Fabric feels especially worthy of a spot on this list as it is a place London saved: after being shut in 2016, the capital’s clubbers rallied round to have it re-opened. The campaign helped turn a spotlight on the legislation and challenges London’s nightlife is up against. Still, even if none of this had happened, Fabric would be entirely worth heading to. It's the London club, more famous than any of its counterparts and a genuine institution. Once you've made it through the airport-style security checkpoints, you're free to get lost in its subterranean bowels, free of any phone signal but full of clubland delights. It regularly pulls in the best DJs on the world circuit, from Seth Troxler to Ben UFO, with its esteemed residents Terry Francis and Craig Richards always on hand.
77A Charterhouse St, EC1M 6HJ
This Shoreditch staple has built its reputation on a pretty simple formula: top music from top DJs. Over two storeys, expect to party to straightforwardly good playlists; XOYO doesn’t pigeonhole itself, booking whoever it likes, so long as they’ll get people to dance (while staying cheese-free). For this reason, there’s a weighting towards house and disco, spiced with techno. The residents are always amazing, too, with the likes of Ben UFO, Flava D and Motor City Drum Ensemble among the recent incumbents. Keep an eye out for its grime nights, too, which always turn into a bit of a mad one.
Cowper St, EC2A 4AP
London might not be huge on Ibiza-style clubs but Egg brings them to mind over its three floors, with light shows and throbbing bass, darkened rooms and plenty to drink. The highlight for many is the courtyard outside; the perfect place to watch the sunrise – they’ve a 24-hour license, so it’s possible, and you can have breakfast to boot. It is a little remote, in that peculiar industrial-feeling area just north of Kings Cross station, but this entirely works in its favour: the parties go on longer, are louder, and there are no neighbours to complain. Besides, they run a free shuttle bus from just by the station, so it isn't too much of a walk.
200 York Way, N7 9AX
No photo quite captures the sheer length of this uniquely shaped venue. Though merely a toddler in comparison to fabric, this venue has rapidly achieved popular status in its two years in the city. Once home to the largest printing factory in Western Europe, the original aesthetics, giant machines and printing presses have been preserved to create a stunning, industrial environment for a dynamic array of events. Their award-winning music series showcases the best live and electronic music, becoming a vital part of the London’s vibrant cultural scene amongst young people today.
Surrey Quays Rd, Rotherhithe, SE16 7PJ
Another brand new opening, Werkhaus has made its home in a cavernous industrial space that’s part of the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. Joining the growing movement for live music in East London, it’s a single space venue that offers up either DJs or gigs every night. They’ve got a Funktion One sound system on their hands, so whatever you go to hear, it’ll sound real good.
85 Brick Lane, E1 6QL
The Moth Club
Imagine an old, working man’s club ie. dark woods and carpeted floors, thick with the smell of spilt beer. Now imagine a group of Hackney hipsters taking it over, covering the ceiling in gold sparkles and hanging a gold fringe curtain and garish silver sign at the back of the central stage. Throw in a weekly line-up of events like a Ru Paul’s Drag Race Quiz and a Madonnathon (a night exclusively dedicated to Madge and her collaborators) bingo, karaoke, game shows, race nights, interactive film screenings and special cabaret events…and you have one of the most merry-making clubs in London.
Old Trades Hall, Valette Street, E9 6NU
It’s more of a live music venue than a club. In fact, it’s actually a Japanese restaurant and bar, with a back room that opens out into a bigger, more open space with a stage. The crowd is mostly local East London folk, or serious music folk who like to drink and dance whilst also commenting on the vintage analogue sound system and Klipschorn speakers (whatever they mean). We like it because it’s intimate, and never too intense. Plus they do monthly jazz nights which are always a treat.
470 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London, E8 4AE