A guide to the best clubs in Scotland

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This article is from 2009.

The Arches

Not for nothing is Scotland reputed to have some of the finest clubs in Europe. David Pollock and Henry Northmore cherry pick the best

It’s not that we want to make Edinburgh feel inferior, but Glasgow is pretty much recognised as the most vibrant city in the UK after dark, behind London. Sure, your student days aren’t complete without a stagger alongside Sauchiehall Street every now and then, particularly into venues like the Garage, the ABC and Nice’n’Sleazy, all of which run regular, student-friendly late nights. But the city is also responsible for some of the most bleeding edge electronic music clubs in the land, and you might not feel like you’ve truly experienced the best your new home has to offer until you’ve been round them.

Widely recognised as Glasgow’s most atmospheric clubbing spaces are the vastly different Sub Club and the Arches. The former is a small basement on Jamaica Street (best nights: nationally-recognised techno, hip hop and dubstep-playing monthly event Numbers; legendary and eclectic weekly Sunday-nighter Optimo), the latter a cavernous space just round the corner which is built in the caves under Central Station (you’ll want to check out monthly electroclash revival night Death Disco and Wednesday’s student party Octopussy).

Beyond these, regularly high-quality ports of call for clubbers of style and taste will be Stereo (must-attend: Huntley & Palmer’s Audio Club, a perfect blend of highbrow and dancefloor-ready sounds, and Ballers Social Club, the club wing of highly-regarded local music and design collective LuckyMe – both are monthly, both feature regular guests) and the old faithful Glasgow School of Art. Prime events here include Thursday’s weekly double bill R-P-Z and Mixed Bizness, and semi-regular dubstep session Fortified. Other places and promoter nights of interest include the indie-centric Flying Duck, particularly Gavin from Camera Obscura’s Friday night Back Tae Mine and monthly soul, mod and psych night Modern Lovers, and the Admiral Bar Basement’s peerless monthly disco club Melting Pot.

While there’s less to go round in Edinburgh, this means the nights of real quality stand out all the more. The current sound of the city is disco, both the classic version and the new style popularised by artists like Lindstrom and Prins Thomas, and the best places to hear it are the excellent Wasabi Disco (monthly at Sneaky Pete’s), the comic book styled Club For Heroes (monthly at the GRV) and the recently established Devil Disco Club (monthly at the Bongo Club).

Otherwise, Edinburgh possesses a couple of exemplary, long-running indie nights (Evol, every Friday at Faith on the Cowgate; The Egg, every Saturday at the College of Art’s Wee Red Bar), possibly Scotland’s top drum & bass night in Xplicit (monthly at the Bongo Club) and its own, original version of Modern Lovers (monthly at the GRV). Certain venue names are also a mark of quality in themselves; as well as those mentioned above, expect to make frequent visits to Cabaret Voltaire (We Are … Electric every Wednesday and the monthly Sugarbeat Club and Ultragroove are recommended for house and techno lovers) and the West End’s Berlin, a venue with a strong tendency towards straight-up house sounds.

This article is from 2009.

The Egg

Indie, 60s garage, electro, northern soul, ska, 70s punk and new wave at this Edinburgh institution for those in the know after a quick fix of decent music and attitude free clubbing.

The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh

Sat 14 Jan 2017

£5 / 0131 651 5859

David Bowie special.

  • 23:00 – 03:00 The Egg The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh

Evol

Edinburgh's longest running indie night. With the usual mix of the best current and classic alternative and crossover tunes, Evol's an institution (now at a new new venue).

Electric Circus, Edinburgh

Fri 6 Jan 2017

Free before midnight; £5 after / 0131 225 2564

  • 22:30 – 03:00 Evol Electric Circus, Edinburgh

Optimo (Espacio)

Legendary Glasgow club night as JD Twitch and JG Wilkes team up for an eclectic mix of beats and other vaguely electronic music for dancing.

The Sub Club, Glasgow

Mon 26 Dec

Times & prices to be confirmed / 0141 248 4600

Modern Lovers

Soul, funk, garage, freak beat, psyche and more from Craig Jamieson and Axel.

R-P-Z

Residents Hushpuppy and Bonjour Boi promise a blend of electro, Italo disco, punk-funk and 'wrong sounds a-plenty' at this new monthly residency, with visuals from Joe Crogan. This month will be a special one-off event dedicated to cosmic disco, space-concept rock and galactic boogie which will boldly go where no club has…

Melting Pot

Newly formed sketches are performed by a group of actors, while the audience get to vote for the writing which made them chuckle the most.

Death Disco

Electro, house, disco and gauche party tracks at the Arches' most lurid monthly party, with residents Hush Puppy, Josh Jones and Wavy Graves.

Mixed Bizness

Cutting edge underground beats and classic dancefloor gems from resident Boom Monk Ben and rotating residents.

Sugarbeat

It's a mash up of breaks, beats, electro and anything else they can lay their hands from your hosts Tim & Jez (Utah Saints).

We Are … Electric

Edinburgh's busiest midweek electro-funk disco party calls it a day with the last ever date on 20 Oct with Gary Mac joined by Jacek Zamojski playing WAE favourites and soem spankign new tunes.

Octopussy

Jacuzzis, bouncy castles and a Chapel of Love at this weekly student night of indie, pop and electro.

Numbers

One of Glasgow's most eclectic clubbing successes goes from strength to strength with rotating residents and a diverse array of dubstep and techno-playing special guests from around the globe.

We Are … Electric

The midweek punk funk club's new Friday night special continues as Gary Mac offers up a hot electro-disco selection.

Optimo

Twitch and Wilkes return mixing everything from disco to punk, from electronica to techno.

Fortified

Glasgow's biggest dubstep and dancehall party returns, with residents Electric Eliminators. Fri 10 Jun: Now based at Stereo, Fortified this month welcomes Africa Hitech (Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek) for a show in support of their techno, soul and dancehall debut album 93 Million Miles on Warp.

Death Disco Glasgay! Special

Expect glitzy and deliciously dirty disco as this monthly orgy of anarchic electronic rock'n'roll comes to Glasgay! with only the bloomin' legend that is Erol Alkan joining the line-up and of course residents Hush Puppy, DJ Mingo-Go, Josh Jones and Wavy Graves. Dress up for maximum effect. Half price tickets available via…

Back Tae Mine

Going out is the new staying in, as this night offers booze, tea, toast, bands and DJs to create a houseparty vibe. With residents DJs Gav Dunbar (Camera Obscura) and Sci- Fi Steve (Bis) playing a welcoming mix of old and new.

Club For Heroes

Underground disco for freaks and lovers with your hosts Jetlad and Honey Sweetcheeks as CfH return with a whole host of guests: The Niallist, Default, Picassio and Jamie Spectrum.

Wasabi Disco

Another dose of disco, new wave, punk and New York grooves at this 'no holds barred disco death match'.

Modern Lovers

Blues, garage punk, 60s pop, Motown, funk and beyond, with resident DJ Craig Jamieson. Sat 30 Jul: With Camera Obscura DJs.

We Are . . . Electric

Electronic punk-funk, electro and underground acid-house classics with Gary Mac joined by WolfJazz and Tall Paul (2 Sep) followed by Kev Wright and Babes (9 Sep).

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