UK nightclubs haven't gone through anything quite like 2021 before. Punctuated by ‘Freedom Day’ earlier in July, England went from lockdown blues to head-on hedonism in a hasty midnight second, shortly followed by Scotland, Ireland and Wales as they took turns returning to the dancefloor. Granted, it was an indulgent second half of the year, but as the UK settles back into a more regular clubbing routine, it’s prime time to look forward to more special moments. And while we praise the nightclubs that made this year one to remember as we partied through a global pandemic, let’s also remember those we lost along the way.
From new clubs opening in the Midlands to the re-introduction of 24+ hour parties at fabric, this year has been promising for British nightlife. In the list below, we’re celebrating the clubs that you absolutely can’t miss out on in 2022.
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1 24 Kitchen Street (Liverpool)
Liverpool is growing stronger as hub for dance music, and when it launched the first pilot clubbing event in the UK after a tumultuous 13 months without a single solitary dancefloor boogie, it grabbed the attention of onlookers from every corner of Europe. 24 Kitchen Street is a thriving haven for electronic lovers in the city. With an always-eager crowd and an enormous disco ball to match, the low-ceiling sanctum isn’t just an after-hours nightclub. During the day, Kitchen Street opens up as an exhibition space to present documentaries, artwork, and more, and, earlier in the year, doubled up as an exhibition space to showcase the UK’s AIDs quilt.
Find out more at facebook.com/24kitchenstreet
2 Colour Factory (London)
Previously known as Mick’s Garage to Hackney residents and London frequenters, the venue had a name change to Colour Factory earlier this year with a shiny new reboot to its interior ahead of Freedom Day. The gargantuan space, which features high ceilings and an overhanging mezzanine deck, manages to whip up a heady atmosphere, with people dancing across different levels and cutting about the dancefloor. Nights from Brainchild’s warm-up event, Inferno’s queer parties, and London-favourite Pxssy Palace continue to pack out the Hackney Wick nightclub. It also introduced the ‘Colour Garden’ in April where the party continues outdoors. This venue is certainly not to be missed in 2022.
Find out more at colourfactory.com
3 Corsica Studios (London)
Old faithful... Corsica Studios has still got it. The Elephant and Castle venue got a bit of a makeover while we were all in lockdown. In Room One the decks have been moved to the centre - in a move that has changed the flow of the venue for the better and allowed for some magnificent light shows. Its rough-round-the-edges charm and booming soundsystem are second only to its impeccable programming - hosting events like Peach Party, Origins, Rhythm Section and Trance Party. If you've never been before - head down there for a good time. If you have been before - we promise you'll fall in love all over again.
Find out more at corsicastudios.com
4 fabric (London)
22 years strong, fabric is one of London’s most integral nightclubs. Sizing up its Berlin competitors this year, club co-founder Cameron Leslie made the decision to ban photography and videoing inside the club to bring it back to its 90s roots, and in another attempt to do the same, brought back regular 24+ hour parties to London’s Farringdon. The idea was to give it that in-the-moment feeling while returning to a handful of marathon events, and it certainly did the trick. On its re-opening night back in July after lockdown, fabric’s electric atmosphere confirmed why this nightclub is an inescapable party - now hosting queer nights Sylvester, FABRICLIVE events, and a sprinkling of Sunday hedonism with Frame’s Planet 9 parties, and more.
Find out more at fabriclondon.com
[Photo: Jake Davis]
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5 FOLD (London)
Watch any Londoners face light up like a kid on Christmas Eve as soon as you mention FOLD. Having only opened in 2019, the Canning Town nightspot has become renowned for its wild 24-hour parties, its photo ban and its adjacent skip graveyard. The venue faced closure ahead of the pandemic resulting in an outcry from the dance music community, not wanting to lose their all-night/all-day favourite - but with reopening in 2021 it's come back with a bang hosting parties with Ben UFO, Crossbreed, Cartulis, LSDXOXO and Pangaea, returning to its rightful place as one of London's most exciting and beloved spaces, where it looks set to remain moving forward.
