Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Academy LA’s rooftop veranda, The Patio, has always been one of its best features. During the pandemic, it became the venue’s lifesaver. The Patio’s choice location atop Hollywood, with both artificial and natural illumination, hosted outdoor dining experiences. Following sanitation regulations and pandemic mandates, The Patio was open for dinner and ‘house’ brunch every weekend. Accompanying your meal and aiding digestion were local DJs — who are some of the world’s best — and Insomniac-themed cocktails.
Like its sister venue, Exchange LA, Academy reopened in summer 2021 with Steve Aoki, JSTJR, Nora En Pure, Aly & Fila, and more. For its weekly Fridays and Saturdays, Academy teams up with Insomniac brands Bassrush, Dreamstate and Basscon for heavy-hitting talent. Having undergone a recent remodel, the club is upping the ante with its Funktion-One sound, 55 moving lights, 145 customisable LED curved ceiling panels, CO2 cannons and two patios, inside and out.
The venue’s summer Day Trip series takes advantage of the aforementioned The Patio. Every Sunday daytime Academy features top talent such as LP Giobbi, Mikey Lion, Walker & Royce, J. Worra and Claptone. Day Trip is planning to continue with Mr. Carmack, Township Rebellion, Eli & Fur, Will Clarke, and many more.
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Marquee is a mainstay in the DJ Mag Top 100 Clubs poll, and with good reason. Built in 2010 as part of the development of the Cosmopolitan Resort, this 60,000-square-foot venue was the first in Las Vegas designed with the specific needs of EDM performances in mind. Marquee also boasts an outdoor, adults-only dayclub, which has become famous for its Drenched After Dark Sunday night swim parties.
During the Covid pandemic in 2020 and throughout 2021, Marquee focused on enhancing the dayclub so more people could enjoy the outdoor experience. The club added a new exclusive section near the DJ booth, as well as five new cabanas. In the meantime, the main room — with its 40-foot LED DJ booth — is purring along like it always has, curated and calibrated just for dance music.
Later in 2021, Marquee is planning to launch a Sunday night industry party, as well as a more intimate weekly event called Low-Key Wednesdays, where deep and tech-house are the focus. The club’s Library room will be converted into a hedonistic, Tulum-style space too. In the meantime, Marquee’s regular roster continues to impress, with resident DJs like John Summit, Chris Lake, FISHER and Pauly D, and special guest spots from the likes of Angie Vee and Justin Credible.
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Only in Vegas can you wander into a world-famous casino and find a luxury Chinese restaurant that just so happens to moonlight as one of the best-loved nightclubs in the USA. In this luminescent corner of the MGM Grand, VIP tables and booths encircle a spectacular stage replete with smoke machines and confetti cannons, beneath an inverted pyramid of light fixtures which converge for a spectacular assault on the senses.
Such a setting deserves a similarly awe-inspiring programme, and Hakkasan manages this with a mixture of firebrand rap and hip-hop acts and EDM superstars. As with every club the world over, it was forced to close last year, but since reopening in April it seems neither the team nor its loyal punters have lost their appetite.
None fit the bill so fully as ever-present resident Steve Aoki, the long-haired veteran leading the charge for the dance contingent, alongside Monstercat alumnus NGHTMRE, Hakkasan newcomer FISHER, and Nicky Romero. With Tyga, Lil Jon, O.T. Genesis and even Megan Thee Stallion gracing the hallowed halls of the Grand in recent weeks, you can rest assured there is still no hotter ticket in Sin City.
Location: Madrid, Spain
Built from scratch in the southwest corner of Madrid, Fabrik is among Spain’s largest and most celebrated clubbing experiences. Comprising six rooms with differing vibes — but all boasting top-notch soundsystems — the club has become a staple in European clubbing guides.
Among the crowning achievements of Fabrik is techno night, CODE, which turns 18 years old in November 2021. CODE has played host to all the top names over the years, from Aphex Twin, Underworld, and The Chemical Brothers, to Paul Kalkbrenner, Richie Hawtin, and Carl Cox. The parties on offer in Fabrik’s calendar vary wildly too, including everything from tech-house to old skool, retro, and reggaeton nights. Hosted by resident DJ Raul Ortiz, La Resistencia, for example, is a great place to see some of the finest talent in Spain alongside key international acts.
The pandemic was tough on Fabrik — especially its staff — with the club remaining completely closed until June 2021. The space has currently partially reopened, with events taking place in the outdoor areas for now. Fabrik is aiming to reopen its many indoor areas (though still with some restrictions) in the autumn of 2021, and will no doubt continue to attract thousands of clubbers hungry for its increasingly legendary parties.
Location: Tisno, Croatia
The name Barbarellas may conjure up exotic images of Jane Fonda in the 1968 sci-fi fantasy ‘Barbarella’, or even, for those who’ve been to the club’s home in Tisno, Croatia, its beautiful surroundings of lush vegetation and the star-speckled sky that gives a cosmic covering to the open-air dancefloor. Both of which, we imagine, are more glamorous than 1970s Birmingham and the original venue that inspired Barbarellas Discotheque founder Nick Colgan.
Formerly in Petrocan, from 2006 and 2011, the club grew out of The Garden Festival and is a sister venue to the nearby The Garden Resort — acting as an after-party spot, accessed by buses and boat taxis. Offering all-night dancing, check the YouTube video of Harvey dropping The Bee Gees ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ as his last track to experience a sea of sweat and smiles in the morning light.
Rejigging their light rigging after a year badly affected by Covid, the near future illustrates the potent draw of the club’s enviable location: Defected bringing the likes of Armand Van Helden, Honey Dijon and Horse Meat Disco to Tisno, before Dekmantel Selectors, Dimensions and Outlook Origins follow over the rest of the summer.
