth birthday in its Halcyon incarnation this year, has added new movers to its lighting rig and upgraded to Pioneer DJ CDJ-3000s and a DJM-V10 mixer. The club reopened mid-summer 2021 with Desert Hearts’ Mikey Lion, open to close, celebrating the release of his ‘For the Love’ album. Nicole Moudaber, Seth Troxler, Franky Wah and Sama’ Abdulhadi are slated for future nights.
Location: Toronto, Canada
Opening its doors in 2014, Coda’s intimate size and PK Audio-equipped dancefloor was a welcome addition to Toronto’s music scene. Four speaker stacks line the space, creating an incredibly powerful and pristine sound. The bar is situated away from the dancefloor and it's all about atmospheric, low lighting — though, on occasion, special musical moments inspire the lights to turn up. “Coda prides itself on connectivity, community and dancefloor self-expression. It’s about unity through music and artistry and a place to be lost together, by order of sound,” explains owner Joel Smye. A strong mission statement, it’s been honoured through the years, building up a loyal and dedicated crowd.
The club has invited an array of talent, including Carl Craig, Sasha, Maya Jane Coles, Ben Klock, Dennis Ferrer, Seth Troxler, KiNK (live) and many more. With so many amazing artists from Toronto, Coda also celebrates local talent by booking regulars on rotation to play alongside the international headliners.
The club has been closed since the pandemic, but the team have been busy painting and making renovations ready for when they can open the doors to a full-capacity crowd once again.
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
D-EDGE is a key player in Brazil’s house and techno underground. The 18-year-old São Paulo venue has world-famous, space-station LED walls and a high-tech soundsystem, though there’s substance as well as style here. Synonymous with discerning beats, DJs like Thomas Melchior, Truncate, Loco Dice and Dubfire have all passed through in recent times, and the venue isn’t afraid to divert from the 4/4 script, showcasing futurist d&b artist Skeptical alongside homegrown hero DJ Marky lately. Owing to the pandemic, D-Edge has remained shut since March 2020; we can only hope it will return to deliver the best in subterranean rhythms soon.
Location: Zhuhai, China
Club Illusion has continued to build on its reputation as the go-to club for world-class DJs. In the past year alone, the venue has booked Armin van Buuren, Yellow Claw, Vini Vici, Infected Mushroom, and The Chainsmokers, relying on a weekly roster of top-tier talent to fill its 1,000-square-metre space. Current resident DJs include Kysa, Kira, DJ Pikachu, Cola, DJ Lee, and DJ Elephant.
Illusion has also honed in on specialised genre nights, introducing party-goers in the Pearl River Delta region to techno and trance events. Its Funktion-One soundsystem and surreal visual programming have taken the Zhuhai clubbing experience to a whole new level. Expect more in the years to come.