Clubbing today is a multibillion-euro global phenomenon. But as we well know, it wasn't always this way. Certain clubs helped pave the way for clubbing as we now know it, with a focus on dancing, music, and the DJ above all else. Many of these clubs helped pioneer certain sounds and genres that spread like wildfire around the world, giving rise to superstar DJs and game changing producers in the process. These are the 10 clubs that inspired all the rest.
Berghain’s predecessor, Ostgut helped set the stage for what’s become one of the world’s most recognisable venues, though a far more Spartan version, with just one toilet, two bars, and a few sofas enclosed in a faceless grey train repair house. Ostgut became a focal point for Berlin’s techno subculture, becoming renowned for its tough industrial sound and freedom loving vibe. It eventually closed, instead replaced by the O2 Arena, relaunching as what is now Berghain.
In 1994, James Barton, Darren Hughes and Andy Carroll, founded Cream at Nation in Liverpool. Before long Cream was attracting over 3,000 revellers each week, as dance music exploded in the UK. In 1995, Cream expanded to Ibiza for the first time and 20 years on Cream has become arguably the biggest dance music brand in the world, staging hundreds of international events every year.
Founded in 1991 by Dmitri Hegemann, Tresor’s original home was a vault in the former Wertheim department store in former East Berlin. A place where the techno was renowned for being of the most pounding and raw variety, helping to map the blueprint for dark, industrial raving that permiates Berlin today. Tresor still lives on after a number of new incarnations.
7. Venue 44
Renaissance started life out at Venue 44 in the unlikely Midlands town of Mansfield. Often regarded as one of the original afterhours sessions, many ravers would flock straight to the club fresh from nights at clubs such as The Hacienda and Back2Basics to catch Sasha playing for the final two hours until 7am. The initial years at Venue 44 helped propel the Renaissance brand to global heights, becoming one of the UK’s most esteemed clubs and record labels.
Sven Väth was just 24 when he opened Omen in his hometown of Frankfurt, after being resident at the previous incarnation of the club, Vogue. Väth helped Omen soon become one of the hottest clubs in Germany, where it is now acknowledged as one of the birthplaces of techno in Germany. The club was forced to close in 1998 due to problems with landlords.
A former Yacht showroom, the curved redbrick building on the corner of Whitworth Street West became The Haçienda in May 1982, largely funded by the record sales of the band New Order. Crucially, The Haçienda became one of the first places in the UK to play house music imported from the US, and the club went from making consistent losses to being full every night of the week by early ’87. The club then became a notorious hotspot for the acid house explosion in the UK, cementing its place in the annals of global dance music folklore.
After returning from a holiday on the White Isle in 1987 and experiencing DJ Alfredo at Amnesia, whose eclectic and unique selections had a profound effect on him and his mates, Paul Oakenfold and Nicky Holloway and Danny Rampling had the urge to recreate the Ibiza experience, leading tto the UK’s first Balearic rave club, Shoom, catapulting the Balearic sound into the collective consciousness of a generation of ravers.
3. Amnesia Ibiza
As Paul Oakenfold told us: "Amnesia is the club that started the whole movement." And indeed, without DJ Alfredo and his fabled Balearic sets on the open terrace, a few tabs of E, and a well timed visit to the club by Oakenfold, Danny Rampling and Nicky Halloway in 1987, both UK and Ibiza clubland might look very different today. Once home, the trio did everything they could to replicate that feeling, helping give birth to the acid house movement, and the 1988 ‘Second Summer Of Love.’ Their 2016 opening party takes place on May 14th.
2. The Warehouse
Chicago’s most famous nightclub, The Warehouse, is considered by many as the original birthplace of house music. Originally known for its R&B and disco soundtrack, the legendary Frankie Knuckles pioneered house music at the club by experimenting with disco and European electronic sounds. And of course, The Warehouse is so intrinsic to the world of house music that the genre was so named as a shortened version of the club.
1. Paradise Garage
Helmed by resident Larry Levan, who helped inspire the musical careers of giants like Danny Tenaglia and Masters At Work, as spawning its own musical genre, New York City's Paradise Garage helped give birth to modern clubbing as we know it, putting dancing first, with the DJ as the centre of attention, hosting what's still considered by some to be one of the best club sound systems in existance. Next time you're out having the time of your life, give thanks for the one that started it all.
5 clubs that narrowly missed the cut:
Twilo NYC - home to legendary sets from Danny Tenaglia and Sasha & John Digweed; helped give rise to progressive.
Fabric London - Still an institution today, one of the best clubs in the world.
Space Ibiza - Helped make Carl Cox a household name; 27 years later sees its final season under owner Pepe Roselló's command.
Pacha Ibiza - The Ibiza original, opened in 1967 and still going strong.
The Sound Factory Bar - Integral during the New York City house music explosion, residents included Little Louie Vega and Frankie Knuckles.
Chandler Shortlidge is the UK and European editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter: @ChandlerShort
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