A club with red lights filled with people
Photograph: Ben McQuaide Fabric LIVE

The 25 most banging club nights in the UK

We asked our local experts to name nights out across Britain that are really worth travelling for

Chiara Wilkinson
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Nothing beats a good night out. Throbbing speakers, banging tunes, quality mates – and a night of possibilities that may or may not conclude with a serving of cheesy chips. There’s just something about a sticky dance floor, a cheeky flirt in the smoking area and the legit camaraderie of club toilets that can make you feel properly aliveAnd listen: we know we’ve lost a fair amount of venues over the years, but we’d still argue that nowhere does a night out quite like us Brits.

This country has rich and varied history of club culture – from Manchester’s Haçienda acid house cathedral to Glasgow’s ever-evolving techno scene and dubstep’s foundational years in south London – all of which helped to inform the plethora of dance music we listen to today. But it didn’t stop there: it’s still evolving, and in many ways, still getting better. Every good club has some great promoters behind it, and these days, parties are institutions in themselves and deserve to be shouted about.

To celebrate the (many, many) quality nights out in this country, we’ve pulled together 25 of the best. These are nights out that are really pushing boundaries, nights that have established themselves as household names in their respective hometowns, nights that hold good values, nights that are nurturing their own army of exciting talent and nights that are just a whole lot of fun. This is by no means a definitive list, but hopefully it captures all of that (and more). Here are the best club nights in the UK right now.

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Top UK club nights

London and beyond

Have you heard the news? Northern soul is cool again. No, really. Childhood mates Will Foot and Lewis Henderson threw their first party in Deptford’s Bunker Club in 2016, making use of their rather hefty collection of soul records. Since then, they’ve played venues up and down the UK and established themselves as an authority on the genre’s renaissance in the club world. Vibes-wise, it’s pretty much happiness all round: gurgling vocals, contagious basslines and wax-fuelled grooves to keep your feet tapping all night long. These days, they have a residency at the literally glittering Moth Club in East London and continue to tour the country’s clubs and festival circuit, spreading that soulful energy far and wide. CW

Manchester

Since its inception in 2017, Mutualism has expanded to become so much more than a club night – now also functioning as a record label and producing the unique concept-driven podcast series, Datastreams. But it’s still on those sweaty dance floors – currently taking place in the basement of iconic Manchester venue SOUP – where the collective’s inventive, boundary-pushing take on electronic music truly comes alive. As the brainchild of DJs BFTT, Clemency and Iceboy Violet, Mutualism’s parties are predictably free-flowing, with sonic exploration taking precedence over any particular genre or pace: think UK bass, jungle and grime, but never as you’ve heard it before. Nadia Younes 

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Glasgow

Glasgow has long upheld its reputation for high-flying house and techno, and Jamaica Street’s Sub Club is arguably one of the reasons it’s still going so strong. Subculture is the flagship resident party happening every Saturday night at this buzzing basement venue, and it’s been around long enough to have learned a thing or two about throwing a party. Trusted resident DJ duo Harri & Domenic are on hand week in, week out, spinning the finest cutting-edge club music alongside regular guest appearances from fiery-hot selectors. CW

Cardiff

Headed up by founders David J Bull and James Teak, this long-running Cardiff party offers up the unique chance to dance in the basement of an antiques emporium. One of the most respected underground club promoters in Wales, TEAK has brought massive names like Motor City Drum Ensemble and the late Andrew Weatherall to the space, as well as trusty residents playing the best from the realms of house, techno, disco, acid and more. CW

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London

There’s just something about Fold. A 600-capacity club slap-bang in the middle of a Canning Town industrial estate, it’s one of the very few London venues which maintains genuine community vibes. And then there’s their in-house party, Unfold, which has become a bit of a legend in and of itself. Starting at midday on Sunday, it’s a 12-hour dance marathon for daytime ravers. With a killer soundsystem blasting squelchy acid, thundering techno and splintering breaks for hours on end, the line-up is kept secret and tickets are only available on the door. You’re also not allowed to take photos, meaning you’re free to make a complete tit of yourself and not worry about discovering your arrhythmic bopping on your mate’s Instagram story during your Monday commute. CW