Find out more at fold.london
6 Forum (Birmingham)
Birmingham’s nightlife scene has been kicking back in 2021, and if you didn’t get a chance to visit one of the most talked about venues in the area this year, it should definitely be on your list for 2022. Forum Birmingham is a major new music venue and club located in the heart of the city centre, on the site of legendary nightspots Top Rank, The Hummingbird, Carling Academy and Ballroom Birmingham. Thousands of popular artists have walked through the doors of the historic Birmingham landmark throughout the years, including Bob Marley, The Ramones, Nirvana, and the late Amy Winehouse. The sleek new Forum Birmingham has welcomed Anz, Andy C, Bicep, Bradley Zero, Chloé Robinson, Erol Alkan, Floating Points, Folamour, Gerd Janson, Harriet Jaxxon, Hybrid Minds, Joy Orbinson, Mike Skinner, Overmono, Oneman, Palm Trax, Shanti Celeste, SHERELLE, Skream, & Tory Lanez since reopening in September 2021. The club will continue to showcase internationally famous musicians as part of its high-quality, forward-thinking music programme in 2022 and tells visitors to expect more star-studded events.
Find out more at forumbirmingham.uk
7 Hidden (Manchester)
Since reopening in July, Hidden nightclub has hit the ground running, with the majority of its events sold out, and changes in club layout, improvements to soundsystems and new lighting rigs met with a great reception. The bookings showcase a perfect blend of high-profile artists and up and coming local DJs bringing the best in underground music, alongside a great selection of external promoters including Teletech, Homoelectric, Hit & Run, 23 Degrees and more curating parties.
Find out more at hidden.club
8 Hope Works (Sheffield)
Hope Works is the centrepiece of Sheffield’s rave scene. A former World War 1 gun barrel factory, it now deals in sparking gun fingers. It’s a spacious warehouse with a sizable outside area that you can move freely between, meaning it never feels crowded but provides sweat-soaked rave mania down the front. The visuals are often impressive and the soundsystem goes hard. Annually it co-hosts the experimentally inclined No Bounds festival, and beyond music also showcases art exhibitions. The residents are always top notch, with 2021 seeing the likes of Gracie T, Nkisi and Rian Treanor play regularly alongside club staples Lo Shea and Chris Duckenfield. Only one party is confirmed for 2022 so far, with Job Jobse, Call Super, Peach and Parris on the bill. A very strong start, with promise of plenty more to come.
Find out more at hope-works.co.uk
[Photo: Alex Morgan]
9 Jacobs Basement (Cardiff)
Jacobs Basement is a stripped-back venue in an iconic city centre building with the core aim of revitalising the underground music scene in Wales. Jacobs Antique Market is family owned, with a long history of catering to the unique niches and fashions of the city. After spending his university days in Bristol, founder of the club Michael knew Cardiff was missing something and there was a space in Jacobs to fill that gap. Being a part of the family, he had a unique opportunity to make a venue work underneath the antiques, and together with TEAK they made it something special. Hosting irregular and iconic nights from amazing local promoters such as TEAK, DELETE & Haŵs, Jacobs Basement brings in incredible talent from across the world. Each night promises to have its own feel, with great people listening to great music.
Find out more here
10 La Cheetah (Glasgow)
If you've ever scrolled through Instagram on a Sunday morning and a bunch of boisterous revellers throwing their hands up to a valiant neon booth, then you're already pretty familiar with La Cheetah. The crowds in Glasgow are revered for their enthusiasm and rowdiness, but La Cheetah is where you can really see them come alive. Low ceilings - perfect to lose yourself in the crowd - paired with electrifying lights will leave you both bewildered and gagging for more. The venue has hosted the creme de la creme of DJ talent since Scottish clubs opened their doors back in August with Nightwave, Job Jobse, Helena Hauff, Eris Drew, DJ Stingray and more, all basking in that sweet neon glow. Let's be avin ye.
Find out more at lacheetahclub.co.uk
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11 Lakota (Bristol)
Although a testing year, 2021 has been incredibly successful for Lakota. Its Summer of Love Festival was the first dance festival since the outbreak of the pandemic in the UK and starred the return of Andy C to the club after a 20-year hiatus. The pandemic brought about the birth of Lakota Gardens amid the growth of socially distanced events and venues under restrictions. Some of the most notable features saw headline artists such as Denis Sulta, Eats Everything, Bladerunner, Voltage and Saoirse grace the Bristol music scene. Since fully reopening, the club has seen the likes of Folamour, Mella Dee and Chaos in the CBD to name a few. After the week of sold out shows for Halloween, New Year’s Eve is set to outshine even the highest of expectations with two separate shows in the Lakota complex - one featuring Andy C after his sold-out Wembley Arena show, and the other featuring Melvo Baptiste of Glitterbox. Lakota will be entering 2022 as they mean to go on.
