In our fair capital of London, where the gin flows freely and the Cockney accents swirl, Nicky Holloway opened Velvet Rooms in ‘93, hosting nights from drum 'n' bass aficionado Fabio and techno don Carl Cox, as Danny Rampling opened the venue that spun a thousand tales, Shroom, before Ministry Of Sound matured from the NYC house-inspired club to the multimedia powerhouse it is today.
Times change, tastes change and cities certainly do, too, as threads of redevelopments and gentrification chomp at the heels of escapism and night-time hedonism. The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), which represents venues, stated that within the decade preceding 2015, London lost half of its clubs, and as our implemented Night Czar – enlisted to ensure London remains a thriving, 24-hour licensed city – also came under fire for the absurd 23:00 / midnight curfew imposed across Hackney back in 2018. This made the limitations of the glorified position that has thrived in cities such as Amsterdam and Berlin seem as if only a title that promised us the world, but didn’t even keep strong what already stood on our doorsteps.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Bolstered by a 24-hour weekend night tube, creating 2,000 jobs and boosting the city’s economy by £360 billion, a multitude of multi-disciplinary spaces, venues and super clubs have fought back -- and, along with established venues standing firm, have enriched what clubbing means.
Which venues are representing the diverse, thrilling and multi-faceted realm of dance, experimental and electronic music in London in 2019? Oh, we got you covered...
Ministry Of Sound
Primed and prepped for the biggest names in EDM, house and trance, the iconic superclub nestled within the transforming face of Elephant & Castle – a melting pot area of the Southwark borough of Central London - provides all-night raves and sets from bombastic headliners. Across what has now become four rooms since its opening in 1991, a ring of six bespoke Martin Audio ground stacks tower over, with recent names to play including Lost Frequencies, Roger Sanchez, Paul Van Dyk, Artwork, Claptone, Benny Benassi and Hernan Cattaneo.
In the neighborhood, La Barra serves epic fried chicken to set you up for the evening. For both the local Latin community and those further afield, the spot has held onto its rustic charm amidst the gentrification engulfing nearby areas.