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.
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Situated on Bangkok’s Royal City Avenue, an area famous for its nightlife, ONYX is a force to be reckoned with.
Set over two stories, its luxury-leaning aesthetic combines Art Deco design and a futuristic technological edge. With a d&b audiotechnik soundsystem complemented by stunning visuals and lights, its latest iteration, ONXY Immersive, promises to be unveiled after Covid restrictions end.
With the huge main room kitted out with lasers, LED lights, full-screen panels, dry ice machines and confetti cannons, Bassjackers, Wolfpack, Andrew Rayel and Firebeatz are amongst those who’ve brought their EDM-centric sound. Second Room, Odyssey, provides a more intimate experience, yet rocks the same high-spec.
Open seven days a week again once Covid restrictions are lifted, ONYX will soon be back partying non-stop.
Location: Ibiza, Spain
There's nothing quite like the experience of dancing all night long under low ceilings with bright pulsating lights — basement-style clubbing is the best. Getting all hot and sweaty is what it's all about. The venue previously known as Sankeys in Playa d'en Bossa, which morphed into Octan in 2019, boasts three rooms, a roof terrace, a super-chunky VOID soundsystem and strip lighting. It’s an absolute gem of a club.
The upstairs outside has been given a whole new look, with fresh canopy netting, green felt flooring, repositioned bar area and a new design from artist Nicholas Dixon.
Location: New York City, USA
When the team behind Elsewhere closed their first venue, Glasslands, back in 2014, they started searching for a new space to exhibit their underground spirit and continue showcasing diverse talent. In late 2017, they transformed a furniture assembly factory into Elsewhere — a 24,000-square-foot Bushwick hotspot, which welcomes up to 1,600 revellers nightly between the venue’s art-centric rooftop, indoor Main Hall, and upstairs art gallery.
The Elsewhere crew kept busy during the pandemic by redecorating the venue’s rooftop, fundraising for their tight-knit staff, and booking local talent with an emphasis on queer, POC and femme-presenting artists like Aluna, Jubilee and PENNYWILD.
Location: Kunming, China
Another club in China’s fast-growing One Third franchise, OTKun in Kunming — the biggest city in Yunnan province — was opened in January 2019. Like the original Beijing venue, this new iteration was designed by the Dutch creative team behind Tomorrowland, Live Legends, and cost a substantial 85 million RMB to build. A larger club than its capital city cousin, it occupies 5,000 square metres and is based in Kunming’s International Convention and Exhibition Center. Aiming to create an indoor music festival atmosphere, it has eye-popping visuals to match, with a video floor in the entrance hall and a plethora of lasers sweeping across its vast dancefloor. EDM superstars Martin Garrix and KSHMR have already played at the venue.
Location: Rome, Italy
The past year has been particularly memorable due to the pandemic, with programming cut back to focus on residents — no bad thing when you’re talking about Adiel, GNMR, Silvie Lots and Marco G., among others. “We never gave up,” says Goa’s Vittorio Paladino of navigating the pandemic. “We have been working on new projects and we are working to introduce you to new talents.”
Location: Santa Cesarea Terme, Italy
Club Capacity: 4,000
"All the Italian clubs are closed for the whole 2021," says Vincent De Robertis, CEO of Guendalina. "The government banned anyone opening from 16th August 2020 to 31st December 2021." Before that, from March to May last year, the historic club, known locally as "a Temple of Music for Excellence" managed to host lots of live streams and sit-down-only events in partnership with local and international artists. The likes of Peggy Gou, Jamie Jones b2b Seth Troxler, Amelie Lens, and Sven Väth all played, and a new series of live streams are planned for August 2021.
The southern club first opened right on the very heel of Italy in 1997 with "the aim of adding value to Salento and presenting the best DJs the world". Because of its location, the club is the first place to see the sunrise, and makes the most of it with events on its terrace. It also has a main room known as Arena, and a concert area for bigger events and live shows. Surrounded by luscious green hills and only a stone’s throw from the crystal-blue sea, Guendalina really is a clubbing jewel, with big plans for its own festival already in the works for 2022.
Location: Mykonos, Greece
‘Cavo Paradiso’ is Italian for ‘hollow paradise’. Although the Greek club of the same title is located on the island of Mykonos, the phrase perfectly describes the stunning space on the Aegean sea. Nestled on the side of a cliff above Paradise Beach, Cavo Paradiso opened its doors in 1993 as a sunset bar without a proper road to even reach the secluded setting. The club has since morphed into an internationally acclaimed venue, with artists spanning Adam Beyer to Skrillex attracting a diverse crowd of revellers into this chunk of utopia.
With one room equipped with a Funktion-One soundsystem, Cavo Paradiso is celebrated for merging the natural beauty of Mykonos with dance music. However, like all venues during the pandemic, the club adapted to Covid-19 protocols and is currently up and running for the rest of the year. ARTBAT, Diplo and Claptone have already kicked off the schedule, albeit at reduced capacity and with table service only. Booker and resident DJ Stathis Lazarides explains the club’s vision: “[We will] keep organising great shows, even amongst the constant change of rules we need to operate under and give people hope that no matter what the future holds, dancing will still remain an important part of our lives!” Enough said.
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Still Japan’s most famous club, WOMB has a celebrated history. For over 20 years, it’s been bringing the hottest names in house, techno and drum & bass to Tokyo, while an exceptional soundsystem and a stylish interior have made WOMB a giant on the world stage.
Based in the hip Shibuya area, tucked away on a side street, once inside, attendees are greeted by a high-ceiled space with a giant mirrorball (the biggest in Asia) that descends from the ceiling as the night progresses. The music wraps around clubbers, thanks to a soundsystem built by German company d&b audiotechnik, while LED screens add some visual sparkle.
WOMB’s business was heavily impacted by the pandemic, with several temporary closures and opening hours shortened. Unable to book overseas DJs, the club instead made a feature of some of the best Japanese talent.
“We turned our attention to local artists and organisers more than ever and created a new type of party without overseas guests,” says Yui Ishii from the club. “It’s also a great opportunity to meet new talent and discover the potential of Tokyo’s local artists and club scene.”
With the internationally celebrated techno DJ Nobu and seasoned pro Takkyu Ishino as residents, and regular appearances from plenty of upcoming artists, WOMB is nurturing a great future for Japan’s dance scene.
Location: Zrće Beach, Croatia
Founded in 1987, Kalypso was the first Croatian beach club, staking its claim as a forerunner of what has become the renowned Zrće club scene.
With a stunning seafront location on the island of Pag, its idyllic surroundings include hundred-year-old pine trees. In 2015 the club was upgraded to help emphasise its natural, organic character. It’s this that has made it a staple at festivals such as Hideout, Fresh Island, Sonus, Area 4, Black Sheep and Hard Island, who’ve hosted parties that take advantage of its pool and beach.
Reduced to quarter-capacity in the last year due to Covid, a strict entry policy has required a valid antigen test and proof of vaccination. But thanks to this, parties have been able to continue, with appearances from Cosmic Gate, Robin Shultz and resident DJ Moffous, followed by forthcoming dates with Deborah de Luca, Marco Faraone, Yves V, Merk & Kremont and more.
Mixing up tech-house and techno with R&B and hip-hop nights, this summer continues to build momentum, with festivals Barrakud and Lunar, and several Mamacita shows keeping Kalypso at the heart of Zrće Beach’s international reputation for open-air clubbing by the sea.