Clubland

By Playboy Staff Illustration by Robert Harkness

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It’s a nightclub of only-on-the-Strip superlatives such as newest, biggest, flashiest, priciest. The highly regarded Cantonese restaurant is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon, the lighting includes mesmerizing lasers and wall projections, cocktail tables have discreet drawers and iPhone chargers, and 10 jeroboams of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label go for a mere $30,000. Let’s hope you’re carrying the company credit card.

For the past 60-plus years, the slinky Parisian cabaret classic has tantalized crowds with avant-garde, fanciful, kitschy and incongruous performances by a bevy of gorgeous dancers wearing little more than lights, projections and Louboutin heels. Special effects and specialty cocktails heighten nude silhouettes (dancers’ bodies must comply with founder Alain Bernardin’s aesthetic criteria), and guests such as Victoria’s Secret model Noémie Lenoir and burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese occasionally join Le Crazy dancers onstage to perform naughty tableaux.

On the outskirts of Ibiza Town, in the middle of a parking lot in the Playa d’en Bossa resort, is a nightclub that’s more or less recognized as an island institution. The world’s most famous DJs drop in all season long to play to the huge, multicultural crowd. The decade-old Sunday party We Love Space is a favorite across the board. And though there is an egalitarian feeling in the air, VIP treatment can, of course, be made available on request.

The best afterparty in the city happens in a makeshift venue under a weeping willow on the banks of the River Spree. Cool 20-somethings come for the eclectic vibe, not to mention the nearly free entrance fee and lack of door politics. Pick up a girl on the tiny dance floor inside the boathouse, then walk outside on the deck and floating docks to watch the sky as twilight becomes morning.

Out-of-towners craving a debauched fantasy-Manhattan club scene—suits, stilettos, skin, scandal—may get their fill at this miniature gilded Hammerstein Ballroom. They’ll also appreciate the downtown nightclub’s jewel-box size, excessive indulgence and Theatre of Varieties: over-the-top Cirque-inspired stage acts of the burlesque, acrobatic, raunchy and ridiculous sort. Impress your voyeuristic lady friend by booking a booth close to the stage for the one A.M. show. Then swing up to the mezzanine balustrade for more champagne and a bird’s-eye view of the oddities below.

Scotland’s longest-running dance club can be found in a basement in the hard-drinking town of Glasgow. And because it closes at three A.M., it’s balls to the wall once the clock strikes midnight. The Subbie’s fine roster includes local DJs (Optimo, Slam) who have become international heroes on the electronic dance music scene.

If you arrive before two A.M. as your charming, nattily dressed self, you’ll have a chance of getting in. After that, prepare for a mob of well-heeled party people nearly bum-rushing the door. Every struggle has its rewards, of course: The atmosphere inside is celebratory, the mezcal is smoky, and the bourgeoisie is glad to have you.

A spectacular and somewhat clandestine venue—at once surreal and intimate—has instilled a new heartbeat in Parisian nightlife. The David Lynch–designed private club offers carefully programmed dining, drinking, film watching, live-band spectating and art-performance experiencing. Low lighting and gold leaf make the high-fashion crowd even hotter. Proper cocktail swilling builds bravado for dancing at Social Club next door.

The epic nightclub pulls all-weekenders: Friday-night parties roll strong through Monday morning. The door scene can get pretty theatrical, so put your best foot forward (without putting it in your mouth).

The weekly club night began as an alternative to the Hollywood scene. The party’s five residents are intent on linking L.A. hip-hop traditions with new technologies and special guests (Thom Yorke, Erykah Badu). The results are epic.

The insane 360-degree view is this rooftop lounge’s main attraction. DJs set up around nine P.M. and produce a fine mist of Brazilian bossa nova and electro over the streets of the most upscale neighborhood in São Paulo.

It turns out a slapdash building standing in St. Pauli is the dance floor to be on till the break of dawn. The space hosts excellent DJs from around the world, an antiestablishment attitude fills the air, and people hit the dance floor—hard. Once the sun rises and the last of the beers are cashed, the crowd disperses along the River Elbe.

The first nightclub in the city to get a 24-hour permit is a massive live-music venue and restaurant in an old newspaper printing factory. The main dance floor has rainbow lighting and an amphitheater feel, with the DJ booth front and center. Mixed-genre music, mixed-use bathrooms, the occasional art exhibition and movie screenings showcase the club’s cultural tendencies. There’s a strict door policy, but that makes the buildup to getting inside even better.

The latest straight-out-of-Brooklyn club is this vaguely tropical-themed hole-in-the-wall. Young, artsy, fashionable Bushwick characters, rebelling against the mason-jar cocktail scene, party on with whiskey and beer as the next generation of underground music producers kills it in the DJ booth. The night is young, the dance floor is sweaty, and everything is full of promise.

This no-frills-except-killer-acoustics dance club has reached landmark status—thank you, Prince—since it opened in 1970. It is so loved by the people of Minneapolis, in fact, that when it faced bankruptcy in 2004, the mayor spearheaded an effort to buy it out. From new wave to Nine Inch Nails to the excellent weekly Saturday party Too Much Love, the draw of this downtown danceteria is irresistible.


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