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Poll Clubs 2016: YALTA

Yalta

Poll Address: 
Sofia, Bulgaria
Capacity: 
1600
Synonym: 
yalta (sofia)

“For many Bulgarians, Yalta is where it all started,” explains Kliment Yonchev, one of the main men behind Sofia’s famous nightspot. Far from a marketing line, when you take into account this club’s history, he has a point. 

Following a re-opening in 2005, partying at Yalta became more akin to a session in someone’s home. Everything from the furniture and floorplan to lights and speaker stacks gives the impression of a private shindig, as wild as it is personal. Add to this a backstory that began when the first revellers passed through its doors in 1959, saw the arrival of electronic music in the country, circa 1989, not to mention Bulgaria’s first international DJ booking three years on, and you realise how special the place is. 

Bringing things up to date, Yalta currently focusses on the underground, and its main room is now more reminiscent of an industrial hall, with bookings to match. Local residents — Liubo Ursiny, Stefan Popov, Runo and Philip Chernikov — have control on Fridays, with guests like NOIR, Blond:ish, Dixon, Tiga, Roger Sanchez, Ricardo Villalobos, Guy J, Subb-An and Deep Dish joining every Saturday. Or at least that’s how the last 12 months have looked.

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Poll Clubs 2016: EL FORTIN

When El Fortin entered our Top 100 last year, we predicted it wouldn't be for the last time — oh, how we love it when we're right. Making its home on a stretch of Brazilian coastline renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, the club has dropped slightly in capacity since our 2015 poll, however investments have been made in improving the structure (now hosting three stages instead of two), soundsystem and staffing. And let's face it, 6000 people is still more than enough for a decent party.

El Fortin may sit only a stone's throw from the likes of Warung and the festival-like clubbing mecca that is Green Valley, but still pulls in the very best names in house and techno. The past year has seen international sensations such as Boris Brejcha, Green Velvet, Pleasurekraft and Amine Edge & DANCE in the booth, along with a wealth of homegrown talent, including Volkoder, Victor Ruiz and Fabrício Peçanha.

We don't want to push our luck with speculation, but with four regular nights on rotation, plus anniversary extravaganzas and yet more top names on the horizon, El Fortin is likely to remain a regular Top 100 feature for some time.

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Poll Clubs 2016: BARBARELLAS

Barbarellas Discotheque, situated in Tisno, Croatia, is the sister venue of The Garden Resort, home to a number of intimate dance music festivals including Electric Elephant, Love International and Soundwave. The 2500-capacity club is set in an idyllic spot on coast which, according to its owners, was surrounded by farmland when they first discovered the location back in 2011.

A big part of Barbarellas’ appeal is its open-air dancefloor — only the DJ booth and bars are covered — which transforms the atmosphere of the club as daylight gradually breaks from 5am.

Last year, the owners installed a Funktion One soundsystem and a new chill area is planned for the 2016 season, complete with hammocks and beds, inspired by Amnesia’s '80s layout. Barbarellas has drawn a diverse list of guests over the years, including Bonobo, DJ Harvey, Seth Troxler, Eats Everything, LTJ Bukem, Dimitri From Paris, Louie Vega, Derrick Carter and Andrew Weatherall.

For much of the summer, the club’s programming is handled by the various festivals which take place just stone’s throw from it, serving as the final destination for revellers after acts wind down at the Garden Resort. This year will also see a handful of new promoters take the venue over, including Defected, Dekmantel and Movement.

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Poll Clubs 2016: CLUB SPACE MIAMI

Once a dilapidated yet sprawling one-story warehouse just off of Biscayne Boulevard, the original Club Space has come a long way since its 2003 inception. Emphasizing an egalitarian, no-nonsense approach towards the customers, as well as the then-unheard of 24-hour operating permit, Club Space promised an exciting, over-the-top club experience for the discerning dance-music enthusiast.

