London’s Top Clubs

Occupying former theaters, railway arches, factories and warehouses, many of London’s major clubs started out as illegal party venues, and Londoners are used to descending into the ancient heart of their city for a big night out. There’s indie, rock, pop and world music in the mix, but it’s all-night dance raves on the weekend that are the lifeblood of these huge spaces.


Clubland kings, Pacha, bring the spirit of Ibiza to south London

Pacha is the shamelessly glamorous antidote to London’s gritty clubbing scene. Their stated intention has always been to recreate the Ibiza experience in London, a policy which extends from their line-ups of top European DJs to the stinging prices on the door. Located in a historic 1920s building behind the very unglamorous Victoria Station, Pacha is dripping with glitterballs and chandeliers, and the building has original oak paneling and an elegant stunning stained glass ceiling. There’s a gallery overlooking the main dance floor, and a second dance area with its own sound system, plus a terrace in the summer. The crowd is stylish and beautiful, and you will definitely need to dress to impress here.


Head to world-famous Fabric for some serious dancefloor hedonism

Built on the site of a Victorian meat cellar, Fabric continues to boast some of the most sensational line-ups in the capital. Its global reputation is founded on diversity and willingness to showcase new talent alongside its brilliant residents, planning its nights around great music, rather than flying in superstar DJs. Feel the bass bleed through the speakers buried in the floor and recline in style on the famous bed seats at one of their top regular nights. FabricLive on Fridays is regularly rammed and draws some of the biggest names in breakbeat, drum’n’ bass, indie and electro. Saturday nights showcase underground talent, internationally respected masters of electronic music and established live acts, while Sunday nights (and Monday mornings) give partygoers a chance to indulge in some serious dancefloor hedonism with the Wetyourself crew. Because it’s such a famous brand, Fabric gets horribly crowded sometimes, but the best acts usually don’t come on until 3am, when the tourists have gone and the hardcore clubbers have space to party.


Former theater KOKO is the life and soul in Camden Town

KoKo offers a great mixture of live bands and club nights that have put it at the heart of the Camden nightlife. The huge stage, broad balconies and plush upstairs bars are a reminder of its former role as the Camden Theatre (which originally opened its doors in 1900), and the deep red colour scheme, chandeliers and gilt molding give it a decadent air that matches the rock stars who grace the stage. It has an illustrious rock ‘n’ roll history, having hosted The Clash and the Sex Pistols in the 1970s, and The Eurythmics, Madness and Madonna in the 1980s. It became a much-loved scuzzy rock club in the 1990s, before being restored and reopened in 2004.


Head to Cable for beats loud enough to shake London Bridge

Since the closure of clubland stalwarts The Cross, The Key, Canvas, Turnmills and The End, pessimists began to see London’s glass as well and truly half empty. But the recent influx of clubs popping up south of the river – and in particular, like Cable, underneath the arches near London Bridge – shows that the glass is clearly more than half full, as a new generation of nightspots rises from the ashes. Located in the Bermondsey Street tunnel nearby London Bridge tube, the 1000-capacity Cable is spread over three archways (each with its own bar) and two dance floors (with a bespoke soundsystem by European sound specialists Nova). Just short of a full 24-hour license, the club opens until 6am on Fridays and Saturdays and has grown both in popularity and size since opening its doors back in 2009. 2012 saw the unveiling of the mysterious third room – a sister club named Relay – which comes complete with its own independent line-up of live music, comedy and clubnights.

Proud Camden

Proud Camden is one of London’s most unique clubbing destinations

Not the easiest of places to find yet Camden Proud has easily found a place in the hearts of many. This art gallery by day becomes a superb venue for live music and parties at night, attracting up-and-coming eclectic acts as well as established stars such as Peter Doherty, Dizzee Rascal and Amy Winehouse. Located in Camden Stables Market along a cobbled back street, the painstakingly restored venue is spread between a large main room (with huge wooden beams propping up a high ceiling), the quirky stables of the 200-year-old Grade II listed horse hospital and a spacious terrace area with seating and winter-time heating. Individual horse compartments make for an amusing setting to drink and be merry, and can also be hired out for private events. Anyone who fails to be won over by the charm and uniqueness of Proud Camden must have got up on the wrong side of bed. This is a splendid, different and exciting venue with friendly staff, a trendy crowd and enough going on to keep you entertained and coming back for more. If you have yet to visit, we suggest you rectify that as soon as possible.