Find out more at lakota.co.uk
12 Meraki (Liverpool)
Dickson Street's Meraki has quickly become one of the most sought after tickets in the country, let alone Liverpool. The arts and culture space moonlighting as a nightclub has successfully treaded the line this year between bringing in massive out-of-town acts while still giving dues to local residents. This year has seen Meraki attract the likes of Batu, Kornel Kovacs, Roza Terenzi, DJ Stingray, Goldie and Eclair Fifi - all the while pulling focus onto local selectors such as Lupini, Fliss Mayo, Dowd and more. It boasts both an indoor warehouse space and a huge garden, perfect for dancing away those sunshine hours - bliss tbh.
Find out more at merakiliverpool.co.uk
[Photo: Daniel de la Bastide]
13 Motion (Bristol)
Motion Bristol has a special place in the hearts of a lot of the people who reside in the West country city. For Bristol, Motion is one of the vital organs of its nightlife scene and has always been a go-to venue for some of the best names in the game. It has a rich history and has been continuing to improve and adapt how it provides safe nights out for people during the pandemic. In 2022, the club be kicking off the new year with Jayda G. It has already lined up some big names for 2022, including Sub Focus, Wilkinson, Kurupt FM, and Greentea Peng. As well as being a venue for a great night out, it also a venue for gigs and will be welcoming bands and singers - so if you’re in Bristol and fancy an evening gig instead, Motion will have you covered there too.
Find out more at motion-bristol.com
14 Nightingale (Birmingham)
A centre-piece in Birmingham’s LGBT club scene - Nightingale is a night you won't want to miss. Playing all of the classics, from Madonna to Kylie, Nightingale always promises a good night out. After adapting to various challenges set by the pandemic, and even turning itself into a vaccination centre with drag queens helping in administering the vaccine, this iconic club has proven itself to be a vital part of the community in Birmingham. If you’re a fan of drag and cheesy classics, this club is definitely worth a visit in 2022.
Find out more at nightingaleclub.co.uk
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15 Night Tales (London)
London’s Night Tales has had a great comeback in 2021, and it's ready to give attendees more in 2022. Located in the tunnels of Hackney, this stunning venue offers guests some impressive views, vibes and fun. It's welcomed clubbers back after a stressful 18 months of lockdown, and has continued to champion the way in safe clubbing by always advocating for clubbers to put the health of themselves and others first. In 2022, Night Tales says attendees can expect more exciting events — some great parties already lined up include Acid Arab and Horse Meat Disco [All Night Long].
Find out more at nighttales.co.uk
16 Printworks (London)
South London venue Printworks stands as one of the most visually impressive clubs in the country, with light shows that give the aurora borealis a run for its money. A DJ set in the long main Press Halls room always feels epic, as you get lost in the captivating visuals and weighty sounds of the system among a throng of thousands. For those seeking more heads-to-the-floor club fare, new room Inkwells is dark and sweaty, best served for hosting bass-heavy or industrial selections. With the likes of Helena Hauff, Flying Lotus, Kenny Dope, LSDXOXO, VTSS, Patrick Topping, The Martinez Brothers and many more already locked in for the spring 2022 season, next year is looking especially essential.
Find out more at printworkslondon.co.uk
[Photo: Jake Davis]
17 SOUP (Manchester)
Situated in the heart of Manchester, Soup is a multi-award-winning nightclub, live music venue, canteen, and bar. The basement is where the magic happens, combining the simple elements of darkness and heavy sound to strong effect. With top acts from the likes of Jeremy Sylvester, MikeQ and Chippy Nonstop passing through, and regular LGBTQ+ friendly nights such as Kiss Me Again, Soup is a go-to venue for Manchester’s thriving club community. This Soup is never the starter – it’s always the main event.
Find out more at soupmanchester.com
18 Space 289 (London)
Initially opening briefly in late 2019 ahead of nightlife's extended shutdown, 200-capacity venue Space 289 returned as our clubs became alive once again this summer. Despite being one of the newer spaces on this list it's already hosted some of 2021's most exciting shows - with performances from Gaika, aya, Ikonika, Space Afrika and more. Residing beneath railway arches in East London's Bethnal Green, it's rare to find a space in the city that boasts the acoustics and the intimacy of Space 289, so its appearance has been greatly welcomed - and with a huge range of shows lined up for the New Year, it's one to check out.
Find out more at space289.com
19 Ulster Sports Club (Belfast)
As well as being a sports club, this city centre venue is a top notch nightclub. The bookings bring a solid mix of local greats and international touring DJs, with the likes of Holly Lester, Kessler, Jordan Nocturne, Bobby Analog, Hammer, Carlton Doom, Overmono, Parris and D. Tiffany playing in recent months. Next year’s listings are shaping up nicely, with Ross From Friends. Prospa, DjRUM, Coco Bryce among those locked in. Belfast always promises a raucous atmosphere — and if a duff tune does get dropped, you can nip into the next room for a game of snooker. Yeeooo.
