From Tiga to Trojan Sound System, Hot Since 82 to Kate Simko, we asked top DJs, label managers and promoters to tell us about their favourite places to party in mainland Europe – because if anyone knows about clubbing it’s this lot.
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Fluxus Ministerija, Lithuania
We once played a show in Lithuania in a space called called Fluxus Ministerija. It was an old shoe factory and felt like a squat party, but with about 10,000 people, loads of weird art installations and AV projections. You would walk through one entire section of the building, about the size of Fabric in London, then arrive in a massive hall with totally different music and people.
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It went on until about 5pm the following day. There were loads of crazy installations and sculptures, and a massive staircase that led to a tower, where some kind of poetry seance was going on. It didn’t have the sinister feeling you sometimes get at squat parties in the UK.
Lux is widely regarded as Lisbon’s top club, and with good reason. It has an amazing sound system (what bass-head doesn’t have a love for Funktion Ones?), wooden dancefloors, a big terrace, and varied lineups with lots of different club nights – including our own, the bimonthly Hard Ass Sessions. The design inside is always pretty crazy. I think it regularly commissions visual artists to design pieces for the club or just have a say in the decorations and it also has these video and light installations that keep changing.
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It recently added some stuffed polar bears, which actually freaked me out the first time I saw them. It has also been a traditionally gay-friendly environment. It’s a fun and weird place. Slightly posh but still pretty open to anyone, slightly artsy and brainy but you can still hear anything from zouk bass to heavy techno, and when you leave the club in the morning you can enjoy a drunken view of the river, which is nice. Oh, and it basically gave life to an area of Lisbon, opening the club, restaurants, a record shop and art gallery where previously there was nothing.
Nitsa Club, Barcelona
Nitsa has been my second home for the past five years. I spent most Fridays and Saturdays here before starting to play regularly in clubs, listening to the best artists of the moment and learning how to construct a DJ set by focusing on my favourite artists. The most special moment of a night here was always the closing sets, played amazingly by the resident DJs, especially DJ Fra (aka Ferenc) and DJ De Mierda (aka Marc Piñol). The best music I’ve heard in a club has been in those sets, always after 6am.
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I remember many nights, but perhaps my two favourite ones were Jacques Lu Cont and Erol Alkan in 2004, when the crowd invaded the DJ booth and security were not able to contain all the people; and Michael Mayer and Reinhard Voigt in 2005, where Mayer signed some vinyl for me and Voigt gifted me his T-shirt during his live show! What makes Nitsa special is its eclecticism.
From the outside, Concrete is a frighteningly huge boat in the 12th arrondissement with a top terrace where people chill out, have drinks and smoke cigarettes. But once you walk into the boat, you step into a techno-rave den. It started off as an after-hours party running from Sunday to Monday, but became so popular that it has taken over entire weekends. The DJ booth is most impressive in Paris, it’s a square and has the crowd raving all around the DJ. You have to fight your way through the tons of sweaty dancers if you want to catch a glimpse of who’s playing. House rules include, no pictures, no selfies, no filming, only good vibes. Every weekend, techno lovers, music geeks, young ravers and groups of curious middle-aged people cross paths on the boat’s dancefloor.
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This is definitely the Spanish equivalent of Berlin’s Panorama. It’s revered and is one of those real after-hours style clubs – seriously going all day and night. It does a night out in Ibiza but the Barcelona club, just outside the city close to the airport, has been created by one family (all the generations are involved to a certain extent), which gives the club a great community vibe. The crowd at Elrow are serious freaks: they party in style. Think Cirque du Soleil, drag queens, confetti … I hate that kind of showbiz style night but they do it so well and with so much detail that it feels incredibly decadent. The sun is beating down, it’s the middle of the day and everybody is going crazy. It’s simply exciting (and I don’t use that word very often!). Not all countries know how to party but Spain certainly does. -theguardian