Space of March 2016 bears only a passing semblance today yet holds the same ethos. Having undergone several changes in theme. Mother Nature inspires a bamboo-decorated DJ booth situated like a lion's throne on the terrace.

Spacious VIP tables line the perimeter of this house jungle, while go-go dancers show off their most titillating moves and still, unlike South Beach's pretentious and pricey mega clubs, Space is for foot-shuffling patrons who are there simply and purely for the music. The 25,000-square-foot downtown dance oasis is a must-visit, especially during after-hours.

While the lower room caters more to the EDM crowd, the real club magic happens upstairs in the iconic Space terrace and loft. We could start rattling off the names of the DJs who spin here, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a decent DJ who hasn’t. From Miami locals to electro A-listers, rap heavyweights to techno titans and everything in between, this Space is where you want your night to end and your morning to begin.

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Poll Clubs 2016: MATAHARI

Matahari

Poll Address: 
Indaial, Brazil
Capacity: 
5000
Address: 
R. Bertolina Mai Kechele,
950 - Encano do Norte, Indaial - SC,
89130-000
Brazil
Address Source: 
google
Synonym: 
matahari (indaial)
Closed: 
No
Email: 
reservas@matahari.com.br

Think you know the pre-requisites for a nightclub? Think again. Forget dark subterranean spaces in old centres of industry, multi-storey super venues, or even four walls and a permanent roof. In Brazil, they like to do things differently.

Or at least that’s the case with Matahari, a dancing destination that looks more like a festival than anything else. Set amongst lush jungle vegetation, on a site that was once a farm, whilst many Top 100 entries claim to be unique, this sprawling, South American complex can actually back the claim up.

Melding indoor — or at least under-canopy — with outdoor, the Mainstage is quite literally surrounded by soundystems and ten individual ‘cabins’, whereas the Lakeroom has just undergone a transformation to include a new LED ceiling panel, adding yet more spectacle on top of the confetti and CO2 bursts that come with many a set here. Resident DJ Daniel Grah holds court, whilst line-ups refreshingly give homegrown talent on the up and up shared honours with international names (Sharam Jey and LouLou Players were here not so long ago). Themed sessions are a regular fixture, like annual calendar finale, The White Party, along with sunset-focused events.

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Poll Clubs 2016: ELROW

These days, a lot of clubs feel the weight of financial pressures, meaning they open at every opportunity and consequently their line-ups suffer. Not Elrow. The Barcelona venue is the definition of putting all of your eggs in one basket, only opening once a month for a bombastic daytime blowout.

Now hold on a second, it's not as crazy as it sounds (as Elrow's presence in our Top 100 Clubs list for the second year running is evidence of). The system allows the club to offer a truly unique experience every time the doors open. Each party has a different theme and Elrow go all-out on decoration and accessories; combine that with a massive open air main-room, a beach terrace (complete with sand and palm trees), a 'local talent' bar and eight (yes eight!) resident DJs, and you've got a recipe for success.

Of course the big names on the flyers are always going to draw in punters too — Eats Everything, Seth Troxler, Claptone, The Martinez Brothers, the list goes on. However the club's real pulling power comes from its outrageous personality, and we find it pretty hard to argue with that.

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Poll Clubs 2016: MARQUEE

Las Vegas has quite obviously shifted from the center of gambling to the center of nightlife, and Marquee Las Vegas continues to be one of the names leading the charge for the city’s nightlife. Opened in 2011 within The Cosmopolitan hotel, Marquee is a multi-level space (and multi-setting with both indoor and outdoor/pool areas) equipped with state-of-the-art everything. Systems designed by Senovva and V Squared Labs sport not only the best in sound, but multi-media capabilities including projection walls and LED screens.

Speaking of those screens, the massive space has recently upgraded all their LED lighting and expanded the DJ booth (we’re assuming to make space for all those A-list artists that unexpectedly pop by for a little b2b2b).

