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Clubbing, also known as a "disco" Clubbing, also known as a "disco"

A nightclub (often shortened to club) is an entertainment venue which does its primary business after dark. In most other languages, nightclubs are referred to as "discos" or "discothèques" (French: discothèque; German: Disko or Tanzveranstaltungen). In Japanese ディスコ, disuko refers to an older, smaller, less hip venue; while クラブ, kurabu refers to a more recent, larger, more popular venue. The term night is often used to refer to an event hosted within a nightclub.



Nightclubs are associated with socializing and music and are usually distinguished from other forms of drinking establishment, such as a bar, pub or tavern, by the inclusion of a dance floor, although a club may also feature other forms of entertainment; possibly unsuitable for minors, such as podium dancers, a floor show or strippers (see strip club). Music may be live or mixed by a DJ and is often amplified using a PA system, and can range from blues, jazz, country, disco, hip-hop, rock and metal to electronic music styles such as house, techno, trance, drum and bass and alternative electronic. Most clubs or club nights have a specific musical theme and generally cater to fans of a few particular music genres.

Gatherings in nightclubs that primarily involve music mixed by a DJ involve dancing and in most cases alcohol. Illegal use of recreational drugs such as ecstasy are commonplace in many modern clubs featuring electronic dance music. Clubs are often advertised by the handing out of flyers on the street, in record shops, and at other clubs and events, they are often highly decorative and eye-catching.

Nightclubs often feature lighting and other effects: flashing lights of many colors, moving light beams, laser light shows and smoke machines. One common item is a disco ball: a rotating football-sized spheroid at the ceiling, covered with many small flat mirrors, with a light beam directed on it; the reflections form a multitude of moving light spots on the floor and on the people. Some nightclubs will throw foam parties where the dance floor is filled with soap suds.

Types of Clubs

From time to time, variations enter the market, such as non-smoking and alcohol-free nightclubs. Also, restaurants or supper clubs may provide music and entertainment simlar to that provided by a nightclub, the main difference being that food is the main attraction at these establishments, whereas entertainment is the main attraction at a nightclub. Comedy clubs are one type of venue which provides entertainment.

Another type of club is a concert club, which specializes in hosting performances of live music. In contrast to regular night clubs, concert clubs are usually only open when a performance is scheduled.

Not all nightclubs last all night, the bigger ones such as Pacha in London and Tiger Tiger finish around 2 or 3 in the morning whereas the smaller nightclubs, which could also be described as bars but with entertainement could close at 12 or 1. Some nightclubs may have bands playing as a form of entertainment, this helps to attract large crowds and as nighclubs normally appeal to teenagers, or people in their twenties, having a famous band in your venue will normally always be successful.

Clubs differ all over the world, In England for example, they may have a lot of drum n bass clubs or house music clubs as these are popular music genres in England. Whereas in Spain they may have a lot of salsa clubs, as this specialises in the type of dancing spaniards enjoy.


There are several traditional venues that are often used as nightclubs. Nightclubs need to be insulated from the outside to prevent noise from escaping, and to prevent light and noise entering from outside. This allows the nightclub to have more control over the environment inside the building. It also creates an idea of timelessness which customers often prefer. This idea is also illustrated by the fact that many nightclubs do not have clocks visible to the public.


Underground installations are often the perfect place for nightclubs and an often popular choice of venue. The reasons are:


  • Location: The buildings (such as railway arches, or former storage areas) are often in prime locations in city centres. Their underground nature means that the rent paid for them is relatively cheap compared to the same floorspace overground.
  • Nature of the building; underground spaces have large expanses of space, without taking regard for building size and shape in the area above (some underground spaces might span several blocks).
  • Seclusion: being underground means that there are no windows to block, very little soundproofing (most soundproofing would be natural).


  • Infastructure: the building may lack any form of infastructure such as toilets, heating, electricity or water supply.
  • Ventilation: Depending on what the area was used for before, large amounts of money might need to be spent to ensure an adequete air supply is present.
  • Fire escapes: an underground locker might have been designed only to have around 4-5 workers in it any time, when it is transformed into a nightclub it could have 2000 people in it, and more consideration needs to be taken of fire escapes.