London

The beauty of an Eastern Margins night is that you never quite know what you’ll get until you’re there, bopping and bouncing along in the thick of it. This series is all about platforming talent from east Asia, south-east Asia and the diaspora: we’re talking dazzlingly fluorescent Japanese cloud rap, Chinese-instrument-laced-club tunes, head-smacking hyperpop, crooning alt-R&B, hypnotic tape music and much, much more. Not just a club night but a collective and label too, Eastern Margins has taken over some of London’s most happening venues, from Venue MOT and Studio 289 to Peckham Audio and Colour Factory, as well as Manchester’s Soup. Over the years it’s been graced by the likes of rappers Tohji and Lil Mariko, as well experimental vocalist Organ Tapes and Japanese ‘90s Shibuya-kei pop legend Miho Hatori. Whatever the line-up and whatever the venue, an Eastern Margins night is always a unruly blaze of cross-genre, cross-continental glory. Ed Cunningham

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Leeds

For a big-smiles night out where chin-stroking is left at the door, Leeds’s Mixtape Project is a seriously safe bet. Describing its selections as ‘can’t-be-categorised tunes’, you’ll get throwback funk bangers, big dance-floor moments and contemporary pop. Its been throwing successful student nights for the best part of two decades now (these days, parties take place on Tuesdays at Hifi Club), but everyone is welcome here. One for when you’re craving a boogie to guilty – or not-so-guilty – pleasures. CW

 

Glasgow

If there’s a club night that’s guaranteed to make you feel a little better (in whatever way), it has to be Glasgow’s Healthy. With a commitment to inclusion, diversity and general good vibes, Healthy nights consistently combine world-class music – spanning everything from house and hyperpop to leftfield electronica and industrial – with a welcoming, friendly neighbourhood feel. Since growing out of subterranean club The Berkeley Suite, it seems there’s no venue Healthy can’t transform into a night out to remember, whether it’s full-scale all-nighters at The Art School, intimate get-togethers at community space Civic House or a knees-up at a little known working men’s club or disused function room. Claire Francis

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Sheffield

Walk past Bal Fashions during the day and you’d likely think you were walking past a row of boarded-up shops rather than a thriving independent nightclub. Well, technically that’s true. It’s a small club located in an old clothes shop next to the site of a demolished market. While a somewhat unglamorous location, it’s home to some of Sheffield’s best nights, including Apricot Ballroom. Hosted by hi-fi geeks Joi La Frique and Nonna Fab, the night is inspired by NYC loft parties and plays slow-burn disco, synth funk, jazz, soul and Balearic beats through their own customised audiophile soundsystem. They pull in guests from across the country to get intimate and (very) sweaty in a little upstairs room, cultivating a vibe that manages to feel both laid-back and fruity. Daniel Dylan Wray

Liverpool

The legendary Rum Riddimz Run has been going strong for half a decade now. It was born out of a passion for soundsystem culture and all of its accompanying genres – reggae, hardcore, jungle, breaks, you name it – establishing ‘carnival-style’ vibes and bringing in crews from all over the country to venues like 24 Kitchen Street and Meraki. It does what it says on the tin, really: phat AF speakers banging out all sorts of rumbles and grumbles to keep you skanking and dancing all night long. CW

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Bristol

Headed up by Mun Sing – aka one half of live techno duo Giant Swan – and DJ NE$$, Illegal Data’s events guarantee expertly curated eclecticism with a mischievous DIY edge. Featuring both live performances and DJ sets, their nights take in everything from hardcore freneticism to avant-garde electronica, grime and hyperpop with the likes of Lyzza, Loraine James, Iceboy Violet, and Golin playing over the years, to mention but a few of the names that have graced their events since the debut Illegal Data outing in 2018. These days, Illegal Data’s club nights mainly take place at DIY Bristol spot Strange Brew and community-owned space Exchange. Guaranteed interesting listening and good vibes all around. Kez Cochrane 

