Lifestyle & Culture

Pauline Lemaire: My Top 5 favorite techno clubs in London

So, you’re in a pub in London, you’re quite tipsy, and all of sudden one of your friends suggest: “Why don’t we go clubbing?” Now, it’s all a matter of finding a club in London that suits everyone’s music tastes and budgets whilst ditching the 18-year-old crowd that throws up at midnight, a task not easily solved.

London’s clubbing scene has been winning over audiences for years, and it regularly plays host to some of the world’s biggest DJs. The city is so big the choice of clubs and music genres is simply immense. There is something for everyone. However, it is sometimes more difficult to find the club you want to go to than to find your keys at five in the morning after dancing your heart out.

I’m really into techno, so here is the curated list of my top 5 go-to techno venues:

Fold

I describe the location of Fold as “Easter than East.” As you might’ve guessed, it’s a trek to get there, but my God is it worth it! It’s a bit of a post-apocalyptic place; the view of the smoking area overlooks a landfill, and it used to be a printing house. Don’t let this discourage you from going!

Unlike any other clubs in London (that I know), FOLD has a 24-hour license to play music, thanks to the building’s sound-proofing, meaning that this club can host events that start in the evening and that can go on until late the next afternoon. This venue has an insane sound system, and they are not scared to use it, so don’t forget to grab a pair of earplugs at the bar if you don’t want tinnitus.

FOLD is by far my favourite club in London; the bouncers are actually nice, the music is insanely good, and there is a strict no-picture policy; people come here for the music and the experience, not to show it off on their social media feeds.

Location: Gillian House, Stephenson St, London E16 4SA, (tube stop: Star Lane). It’s usually open from Thursday to Sunday. Check out their events on their Facebook page.

Printworks

As its name indicates, Printworks used to be a printing house and guess what? A huge printing house is synonymous with a perfectly soundproof place. It is quite literally impossible to hear anything from the deserted street. Electronic music has replaced the noise of the machines for house and techno parties, day and night.

This venue is a maze of huge hangars, corridors, staircases and mezzanines in an industrial setting, where old printing machines cohabit with the dozens of lights that criss-cross the place. There are several empty spaces to facilitate circulation and to take a breather far from the crowd.

But above all, there is a colossal dance floor with a roughly 10-meter long LED screen that projects really colourful and trippy visuals. One thing I particularly like about Printworks, aside from its usually great lineups, is the fact that events start at noon on Saturday and finish at 11 p.m., because you get to dance to amazing music without ruining your Sunday (no, I’m not a granny; I don’t see what you’re on about).

Location:

Surrey Quays Rd, London SE16 7PJ (tube stop: Rotherhithe). It’s open on Friday and Saturday, sometimes on Thursday. Check out their events on their Facebook page here.

Corsica Studio

Corsica Studios has one of the best sound systems in London, hosting techno and house DJs from all over the world, mostly on the experimental and boundary-pushing side. But Corsica Studio also brings big names like Nina Kraviz.

The club is divided into two spaces: the main room and bar on one side and a smaller room on the other. It also has a terrace and an indoor smoking area, but overall, the venue is quite small, which is nice because it’s more intimate. The live sets of the various DJs who play here are often the most anticipated nights.

It has a grimy vibe to it, which is typical of techno venues.

Location:

4/5 Elephant Rd, London SE17 1LB (tube stop: Elephant & Castle). They are licensed for entertainment and alcohol until 3 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Check out their events on their Facebook page.

Fabric

If you’re visiting London, this is a “must-go” venue, sort of like Berghain in Berlin. If you live in London, you’re probably cringing that I’ve added it to my list of clubs in London, but hey … this is an inclusive list. Fabric is one of the best-known techno clubs in the world, so I had to mention it.

Soon after its opening in 1999, it quickly became an institution on the international scene, a reputation earned by offering a consistently high-quality programme that explores all areas of the British electro underground.

Located in a former meatpacking warehouse, the club’s three rooms come to life every weekend, Sunday evenings included if you fancy making your Monday morning even tougher. For those of you wondering why I wrote that Londoners might cringe, it’s because it is what I call techno-kitsch; it was so “edgy” and “underground” that it has just become the opposite of that now. However, I’m a big believer that nights out are what you make of them, and I’ve had some really fun nights at Fabric.

Location:

77A Charterhouse St, Farringdon, London EC1M 6HJ (tube stop: Farringdon). It is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Check out their events here on their Facebook page.

Phonox

Phonox is great. It’s small, and its byword is “back-to-basics.” It is an intimate techno venue, with one resident DJ and a great sound system located in the heart of Brixton, and the tickets and drinks prices are relatively affordable. It unites all of the conditions for it to be a great techno venue without being over-the-top or extravagant, which makes it remain very authentic.

The vibe is very laid-back, and they even mention on their website that “suits and fancy dress are not permitted.” The lights are also a great addition to this venue; combined with the sound system, it really makes for a great experience The next event to look out for, in my opinion, is Objekt & Ifeoluwa on the 16 April.

Location: 418 Brixton Road, SW9 7AY, (tube stop: Brixton). Phonox is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check out their events on their Facebook page.

About the author:

Pauline Lemaire is a Digital Anthropology Masters student at University College London (UCL) and is thus currently based in London. She grew up in Singapore and Morocco, but her family has now relocated to Paris.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in French Literature and Philosophy from the University of Oxford.

See all of Pauline’s Dispatches posts here.

See Dispatches’ complete list here of the EDM parties and festivals across Europe.

+ posts

Pauline Lemaire is a Digital Anthropology Masters student at University College London (UCL) and is thus currently based in London. She grew up in Singapore and Morocco, but her family has now relocated to Paris.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in French Literature and Philosophy from the University of Oxford.

To Top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest news and updates from Dispatches Europe. Get lifestyle & culture, startup & tech, jobs and travel news dispatched to your inbox each week. Keep up with what's going on in Europe. Everything Expat.

You have Successfully Subscribed!