Find out more at ulstersportsclub.com
[Photo: Plain Sailing Belfast]
20 Werkhaus (London)
Just a little way down London’s famous Brick Lane you can find Werkhaus: the small-scale industrial venue boasting the most impressive of dancefloors. The nightclub has hosted a healthy array of parties this year with a couple of stand out sets from Material’s fourth birthday party with Novelist, Commodo, and K-Lone, Conducta’s all-night event, and a hefty Bicep afterparty back in September. Only two years into its inauguration, 2022 is looking like a big one for this London party hotspot.
Find out more at werkhauslondon.com
[Photo: Ben McQuaide]
21 Warehouse Project (Manchester)
Vast, imposing and industrial, there are few rave experiences that compare to Manchester’s Warehouse Project. It had an extremely successful year in 2021 with some top-quality headliners. XXL brought techno heavy hitters, fireworks literally went off at Homobloc which used lights and colour to spark euphoria, and mind-melting live shows came from the likes of Bicep, Jon Hopkins, Loraine James and Space Afrika. The focus is predominantly on dance music, but rap stars such as Megan Thee Stallion also performed on line-ups offering diverse ages, races and genders. It was even graced by TikToking trainspotter Francis Bourgeois who couldn’t resist the rave thrills WHP offers. WHP doesn’t do things in half measures, and 2022 will be another huge year.
Find out more at thewarehouseproject.com
[Photo: Jody Hartley]
22 Wharf Chambers (Leeds)
Cooperative club Wharf Chambers uses its space for good, whether that’s hosting some of the best club nights in the city or English lessons for refugees. The venue has become a hub for parties run in the right way thanks to its focus on inclusivity and accessibility for both punters and promoters — some of the best DIY nights in Leeds have been able to flourish in its walls, from Love Muscle to Drag n Bass to Stretchy Dance Supply. There’s no overbearing bouncers and no tolerance for discrimination such as sexism, racism and homophobia. One night lined up for 2022 will see US experimental techno punk and noise artist Container play alongside Glasgow’s Lady Neptune. Wharf Chambers is a comfortable space for anyone who feels like an outsider.
Find out more at wharfchambers.org
[Photo: Adam W]
23 White Hotel (Manchester)
Loud, no-frills, and fucking raucous, The White Hotel boasts one of the best atmospheres in the country. Located in deepest, darkest Salford, opposite Strangeways prison, it has a roguish energy, making being on the dancefloor a deliriously good time. The booking policy focuses mainly on the best underground DJs, local heroes and out-there experimental shows. The first event announced for 2022 will see Klein play alongside Space Afrika, two of the most essential live acts in the game. But line-ups almost seem secondary to the space of The White Hotel: you’ll have fun whoever’s playing.
Find out more at thewhitehotel.club
[Photo: Jody Hartley]
24 Wire (Leeds)
Located in the heart of the city, Wire has been making a name for itself ever since its opening. It's welcomed Palms Trax, Mall Grab, Jayda G, SHERELLE and more in 2021, and has become a local favourite for attendees and Leeds' sizable student population. While also showcasing the best in electronic music in the UK and worldwide, it also champions local DJs and artists. Wire has a 2022 line-up that everyone should be excited about, welcoming the likes of Peach, Midland, VTSS and more. With bare-brick walls, an impressive soundsystem, and a large dancefloor; it is no wonder this club remains a popular destination.
Find out more at wireclub.co.uk
25 World Headquarters (Newcastle)
Newcastle’s World Headquarters has become a staple for house heads and garage lovers alike over the past couple of years, and while its genre-defying line-ups have come in thick and fast this year, this nightclub has kept up with the whirlwind pace. In 2021, WHQ saw in a number of names through the doors: Jayda G b2b Ruby Savage, Palms Trax, Conducta, SHERELLE, Ruf Dug, DJ Seinfeld, Bklava, to name a few, as well as a monumental five hour set from Floating Points. Recognising talent from every corner, WHQ also continue to throw parties in support of the city’s queer scene and helped to give paid creative opportunities to those from underrepresented communities earlier this year. WHQ’s next outing is set to take place on New Year’s Eve with some ‘soulful and groove-based sounds upstairs’, and a Lively Up takeover downstairs. Check out this cracker of a club.
Find out more at welovewhq.com