London

Prioritising women and femmes of colour and other queer, intersex and trans POC, Pxssy Palace has been curating safe, body-positive spaces across London for nearly a decade now – and it’s hard to overstate their influence on the capital’s club scene. Growing out of house parties thrown by Glasgow natives Nadine Noor and Skye Barre, the collective has garnered an enormous following and now throw frequent parties at London’s Colour Factory. They also launched their inaugural day festival, Overflo, last year. Clubbers are encouraged to wear what they want (‘there’s no pressure to dress up’) and dance the night away with abandon. Gabby Colvin

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Leeds

Based in the Mabgate area of inner-city Leeds, Cosmic Slop is put on in support of the local Map Charity (which offers creative outlets to young people at risk of exclusion from mainstream education), bringing resident and guest DJs alike to Hope House where a wide range of electronic, RnB and hip hop all feel represented. Floating Points tips the party as having ‘the greatest soundsystem in the world’, while Four Tet, Mr Scruff, Gilles Peterson and Joy Orbison have all stopped by for work and play, a testament to its infectious northern spirit. CW

London

Fabric’s in-house club night Fabric LIVE is probably one of the most foolproof parties going – not just because it’s an iconic venue, but because the programming is almost always spot-on. Expect excellently curated line-ups across a range of genres, spotlighting freshly emerging DJ talent alongside dance music veterans, MCs and – occasionally — live instrumentals. That’s not to mention the space itself: two rooms of top-notch soundsystems, no camera phones and a dance floor steeped in history. CW

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Nottingham and beyond

Wigflex is the brainchild of Lucas Wigflex, whose Nottingham-born parties have grown into ambitious city-wide festivals and 24-hour-long stompers in London’s Corsica Studios. These days, Wigflex is known for its staple stripped-back, jagged minimal electronic sound, but it’s the prestige and trust in knowing you’re in safe hands that makes this one of the best parties in the East Midlands and beyond. CW

Edinburgh

Born out of the 100-ish-capacity sweatbox that is Sneaky Pete’s, all-female DJ collective Miss World have been responsible for bringing some stellar female and non-binary selectors to the Scottish capital (Logic 1000, I.JORDAN, Peach, to name but a few). Their parties travel across the whole spectrum of dance music – from techno and disco to breaks and pop and everything in between – and the vibes are pretty much always immaculate. A much-needed addition to Edinburgh’s club scene. CW

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17. Torture Garden

London and beyond

Also known as Europe’s largest fetish club, Torture Garden throws monthly kink parties in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and other UK cities. As well as offering hook suspensions, couples’ play rooms and sex dungeons, the parties incorporate performance art, installations and fashion shows, and tickets for its strict-dress-code events (think latex, burlesque, rubber and uniform) tend to sell out in a blink. Escapism and consent take precendance here – after all, there’s a reason Torture Garden is still going all these years after it was founded back in 1990. It’s one of the rare places where you’re encouraged to indulge in your wildest fantasies, free of judgement. CW

Glasgow

Shoot Your Shot is the brainchild of Bonzai Bonner: resident DJ, host and curator. An established (and boundlessly creative) Scottish party showcasing queer performers, SYS has taken over all sorts of venues including The Art School, Berkeley Suite and Poetry Club, and hosted guests like Midland, London collective Big Dyke Energy, Eris Drew and Octo Octa. Bonner’s energy is as infectious as it comes, leaving the dance floor positively fizzing. CW

