Dance music has always found its roots in the underground, where seminal clubs forged the culture that has become the style's backbone. While there are far more than 25 formative venues deserving of greatest of all time honors, Billboard sought to assemble a representative list containing standout clubs that span both eras and continents.
Sound quality is crucial in the dance world, and the award-winning Beta more than delivers in that department with a booming 72,000-watt system. Add in its proximity to Red Rocks, an enthusiastic fan base and consistent curation and you’ve got the perfect storm to build a Southwest dance foundation.
Sporting a killer sound, silver-screen recognition (Babel) and a laundry list of iconic artist bookings, Womb has been a foundational block in dance music's expansion into Asia.
Zouk has emerged as dance music's premier club brand in Southeast Asia since opening in 1991 and expanding to Kuala Lumpur in 2004. Its weekly Mambo Jambo parties are a local rite of passage, while its ZoukOut music festival has steadily grown over 15 years, bringing top talent like David Guetta, Tiesto and Richie Hawtin to the city-state.
French luminary Laurent Garnier opened, giving Parisian techno and electro a fitting club to call home. Rex Club would become an important focal point for the city's burgeoning scene, which included future superstars Daft Punk and Justice, as well as provide a contemporary niche for the Ed Banger and Bromance crews.
Since opening in 2010, the crown Vegas jewel of Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg’s Strategic Group has given attendees the over-the-top social and sensory experience that only Sin City can offer.
Miami has no shortage of glitzy and glamorous clubs, but this 25,000-square-foot behemoth takes the cake with its marathon sunrise sets on the terrace.
Designed by renowned Japanese archiect Arata Isozaki, this iconic club (which closed in 1997) played host to Junior Vasquez's epochal Arena party, which brought thousands of weekly clubgoers to his Saturday marathon sets.
Left unchecked, this quirky counterculture mecca along the Spree river might have blossomed into an intentional community along the lines of Copenhagen’s Kristiana. While Bar 25 and its successor Kater Holzig were demolished amid disputes with the city, its present incarnation Kater Blau is thriving.
São Paulo has emerged as a significant stop on house and techno’s international touring circuit in no small part due to these two iconic venues and the vision of owner/partner Renato Ratier.
During the “Madchester” era of the '80s and '90s, this former Bollywood cinema emerged as a staple in the U.K.’s burgeoning acid house scene.
One of the White Isle's longest-running venues, Amnesia opened in 1976 as a modest discoteque. It has since blossomed into a trend-setting megaclub that has hosted some of the island's most influential parties — from the long-tenured Cream and Cocoon to new hotspot Music On.
This seminal venue situated in the former Terminal Warehouse Company Central Stores Building was a key component of Peter Gatien’s nightlife empire. Tunnel, which closed in 2001, proved formative for the city’s underground house and techno scenes, as well as earning accolades for its unheralded Sunday hip-hop party.
While Detroit techno came of age in warehouses and underground raves, Motor gave the genre the venue it deserved after opening in 1996. Techno royalty like Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Richie Hawtin were just a few of the noteworthy acts to grace its decks.
New York’s Twilo will forever live in legend for Sasha and Digweed’s game-changing residency prior to its 2001 closing under pressure from then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
A Barcelona institution whose brand has been passed down like a family heirloom, Elrow’s name became synonymous with its famous day parties during its expansion into a global party powerhouse.
As long-time resident Joris Voorn recently told Billboard, Amsterdam’s dance scene is not the same without this cherished venue, which was as much an open-minded art and cultural space as a world-renowned club.
What began in 1991 as a London club with an award-winning sound system has since given rise to a hit-making indie record label, a global event promoter and a 24/7 online radio station.
Setting the bar for terraces worldwide, this White Isle institution celebrated its 25th anniversary last year and has expanded to Miami, New York and Brazil.
Often credited for the birth of U.K. rave culture, Danny Rampling's Southwark staple exported Balearic beat and acid house from Ibiza to a country hungry for new sounds — revolutionizing and defining the musical movements of the '90s in the process. While the club closed after three years, Shoom's 25th anniversary party in 2012 sold out in hours and promped the addition of an extra date by popular demand.
In the mid-'80s, Peter Gatien transformed this former Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion into an NYC clubbing mecca. Andy Warhol hosted the club’s opening party and it even earned a shout-out from Biggie on “Juicy.”
No club on earth commands the notoriety of this Berlin institution. While much of the media focus centers on its strict door policy and debauched atmosphere, quality curation in a unique environment sets this otherworldly techno dungeon apart from the rest.
Known for its stylistic variety, open-minded dance floor and revered mix series, this 1600-capacity London staple has evolved into one of the U.K.’s strongest dance brands.
New York’s hedonist haven spanned three decades and drew everyone who was anyone during each, including Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Salvador Dali, Grace Jones and Cher.
The birthplace of house music catered to the demographics that gave dance music its start — mostly gay minorities who treated Frankie Knuckles’ sanctum as their church. After FK’s departure, the club continued as Music Box under the watch of young resident Ron Hardy.
From 1977 to 1987, this converted parking garage on King Street became a bastion of disco’s underground and established the modern dance club’s DJ-focused format with legendary residents like Larry Levan.
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