phone mail2 facebook twitter play
Top 5: Underground Nightclubs
Image Credit: Fresh to Death, Corsica Studios, 2016

Top 5: Underground Nightclubs

30 June 2016 Tom Faber  | Entertainment  | Top 5

London is internationally renowned for its nightlife but it can sometimes be hard to know where to go. For every memorable night of euphoria there are three more with overpriced drinks, muddy speakers and aggressive punters. The city can also be an inhospitable environment for nightclubs, with local councils recently forcing the likes of Plastic People, Madame Jojo’s and Dance Tunnel to close. Even Fabric has been threatened. Yet a few venues brave the storms and continue turning out some of Europe’s best club nights. So forget the champagne clubs of central London – join us on a guide to the best venues for underground dance music in London.

Corsica Studios

Just round the corner from Ministry at Elephant & Castle is the current king of London’s underground club circuit, Corsica Studios. Opened in 2006, the medium-sized club consists of two black rooms, minimal decoration and a formidable Funktion 1 soundsystem. Corsica puts emphasis and funding into superb lineups rather than extravagant designs, and their reward is the loyal following that the club has gathered over the last ten years. A hotbed of creativity in the electronic music scene, there are far too many superb nights at Corsica for us to hit up every one. But we can try.
 


Oval Space Terrace
 

Oval Space

Nestled amongst Bethnal Green’s strangely beautiful gas holders is Oval Space. This relatively new addition to the London clubbing scene offers a huge barn-like room which regularly fills to bursting at their eclectic club nights and parties. It can sometimes get a little sweaty inside, but luckily the club has a lovely terrace which overlooks London Fields where you can chill out with a beer before re-entering the fray. They also own the intimate Pickle Factory across the road which focuses on dance nights, regularly hosting the best of the house and techno scenes. Over the summer they'll welcome residences from Boiler Room and Principals alongside an outdoor summer film series and a pop-up restaurant.
 


Corsica Studios, Toby Keane
 

Phonox

The newest addition on our list is Phonox, set up in Brixton by the crew behind Shoreditch’s successful hotspot XOYO. One key feature marks Phonox out from the rest of the pack. This is its dedication to the traditions of DJing, where a selector is given a whole night to construct their set, rather than hosting a rapid-fire highlights reel from five different DJs across a night. It allows the artists to explore and express themselves more expansively than your average festival or nightclub set, and makes for some of the best nights around. The rotating cast of all-night sessions is on Friday, while in another nod to tradition they have a resident DJ, Jasper James, who plays all night every Saturday. Get down there and see what all the fuss is about.
 


Oval Space, © Here and Now
 

Canavan’s Peckham Pool Club

This one might seem strange for the uninitiated. At the end of Peckham’s Rye Lane is a slightly grubby-looking entry to a pool club, where a long corridor leads to one of the capital’s unexpected dance havens. Twice a month Rhythm Section hold their legendary parties here, inviting fresh DJs from the jazzier side of the house spectrum. The dancefloor is slightly prom-esque, its disco balls sandwiched between a bar and the fluorescent pool hall, but few venues have better vibes and friendlier staff than this South London staple.
 


Oval Space, © Here and Now
 

Dance Tunnel

Dalston’s best nightclub is closing. Dance Tunnel, tucked away on the main drag of Kingsland High Street, has consistently brought top DJs to East London since 2012. Tucked under Voodoo Raymond’s pizza (where you’d often end up for a slice after a long night), Dance Tunnel is a small, no nonsense space that prioritises nothing but the top music every weekend. It even took on the likes of legendary club night FWD>> after its previous home, Plastic People, was closed. Sadly licensing issues are forcing the club to close in August, so go now while you still have the chance to witness a modern icon of London nightlife.
 


Oval Space
 

Obviously these aren’t the only great clubs in London, but they’re our pick of the bunch. If you know these ones and want more, check out Studio Spaces, Bloc and Shapes. Then there are the venerable institutions that keep it real – Bussey Building, XOYO, Village Undergound and of course fabric, the grand dame who doesn’t let her popularity get in the way of quality nights.