Those A-list names include everyone from Benny Benassi to Firebeatz to Porter Robinson and Cash Cash, all playing alongside residents like DJ Vice and Papi Gordo himself, Carnage. If you want to go, weekends are obviously popping, but also check Marquee’s Monday industry night, which also turns into a silent disco on the first Monday of every month. Here you can listen to one of three different rooms (the Library’s DJ, the main room and another channel from a secret location), all from one spot.

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Poll Clubs 2016: Arma 17

ARMA 17

Poll Address: 
Moscow, Russia
Capacity: 
800
Address: 
Building 3A
Lower Susalny, 5
Moskva
105064
Russia
Address Source: 
google
Closed: 
No
Email: 
info@arma17.ru

Despite an ever healthier local music scene, Arma is still pretty much the only club we hear about outside Russia (even though it burned down in 2009, and was then forced to close for property developers in 2014, before settling again in its current location last year).

Based in Moscow, it is a truly underground space that its trends both locally and internationally. Not bound by genre, but with a focus on the more discerning end of the spectrum, the large, rugged brick building with high ceilings and church-like windows down each side makes for a religious experience. 

Cult acts and electronic experimenters like the Hessle Audio crew and DJs such as Rhadoo, Maayan Nidam, DJ Qu and Morphosis have all played there since reopening and Abdulla Rashim, Samuel Kerridge, Zip, Binh and more are already lined up for the coming months.

Staying strong in the face of diversity and not bowing to global EDM trends, Arma 17 also boasts a killer label with artists like Vakula, dOP and Bruno Pronto so is a true force for good that will offer you a warm welcome no matter how chilly it is outdoors.

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Poll Clubs 2016: Exchange LA

Exchange LA

Poll Address: 
Los Angeles, United States
Capacity: 
1,500
Address: 
618 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
United States
Address Source: 
djmag
Synonym: 
exchange (los angeles)
Closed: 
No
Email: 
info@exchangela.com

Exchange sits in the historic core of downtown Los Angeles, in what was formerly the Los Angeles Stock Exchange building. The history of the building is maintained throughout, with the lobby sporting four sculpted figures representing Speed (Mercury), Accuracy (the archer), Permanence (a figure contemplating the universe) and Equality (a figure with scales). The old trading floor is now a dancefloor and ancient Near East and Native Indian influences run throughout the architecture details.

Old meets new, now, as these classic influences meet an LED screen with over one million bulbs, a Funktion One Res. III soundsystem, six full-service bars and naturally, all the smart lighting and confetti one could dream of. Add to that additional spaces like the more chill Rockefeller Room or the private Sky Loft, and there is a space tailored for every mood and pocket. This is, essentially, The Wolf of Wall Street’s playing ground in real life. Packing it in, they feature Insomniac’s Awakening Fridays, Inception Saturdays and are also the home to Bassrush DTLA, meaning you’ll find a variety of sounds, from Andy C to Justin Martin.

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Poll Clubs 2016: OMNIA

OMNIA

Poll Address: 
Las Vegas, United States
Capacity: 
4,400
Address Source: 
google
Closed: 
No
Email: 
info@omniaclub.eu

Omnia is over the top, even by Las Vegas standards. Three levels, it spans 75,000 square feet with two interior spaces (the main club and the Heart of the Omnia) and also includes an outdoor terrace inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

While DJs and celeb appearance are obvious perks to this venue, it’s really the awe-inspiring architecture inside that sets it apart from the pack. A high-tech chandelier is the focal point, comprised of eight oval rings, which hangs over the dancefloor like a UFO ready to beam up revellers. Did we mention it moves? At a rate of four feet per second, no less, which is all the more impressive when you consider it weighs a whopping 22,000 pounds.

The interior of Omnia is decked out with granite and stone imported from exotic locales around the globe and it took nearly a quarter of a million man-hours to complete the luxury destination. The only club in Vegas with L-Acoustics sound technology, everything sounds crystal-clear, so it’s no wonder they only attract only the biggest acts, including Afrojack, Steve Angello, Calvin Harris and Chuckie. 

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