Former Theatres / Cinemas

The past 50 years has seen a huge reduction in the amount of cinema-going around the world and especially so in the western world. This has meant that many former theatres and cinemas were no longer needed. A former theatre can make a very good home for a nightclub:


  • Location and local knowledge: The theatre might be so well known that the nightclub can just take on its name. For example the Astoria nightclub in London or The Empire "the Theatre" in Middlesbrough.
  • Infastructure: The buildings would have already been made to accommodate a large amount of people, so toilets, fire escapes and even bars would aleady be present.
  • Seclusion: Theatre buildings obviously to have control over outside noise and light, the buildings will already likely be insulated against these.
  • Acoustics: The theatre would be custom built to have noise travel around the building.
  • Presence of a stage: many theatres turned nightclubs could also host concerts.


  • Nature of the building: The building would often be the main auditorium and foyer. This can be restrictive for nigthclubs that want to have more than one type of music, or a VIP lounge. The new business is also restricted in terms of what changes it can make, for example, many ex-cinemas still maintain the same design as when they were theatres.
  • Association with an older era: customers might associate a new nightclub in an old theatre with the type of customers who used to go to the old one.
  • Planning Permission: many countries have rules concerning the decorations inside old historic buildings, which could for example mean a new nightclub has 100 year old cherubs painted on the wall

Custom Built

Again these seem to look like the best option but there are several other considerations:


  • Exact Specifications: The new business can specify exactly where it wants the bars, the toilets, the fire escapes, how many rooms it wants etc.
  • Other features can be incorporated: Like disco rounds, or revolving stages.


  • Most custom built venues would be above ground where the cost would be very high.
  • The re-sellability of the venue would be taken into account; if the business did not work, what else could the area be used for, and who would buy it?

Stationary boat


  • Moored boats could be in very prestigious surroundings, for example by the River Thames or on the banks of the Hudson. Places in which land rent is very high.
  • Glamour: What could look more glamourous than a nightclub in a boat?


  • Safety, but not only in terms of the boat sinking, but having sufficient fire escapes, protection from the weather, and provision for drunk customers being so close to water
  • Life of the boat: Boats often wear out fast, and would not last as long as a building.
  • Difficulty of use: hooking up lights and sound systems could be difficult on a boat.
  • Infastructure: toilets, electricity, gas supply (for drinks), getting drink deliveries, air conditioning all need to be considered.
  • Rocking motion: which can give people motion sickness.

Moving Boat

Again most of the advantages and disadvantages are the same as for a stationary boat, but some extra ones arise:

  • Security: How could an unruly customer be ejected if the venue is 5 miles from the pier?
  • Safety: Provision for the boat sinking will need to be made.
  • Crew: Special training will need to be given to all the staff on board the boat.


In the U.S., the repeal of Prohibition in February 1933 sparked the revival of nightclubs, which had gone underground as speakeasies. In New York City, three famous Midtown nightclubs from the "Golden Age" were the Stork Club, El Morocco and the Copacabana, while uptown in Harlem the Cotton Club was king.

Before 1953 and even some years thereafter, most speakeasies bars and nightclubs used jukebox or mostly live bands but then in a Paris club named 'Whisky-a-Gogo', Regine Zylberberg laid down a dance-floor, suspended coloured lights and for the first time ever replaced the juke-box with two turntables so there would be no breaks between the music. While Regine's was a bar with music, Mark Birley in 1962 was the first to open a member-only discotheque nightclub, Annabel's, in Berkeley Square, London. Setting into place the standards' elements of the discothèque as known in it's modern form.

The first rock and roll generation did not favor nightclubs, but the club returned in the 1970s as the "disco," from the French discothèque (although by the early 2000s, the term "disco" had largely fallen out of favor in North America). Two early discos in New York were "Le Club" and "Regine's." Today in Europe, nightclubs play techno, house music or any sort of dance music from nu-jazz to electro or trance for the most part. Some nightclubs in the U.S. play trance and techno, but it is still not as popular.

See also

External links

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

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