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London

Technomate is for and by members of the FLINTA* (Female, Lesbian, Intersex, Non-binary, Transgender and Agender/Asexual) community and their allies. As the name suggests, the music at Technomate is hard, fast and fun techno – attentive ravers might even spot a satellite dish hanging as a prop behind the booth, an homage to the satellite manufacturer the party is named after. With the cost-of-living crisis weighing on most marginalised communities, Technomate has taken great care in ensuring the party is as inclusive as possible: prices are fair, and they’ve set aside tickets for NHS staff, sex workers and those who have a low income. Following their debut performance at Body Movements festival last summer, they returned for the winter edition this month, and in March, they’ll be back on home turf at Tottenham’s Unit 58. Caroline Whiteley

Manchester

Taking over Mint Lounge in the Northern Quarter on Saturday nights, Funkademia is one of Manchester’s longest-running club nights for a reason: it’s where you go to dance. Duck under a velvet curtain and you’ll be greeted with a swell of heat, as iconic voices from the history of funk and soul get modern remixes, accompanied by support from a live saxophonist who moves among a vibed-up crowd. The audience ranges from students to seasoned Funkademia regulars, with one thing in common: no one takes themselves too seriously. GC

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Edinburgh and beyond

A staple name of the Cowgate club circuit, eclectic promoters Headset have been throwing frequent Edinburgh parties for almost a decade now, as well as expanding their reach to the dance floors of Glasgow and Bristol. The night caters to an eclectic mix of genres – UK garage, techno, bass, breaks, ballroom house and so on – and has some of the most recognisable club posters going. Over the years, they’ve welcomed the likes of Jeremy Sylvester and Yung Singh to their decks, and frequently spotlight Scottish talent like La Freak, J Wax and Neil Landstrumm. We love to see it. CW

Manchester

Warehouse Project has been running club nights for 17 years, catering predominantly to drum and bass, techno and house lovers with line-ups boasting heaps of big-name talent (the likes of Jamie XX, Peggy Gou and Disclosure all played sold-out shows last year). Now housed in Manchester’s sprawling Mayfield Depot, the events take place across three stages, with black box bars, scaffolding to perch on and lighting displays you’d usually have to spend a few nights in a tent for. Expect stuttering strobes and a floor that shudders in time to the most highly celebrated DJs of a generation. And with a capacity of up to 10,000 people, it’s safe to say your night out will be epic. GC

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Bristol

Revelling in the spirit of the free party scene, Alfresco Disco has been throwing underground raves and nights for the best part of two decades. The name is a reference to their OG ‘alfresco’ parties thrown in unlikely buildings: previous venues include a church, an abandoned royal mail building and coroner’s court. Releasing location and line-up details at the last minute and continuing to use creatively makeshift dance floors, the Alfresco Disco concept makes for a seriously hyped-up crowd – and parties that you won’t be forgetting in a hurry. CW

London

House of Trash has taken the capital’s queer nightlife scene by storm since it launched in the rubble of pandemic lockdowns. Launched by Drag Race UK star (and certified London icon) Bimini Bon Boulash along with mates Ollie and Curtis, Trash takes place every month at the late-night labyrinth that is Electrowerkz, where trashy tunes will be blasted to keep your booty moving all night. Parties are themed to encourage eclectic outfits, and yes, clubbers go all out. Tickets tend to sell out far in advance, so make sure you’re on it with booking. A scorcher and a half. CW

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London

Black artists pioneered electronic music, but during its commercial boom, the industry often propelled white artists to global stardom while Black artists’ work was left unacknowledged. Founded in the wake of the global Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Black Artist Database (B.A.D.) aims to address this gap through workshops, mentoring sessions and club nights across London. Since 2021, Black Artist Database has hosted artists like A Guy Called Gerald, DJ Flight, Lakuti and Tash LC, at their B.A.D. Presents nights at London venues including Corsica Studios and Colour Factory. The nights traverse genres and punters can expect to hear some of the most exciting DJs and legendary producers from across the electronic spectrum. Caroline Whiteley

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