Big, shiny and Proud, this O2 based club really packs a punch

In the sad shell of the Millennium Dome, a superclub was born, going by the name of Proud2. Sporting one of the world’s most powerful audio sound systems, heaps of high tech art lighting and a Body Sonic dance floor (meaning that the floor moves with the music). This ambitious project was the brainchild of the nightlife masters who brought us Proud Camden; they took over the 2,600 capacity Matter club space, drenched it in decadent gilded glam, smothered it in chandeliers, soaked the walls in art deco and flung open their doors to throngs of eager partygoers. Proud2 is more akin with the type of clubs you might find in the Balearic Islands and, in hopeful anticipation of steamy summer weather, it is also the proud owner of London’s largest smoking area, which comes complete with its own bars, food vans, heated beds and state of the art parasols. Proud2 comes with all the superclub trimmings; a sterling lineup of world class music and wallet-draining prices to match.

Corsica Studios

Creative arts venue and much-loved underground clubbing destination

A superbly designed two-room club and arts venue that captures the feeling of an illegal party in a squatted industrial space – while still being clean, well-organized and close to central London. There’s absolutely no passing trade here (it’s pretty hard to find, in fact), so if you want to be sure of a night where everyone is there for the music, this is the place to go. Corsica Studios is home to many of London’s oddest and most daring clubbing experiences, with a consistent focus on the cutting edge of electronic and indie experimentation, all played out on two Funktion 1 sound-systems. The opposite of the polished superclub experience available across the road at Ministry of Sound.


Head-scrambling dance music at 24-hour party palace, Egg.

The fabulous Egg nightclub was well prepared for the smoking ban, with a fantastic garden and terrace which make it one of London’s finest summer clubbing spots. Egg is spread out over three floors and each one has its own distinct look and feel. The ground floor has an industrial look while the loftbar area is much sleeker. Well-programmed nights of house, electro and dirty beats (plus the ever-tempting draw of a 24 license) attract a wild polysexual crowd. It’s at its most hedonistic for the Sunday morning after-party Breakfast at Egg, when North London’s wildest clubbers converge to watch the sun rise and keep the rave alive.

Ministry of Sound

World famous Ministry of Sound is a clubland institution.

A massive sound system, huge dancefloor and a staggering roster of big name DJs has made sure of Ministry of Sound‘s place in clubbing folklore. The opening night back in 1991 heralded the explosion of superclubs across the UK. Boasting a crisp, clear, thumpingly loud sound system, and some of the best house DJs of the era, the club attracted thousands of hedonists south of the Thames every weekend. This giddy ascendancy was subsequently translated into various record labels, a clothing company and sister clubs across the globe. Of course, success on such a scale never lasts, least of all in clubland, and the buzz around the venue had stagnated by the late ’90s. Thankfully the last few years have seen the brains behind the operation quit resting on their laurels and sort it out. A welcome refurbishment of the interior and a creative injection into the DJ line-up means that Ministry is still well worth a look.


XOYO’s cutting edge clubnights are at the centre of the Shoreditch scene

Spread across two floors on an unassuming street in Old Street, XOYO functions as a living, breathing hub for art, music and cultural happenings. Although the main draw definitely appears to be its eclectic musical programme, their regular clubnights have seen artists such as Jamie xx, Mos Def, Jessie J and The Drums take to the stage, whilst Bugged Out! Neon Noise Project, Upset The Rhythm and Durrr are among the promoters who have signed up to throw parties. XOYO has a capacity of 800 and is spread across two floors; the main room is a high-ceiling basement housing three bars, mobile staging and a D&B soundsystem, while the similarly spacious ground floor also boasts an outdoor smoking terrace.

Electric Ballroom

Historic marketplace by day, iconic indie club by night

On weekends, the Electric Ballroom is transformed into a buzzing marketplace crammed with stalls, but during the evenings there’s an entirely different kind of activity happening here. Dating back to the 1930s, when it was known as The Buffalo Club, this is one of Camden’s longest-serving music venues. Hundreds of up and coming bands have taken to its stage. Everyone from The Clash, to Blur and Sid Vicious have played here. On Friday nights, the club hosts Sin City, which showcases rock and indie bands while Saturday nights are Shake, where you can expect hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s disco and Pop, plus all the current hits.

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