Happy clubbing, and remember to drink lots of water.

Tell us what you think

You may also like

‘Being haunted by the past is something I’m creatively turned on by’ - An Interview with Brian J Smith

‘Being haunted by the past is something I’m creatively turned on by’ - An Interview with Brian J Smith

Science fiction fans may be particularly familiar with Texas born Brian J Smith. He got his big break playing Lieutenant Matthew Scott in military science…

This Week 27 March - 2 April

This Week 27 March - 2 April

The days are getting longer and (very gradually) getting warmer, so it’s time to go outside! Follow along the path of nature to discover Moomins and…

The Best Places to Watch the Boat Race in London

The Best Places to Watch the Boat Race in London

The Boat Race – a contest between two of the Britain’s most elite and exclusive universities in a sport watched approximately twice a year that incomprehensibly…

Walk of Shame – An Interview with Eleanor Conway

Walk of Shame – An Interview with Eleanor Conway

Eleanor Conway began her career as a music journalist, travelling the world and interviewing some of the music industry’s biggest names. A ferocious clubber and party…

‘Ultimately, my music is for the people, we’re the ones who need it’ – An Interview with Jeff Parker

‘Ultimately, my music is for the people, we’re the ones who need it’ – An Interview with Jeff Parker

Best known as guitarist in alt-jazz, post-rock outfit Tortoise, Jeff Parker has also had an interesting career as a stalwart of the Chicago underground music…

Brexit, moving to London and Denial - An Interview with Rachel Weisz

Brexit, moving to London and Denial - An Interview with Rachel Weisz

London born and Cambridge educated, Rachel Weisz has wowed audiences from her breakthrough role as Egyptologist Evelyn in The Mummy to her Oscar-winning performance as…

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait

You might think you know Amy Winehouse. The caricatured, instantly recognisable figure in tiny 1950s style dotted dresses with a colossal beehive of black hair,…

Don’t Wake The Beast - An Interview with Kill The Beast

Don’t Wake The Beast - An Interview with Kill The Beast

“We’re all friends because we’re weirdos,” says Clem Garritty, one fifth of theatre company Kill The Beast. “We just hope other people like the stuff that makes us…

‘You don’t want to play the goofy sidekick or best friend characters anymore’ - An Interview with Dev Patel

‘You don’t want to play the goofy sidekick or best friend characters anymore’ - An Interview with Dev Patel

Born in West London, we first saw Dev Patel on our screens in the anarchic Bristol-based TV drama Skins, before he got the biggest of…

Australia’s Impressionists at The National Gallery

Australia’s Impressionists at The National Gallery

The Australian Impressionists of the late 19th Century attempted to depict a country undergoing huge changes, a nation searching for an identity, a land with…

More inspiration...

‘Being haunted by the past is something I’m creatively turned on by’ - An Interview with Brian J Smith

‘Being haunted by the past is something I’m creatively turned on by’ - An Interview with Brian J Smith

We spoke to Stargate Universe and Sense 8 actor about his latest role in the Glass Menagerie, the roles that most inspire him and the surprising purchase he made with his first acting paycheck.
Free Fire - An Interview with Ben Wheatley

Free Fire - An Interview with Ben Wheatley

Ben Wheatley’s films are sick and twisted in the best way possible. We talk to him about his latest film, Free Fire.
This Week 27 March - 2 April

This Week 27 March - 2 April

We find out what will be keeping you occupied in the capital this week.
The Best Places to Watch the Boat Race in London

The Best Places to Watch the Boat Race in London

Whether you're Oxford, Cambridge or (literally) somewhere in between, find out the best places to watch the Boat Race 2017.
Deutsche Börse Prize Exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery

Deutsche Börse Prize Exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery

This diverse exhibition takes in landscapes, travel diaries and post-modern self-portraits.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!