Location: Hangzhou, China
Occupying a former foundry, One Third Hangzhou is a further extension of the Chinese club brand, which also has venues in Beijing and Kunming. Also built by the Dutch team behind Tomorrowland, Live Legends, the club is designed to resemble an old train factory, mixing industrial grit with futuristic lighting and LED screens supplied by manufacturers Robe. A mezzanine looks out over the dancefloor, flanked by runways, while there are 12 VIP rooms for those who want to flash the cash. Dash Berlin, Martin Garrix, Pink Panda and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike are some of the EDM bigwigs who have taken to the stage there.
Location: Guigang, China
Capacity: 1,000 people
There is no easy time to open a new club, but just before a pandemic might be the most challenging of all. As the club was getting started back in December 2019, the Chinese government called for all people to self-isolate, so it was immediately closed for three months. Other than that, it has been operating normally. The space the club took over used to be a badminton hall in Guigang, a prefecture-level city in eastern Guangxi. It is a new, multi-use venue that describes itself as "an unlimited-style club, including brand, business, social, online and offline events".
In the last year, the club has worked on forging close relations with clubbers and businesses in the local area. Its brand and popularity have grown across the whole Guangxi province and now it is known across the wider Chinese music scene. DJs like Carta, Aryue, Una, Whybeatz, Giftback, RAYRAY, and Pinko will play the club in the coming months and bring a broad spectrum of sound — from trance to hip-hop to EDM. Brands like Trance Nation, the 0775 indoor music festival, and Rap Guigang are all regular hosts who fill out the 800-square-metre main hall, which boasts a French APG soundsystem and clean, luxury decor.
Location: Guangzhou, China
While much of the world had just gone into lockdown in May of last year, Space Plus Guangzhou was just opening its doors in the newly built Tiande Square, part of the Chinese city’s Financial District.
With over 5,000 square metres of space and 14-metre-high ceilings, Space Plus employs cutting-edge technology for an immersive experience. There’s Funktion-One sound, but it’s the club’s wider aesthetic — futuristic tech versus steampunk — that leads you into a world of stunning visuals, moving machinery and shifting scenery.
The Chinese government's track-and-trace efforts meant the club, which is otherwise open 365 days a year, was only out of action for one month — dancers just needing to show a '’green pass'’ for entry. The lack of international travel has shone a spotlight on local talent, including Pink Panda and Carta, and the club’s own residents, Felipe Zona, Dekova, Unicorn, Tea, 杨熙金 (Yang Xijin), Eco and Ada, plus MC Lee, their main MC. But clubbers have also been treated to virtual sets from Timmy Trumpet and Vini Vici.
If Space Plus is impressive enough, it's just part of a larger complex, Spaceland, which has continued construction throughout the last year. Promising to ultimately incorporate eight different dancefloors, as well as other businesses, it’s set to ultimately become the biggest club complex in Asia.
Location: Miami, FL, USA
Florida is one of the only states that didn’t go into a complete lockdown during the pandemic, and while the rest of the globe slowed right down, Club Space in Miami barely skipped a beat. The one-of-a-kind venue that put Downtown Miami on the dance music map almost two decades ago, is one of North America’s original superclubs, as well as being one of the few places with a late (read: 24-hour) license. You can easily escape from the world within Space’s confines, while still taking advantage of being outside on the venue’s beautiful outdoor terrace. Making nature part of its interior is one of Space’s signature design features, with hanging plants and a ceiling designed to look like the sky.
Space has been through a few different management groups, but its latest iteration has been a boon for the city and the dance music community worldwide. Space has hosted its usual top-shelf talent over the last year, including Claude VonStroke, Gorgon City, and Green Velvet. The club continues its non-stop festivities with Loco Dice, Moon Boots, Nicole Moudaber, Seth Troxler, and the return of Sasha & John Digweed — which sold out months in advance.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Nestled in Barcelona’s hip Poblenou neighbourhood, Razzmatazz (better known as Razz) has become a world-renowned venue. Having existed for over 20 years now, the venue’s prominence stems from having an ear pressed to the underground, while simultaneously spotlighting major artists. The club has focused on live acts as much as DJs, inviting the likes of David Byrne, Coldplay, Orbital, Pulp, The Strokes, Kanye West, Blur and Kraftwerk to perform there previously. Some of these artists played at Razz before their ascendancy to fame.
Founded in 2000, Razz is one of the city’s best venues due to its ability to appease a wide range of tastes. Comprising five halls, it’s the upstairs Loft and Lolita which mainly feature house and techno, seeing the likes of Laurel Halo, Dr. Rubinstein, Paula Temple, Kornél Kovács, Interstellar Funk, Tama Sumo, Mall Grab, Oscar Mulero, rRoxymore, and Hodge perform.
The pandemic shuttered Razzmatazz’s doors as Spain was hit hard. There hasn’t been a decision made on when the venue will reopen or what the future looks like. At the time of writing, it’s still yet to open its doors. Having become known for its eclectic taste, Razzmatazz has become a tastemaker in its own right. Here’s hoping it can return and stay open for decades to come.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Nitsa is one of the oldest and most iconic venues in Barcelona. It was first established as a dance club in 1943 and before that was an amusement park. You could say it still is, given the fun people have across its two rooms and open-air area. One is a former cabaret theatre and the other, remodelled in 2017, has a more modern, urban look and d&b audiotechnik soundsystem.
Aleix Ibars from the club says that during the year of closure, "we have been able to reflect and build stronger connections with other Spanish clubs, sharing thoughts and helping each other when necessary". To that end, in November, Boiler Room Festival will bring the good times back to this legendary club, with Octo Octa, Maayan Nidam and more.
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
With decks on the dancefloor and space for no more than 100 bodies, the one-room sweatbox that is Sneaky Pete’s is the beating heart of Edinburgh’s Cowgate club scene. But it’s not just the intimacy that makes this landmark venue so dazzlingly unique. The dancefloor doubles as a stage for upcoming bands in the early evening, before filling with neon red light after dusk to showcase heavyweight dance DJs across all genres. Genuinely cherishing all facets of grassroots culture, management worked relentlessly with the Music Venue Trust to secure government funding for Scottish venues while shut during the pandemic.
Location: Hong Kong
Boomerang opened late last year, replacing a long-standing Hard Rock Café in Lan Kwai Fong, central Hong Kong. Its prime location, high-walled rooms and cosy atmosphere made it the perfect site for a new clubbing experience. The venue currently boasts a Funktion-One soundsystem, kinetic panels, and an intricate light installation, including an LED backdrop for the DJ booth.
Due to the pandemic, Boomerang currently doubles up as a restaurant, offering Mediterranean cuisine during the day, but once travel restrictions are lifted the club will book world-renowned DJs for its soft launch. The brainchild of local spinner DJ Karlie, many believe it will become a key landmark in Hong Kong’s nightlife. Current resident DJs include iLtik, Yaman and Krayon.
Location: Bogota, Coluombia
The largest club in the Colombian capital, Octava’s trajectory began in 2015, and it’s been a confetti-filled whirlwind ever since. Ensconced in a five-storey building, the club carries a geometric design concept throughout, right through to its prism-shaped logo. Pre-pandemic, Deborah De Luca, Michael Bibi and Paco Osuna played the elevated DJ booth that dominates the main room amid clean-cut lasers. Considering the walls are 50 centimetres thick and covered by 4,200 foam pyramids, Octava likes to go loud — when it finally reopens, you can guarantee the soundsystem will undergo a workout. Expect a scintillating party, Colombian-style.