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The best nightclubs in Melbourne

Melbourne’s dancefloors offer booty-shaking vibes aplenty

Photograph: Time Out

Cutting loose on a packed dancefloor is the best feeling in the world: but only when the DJ's playing your jam. If your problem is never knowing where to party, then read on, soon-to-be ravers.

Help! Dance music explained

If you like... Rihanna: 'We Found Love’ feat. Calvin Harris
You should dance to... House

By far the most popular dance genre, house comes from Chicago in the early ’80s and is characterised by ‘four to the floor’ beats (where the kick drum thuds on every beat). Mainstream house is often blended with catchy pop vocals and R’n’B melodies.

If you like... Darude: ‘Sandstorm’
You should dance to... Techno

Mainly instrumental, techno evolved in ’80s Detroit, and is heavy on repetitive thump-thump drum machine rhythms and layers of minimal melodic lines.

If you like... Daft Punk: ‘Get Lucky’
You should dance to... Disco

There's no shame in loving the lush, funk-infused sound of disco. It’s making a huge comeback at the moment – just ask Pharrell Williams.

If you like... Armin van Buuren: ‘This is What it Feels Like’
You should dance to... Trance

Emerging in Germany in the '90s, trance is all about an atmospheric melody or vocal line rising up to euphoric, synth-heavy climaxes.

If you like... Rudimental: ‘Waiting All Night, feat. Ella Eyre'
You should dance to... Drum’n’bass

Most of the world’s best drum’n’bass artists still come from the UK, where it was first dropped in the early '90s. Think hard and fast breakbeats, heavy bass and high energy.

Melbourne's best party nights


Mr McClelland’s Finishing School

Last year DJ Andrew McClelland (that’s Mr McClelland to you) and his finishing school were forced to abandon ship when their usual haunt, Bella Union Bar, closed in October. Luckily for party-inclined Melburnians the monthly party night landed on its (dancing) feet with a regular spot at Collingwood hotspot the Gasometer Hotel. If you’re intimidated by the doof doof of club party nights, Finishing School is for you. McClelland spends all night spinning the best of pop from last year’s greatest hits to the songs your mum listened to as a teen. It’s fun like your primary school disco, but actually cool.

The Gasometer Hotel, 484 Smith St, Collingwood 3066. 9pm. $10. Third Friday of each month.

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Funk never went out of fashion at Soul-A-Go-Go, and once you’ve been to one of the venue’s monthly party nights you’ll see why. Organised by community radio stalwarts PBS106.7, Soul-A-Go-Go is the biggest regular night of funk and soul music in Australia. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows what a 45 is and dancing is more shake your hips than bang your head. As well as featuring Vince Peach, the DJ for PBS Soul Time program, Soul-A-Go-GO regularly features live acts to get you in the old-school mood. If your perfect night out features dancing and good vibes then Soul-A-Go-Go should be your go to for getting down.

The Night Cat, 137-141 Johnston St, Fitzroy 3065. $40-$45. First Saturday of each month.

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PnB Fridays

Kick off your weekend with PnB Fridays at Laundry Bar. The Fitzroy club is the place to go for rap and hip hop in Melbourne, with PnB (that’s, ahem, party n bullshit) Fridays regularly packing out the house. Every Friday you can expect straight rap and hip hop playing across two levels. Got some dollars to burn? High rollers can nab their own booth and even a drinks package if that’s what they need.

Laundry Bar, 48-50 Johnston St, Fitzroy 3065. 9pm. Every Friday.

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Supersmall Club

Fans of themed parties assemble! There is a magical place you can visit every week that is always up for a bit of themed fun. Supersmall Club is on every Friday and Saturday at Good Things in South Yarra. Nostalgia is what the club does best: previous parties have featured The OC, Britney Spears and Spice Girls themes. It’s the sort of place you can shamelessly scream your lungs to ‘Wonderwall’ while drinking hilariously named themed shots.

Good Things, 147 Commercial Rd, South Yarra 3141. 8pm-3am. Free until 10pm. Every Friday and Saturday.

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Burn City Disco

House music is great and serves its purpose well (that is, giving inebriated people something to move to). But if you’d rather head somewhere that sounds like the ‘70s, then make a beeline for Burn City Disco at Brown Alley. The first Friday of each month is the club’s dedicated disco night with live new wave disco DJs setting up grooves all evening. You’ll need to shell out some moolah to get in, but for eight hours of disco bliss (it runs till 6am) it’s well worth it.

Brown Alley, 585 Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3000. 10pm-6am. $20-$40. First Friday of each month.

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Honcho Disko

Calling all LGBTQIA party people: the 86 bar on Smith Street is where you need to be every Thursday night. The dancefloor at this all-inclusive and wheelchair accessible party is heaving with disco and pop bangers from 9pm, and local drag and performance artists take to the stage at 10.30pm, 11.30pm and 12.30am. With $5 tequila shots all night and $10 cocktails before 10pm, there’s no better place to party with your fellow queers.

The 86, 185 Smith St, Fitzroy 3065. Thu 8pm-3am. $5 after 9pm.

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More ways to get your dance on