The world’s best clubs, as picked by your favourite DJs
Big room or small? Bottle service or tinnie of beer? Low ceilings or podium dancers? From tiny subterranean caverns to big-budget Ibiza destinations, there’s no universal standard for the “perfect club”.
But no one knows more about the ingredients that go into a great night out than the selectors themselves, who spend an unhealthy chunk of each year’s 365 days on the road, commanding crowds in venues of all shades. So to find out what clubs DJs rate above all others, we quizzed eight of the world’s best and biggest on their favourites – asking them to take anywhere they’re currently a resident as a given. Here’s what they picked.
The Block in Tel Aviv, Gare Porto and more
“I have so many favourites. Every gig is special! But The Block in Tel Aviv definitely stands out. It’s got an amazing sound system, and the mixer was custom built by the club owner and it’s a dream to play on. And the vibe there is really good. I could play there for hours.
Gare Club in Portugal is great too. It’s got this really intense energy. It’s like this big ball of energy packed into a tunnel where you just lose your shit with everyone. Arma17 in Russia was really cool, but unfortunately the club itself doesn’t exist anymore. But thankfully it’s legacy lives on: it’s now an events company that runs raves in warehouse and old factories which are fantastic.
I really love Dommune in Tokyo too. It’s like a live broadcast over the internet, but the room technically is a small club that fits about 60 or 70 people and it’s such a cool energy in there. It feels like a family. And Gashouder in Amsterdam is awesome too because it’s just such an incredible location.”
Armin van Buuren
“If you really put a gun to my head and told me I have to pick one, I would say Ushuaïa. But that doesn’t really do it justice, because the event I did [in 2015] at Luna Park in Sydney was a one-off and it was really amazing.
There was a vibe going on. People make the party – not the promoter, not the DJ. At the end of the day it’s the people. You can have the best club in the world with the best sound system, the most expensive high-resolution LED wall, really expensive fireworks and lasers and whatnot – but if the crowd’s not there, and they’re not feeling the music, then there’s no party.
So, technically I really love Ushuaïa in Ibiza. I also think Echostage in Washington DC is also a really, really great venue, but that’s just because of the set-up. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the people that are inside.”
Fabric London, Zouk Singapore and Output in Williamsburg
“Fabric is still one of the best venues London has to offer. There’s another club in Singapore in Zouk which has been an institution for the Asian market.
There’s a club in New York called Output in Williamsburg and it’s just phenomenal – great sound system, you’re not allowed to make phone calls, take pictures, or film videos. It’s all about the music when you go in there. And it makes a nice change, to go to a club where people aren’t on their phones and are just dancing. That’s what makes it so unique. And so I end up playing from the beginning of the night until the end, I start at 9pm and end at 4am. There’s no two hour sets from me in there. I get to take people on a real journey, and I love that. So they’re some of the best clubs I like to play in.
I think biggest isn’t always the best. I think if you have a good 300 or 400 person club, the people are there because they want to be, because of the music. And that’s what makes you want to go out. You don’t want to be in a massive cavernous room where you don’t know anybody, you want to get to know people so it can be a social experience. So I really like the idea of a smaller club rather than a bigger club.”
Tenax, Florence and Space Ibiza
“I have many, many favourites and there’s a lot I keep returning to. There’s one called Tenax in Florence. I don’t know why, I just had a really good first gig there 12 years ago. Ever since then I’ve gone back every year, it’s a real event.
Space in Ibiza I’ve been playing for 20 years. It’s very close to my heart. At this point in my career I remember clubs with a good vibe to them, and I’ll make room in my schedule to go back to and play there again. Some are quite small clubs – they’ve just got that certain thing.”