Location: Berlin, Germany
Founded in 2002, over the years Watergate has become one of Berlin’s most iconic clubs, every week showcasing some of the most prolific names in house and techno. Situated in the district of Kreuzberg overlooking the Spree, the club is set across two floors: the famous Water Floor, which becomes drenched with light as the sun rises, and the upper floor, which boasts an impressive LED lighting system across the ceiling.
The club also runs a widely respected label under the same name; Watergate Records was born in 2008, since releasing artist EPs, LPs, and the famous Watergate Mix series (now into its 27th edition) that has featured the likes of Ellen Alien, Solomun, Kerri Chandler, Soul Clap, Catz ’n’ Dogz, and Culoe De Song. The label is still going strong, this year releasing EPs from the likes of Tim Engelhardt, Adana Twins, Extrawelt and more.
While the club hasn’t been able to open during the pandemic, Watergate has presented a series of livestreams hosted by its trusted residents JAMIIE and Kristin Velvet, and inviting other residents and friends, including Robag Wruhme, Kollektiv Turmstrasse, Mathew Jonson, and He.She.They. Trust that Watergate will be back in full force as soon as the restrictions lift.
Location: London, UK
Ministry of Sound is a world-class London landmark. It's a four-roomed beauty of a nightclub, a leader and forward-thinker, and it's just about to turn 30 years old! There are few places to dance that can compete with the main room, The Box, which has one of the best soundsystems in the world — it's a right heart-thumper, with Martin Audio ground stack speakers that surround the dancefloor. It also has one of the largest outside spaces for a club in London.
Like a finely-tuned and well-oiled machine, Ministry Of Sound has stayed on top of its game by paying constant attention to the wants of its followers. A large clutch of loyal nights have been the true crowd pleasers in recent years, like sparkling house purveyors Glitterbox and Defected, Groove Odyssey, Toolroom Records, Horse Meat Disco and Milkshake. It's the constant tweaking and welcoming of big-name DJs mixed with burgeoning talent that make up the club's success story.
So, Three Decades of Dance. It'll be three big events over September 17th and 18th, with Paul van Dyk doing a 30-years-of-trance set on Friday, a classic house act (to be announced) all-dayer on Saturday, and Groove Armada and Armand Van Helden on night duty.
Location: Limassol, Cyprus
Obviously being located on a stunning slice of Cypriot coastline doesn’t hurt, but Guaba is so much more than just a Beach Bar. The oceanside club has steadily grown in scope since its founding in 2006, becoming a superclub-sized space with an international reputation and a back-to-back stacked calendar, normally open seven days a week in summer (excluding during global pandemics, that is). Its main dancefloor, VIP area, and five bars can host some 2,500 people under Mediterranean moonlit skies, making it one of the most naturally beautiful locations to party in all of Europe.
The club’s 2021 summer programme — limited in its return by continuing restrictions — has already included a Fedde Le Grand party, and promises to slowly open up as things progress back towards normal service. Winters, however, are partially spent in hibernation at Guaba Beach Bar, working on improving and updating the location’s jungle-themed decor and boosting its powerful soundsystem. Back in the full-capacity days of 2019, the likes of Sasha, Hot Since 82, Paul van Dyk, and Salvatore Ganacci all stopped by to spin open-air sets, drawn in by the club’s famously laid-back and welcoming atmosphere.
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
“A year that we can’t celebrate together, but in spirit, we can,” announced Zouk KL, the sister club to Zouk Singapore, on Facebook last summer. Instead, the last 12 months have been a period of reflection, reminiscing about “16 years of spreading good vibes and dance music week after week”.
Launched in 2004 by Lincoln Cheng and Cher Ng, the club’s mission was to set a new standard in global clubbing. The largest club in Asia, it regularly attracted half a million visitors each year, drawn by its high-tech design. With the main room boasting a million LEDs and Funktion-One sound, and a warren of rooms throughout the purpose-built venue, the diverse crowds it caters to are drawn together by its rallying call: "One world, one music, one tribe, one dance".
Attracting both hip-hop and R&B fans and electronic music lovers, big international names such as Nicky Romero, Timmy Trumpet and Markus Schulz have played in the past, alongside local talent. International brands such as Red Bull, Ultra Japan and Cream have also put on events, further adding to Zouk KL’s standing.
Location: New York, USA
Capacity: The Brooklyn Mirage - 5000, The Great Hall - 3400, The Kings Hall - 800
Brooklyn-based Avant Gardner almost didn't exist. The gargantuan entertainment site — which comprises the Brooklyn Mirage, the Great Hall and The Kings Hall — is now defined by its industrial-alternative aesthetics. But, back in 2016, until last minute licenses came through, the venue was a series of empty warehouses. Now, with a combined capacity of over 8,000 people across an 80,000-square-foot area, it’s the second-largest venue in Brooklyn and has become a sought-after venue for any artist to perform in.
Having hosted the likes of Black Coffee, Aphex Twin, Dixon, Rezz, Disclosure, Kaskade and RÜFÜS DU SOL, the ever-changing venue is also a playground for Cityfox, the New York-based label which focuses on house and techno. After closing during the majority of the pandemic, Avant Gardner opened back in July. Celebrating the re-opening through sets from Bonobo, Maceo Plex and Stephan Bodzin, the venue is now looking forward to continuing its mission of “celebrating community and culture through a diverse calendar”. In particular, their Higher Level series — meant to showcase artists “at the top of their craft” and focus on figures of “historical importance” — the series epitomises the excellent craft and skill needed to perform at this stand-out venue.