Cabaret Voltaire
Cabaret Voltaire

Alternative Clubbing

Feature by Penny Green.
Published 04 September 2009

Scotland's clubbers are spoilt for choice. Whether you are looking for a grimy basement with a DJ juggling something you've never heard before, or you want to rub in the blisters and jump about to Girls Aloud, you will find it here. At The Skinny, we believe in proper clubbing. So, even if you don't remember what club you were in last night, be sure to remember the following.

Glasgow can be a tad overwhelming. Hands down the most important club venue in the city is the Sub Club. Recently voted the tenth best club in the world by nightlife bible Resident Advisor, there simply is no such thing as a bad night out here. Designed with an ideal club atmosphere in mind, you can experience some world-class club music within the Sub Club. Subculture and Optimo are Subby's flagship weekend nights, with definitely no cheese. Other nights Kinky Afro, Return to Mono, Numbers, HYP? and Monox, and new regular midweek nights Bon Bon, specialising in house and techno, and Flux, taking place on Wednesday evenings will keep your aural learning at an all time high. If you see the inside of the Sub Club more than any lecture hall, consider your academic year a success.

The same applies on the east coast at Edinburgh's Cabaret Voltaire. Nestled into the heart of the city under and inside the stone arches of South Bridge, Cabaret Voltaire pumps seven nights of real clubbing through the capital. Tuesday and Wednesday nights Split and We Are Electric are stalwarts of the weekly clubbing scene in Scotland. Moving through D'n'B, jungle, techno, electro and house, attendance at these nights is nothing short of an education. Sick Note is still free to get into every Thursday, and none of these nights will ever break the bank. Through the weekends, SugarBeat, Karnival, and Ultragroove and Cabaret Voltaire's in-house promoters bring in DJs and live acts who are touring all over the world, plus residents who have a serious eye on the disco ball.

Up north in Aberdeen, Snafu rules the club scene. Mid week nights Electric Boutique and the Dirty Hearts Club are a good bet for cruisy beats and indie mash up, and Mixtape caters for the techno and house-loving crowd on Friday evenings. In house night, The Deep End offers big name guests to rival the central belt's lineups most Saturdays.

So, we've told you where to go for a clubbing education, but we know sometimes learning is tough, take a break while we let you know about some of the best quality student friendly nights around:

The Arches in Glasgow is Scotland's largest arts venue and one of the most stunning. Under the railway arches of Central Station it hosts a variety of gigs, theatre and art events as well as some huge club parties. Every week Octopussy, offers an electro soundtrack with bouncy castles and jacuzzis for fun. Death Disco is a monthly evening of glam pop and electro with retina scorching visuals and big name guests. Thursday night means the Art School for a huge percentage of Glasgow's students. A tiny door tax allows for entry into both RPZ and Mixed Bizness with all the infamous mess that ensues with them. If you really want some grimy cheese, head to the Garage or the Tunnel in Glasgow, guaranteed not to hurt the wallet either.

Edinburgh's Bongo Club is a great venue for both a cup of tea and a sarnie in the day, and a stonker night out at the weekend. Transformed to a Lynch-esque dream, Confusion is Sex, is Bongo's monthly Friday clubnight. Plus Xplicit brings some of the biggest names in drum and bass to Bongo throughout the year and will make you dance like a madman. Over at the GRV, Hybrid and Subtext occupy midweek technoheads, while Club For Heroes at Electric Circus appeals to the eclectic taste. The Hive is a great stop for a mid week bruiser or a weekend without the fuss of a big name, and its Friday night of alternative disco of indie, electro and pop has built up a loyal band of followers over the four years it’s been open. Keep your eye out for good drinks promos too.

Electric Institute runs at Korova in Aberdeen every Thursday, and draws from the city’s resident DJ history, while Friday nights are covered by Kamikazi at Warehouse (formerly Moshulu) and Indo Silver Club at The Tunnels. Well on their way to being a stand out night in the city is Everything Else Sucks who bounce between Snafu and Origin to host a variety of exceptional nights with guests.

It isn't all dark basements and 3am licences however. Weather permitting, Glasgow’s The Courtyard frequently offers all day parties in their outdoor area in the form of Alfrisko, Bigfoot's Tea Party and Sunday Circus. East coast, Outhouse BBQs are the stuff of legend, featuring DJs from live house band and promotion outfit Tokyo Blu. We think it’s too cold to party outside in Aberdeen, but we’ve heard beach parties have happened. Keep your eyes and ears peeled.

There are a spread of smaller venues across the country who are available for that late night party experience, and bouncing between Nice 'n' Sleazy's and the Art School are nights Cheap 'n' Nasty and One More Tune. Noisy fun that'll never hurt your wallet. Plus the likes of Slabs of the Tabernacle and Countach are specialist music nights that visit the function rooms of the Universal, Twisted Wheel and the Halt Bar. The visionary Autobahn, taking place in Edinburgh's Strathie's backroom will give you kraut rock and retro sounds through effect pedals until the wee hours of the morn'. These kind of nights are the DIY jewels in Scotland’s clubbing tiara, don’t miss them!

Finally, for anyone who doesn't like the sound of ahead of the curve music, there is of course Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, George St in Edinburgh and Belmont St in Aberdeen. Not that you won’t have a great night out here, just that the depth of experience will probably be as far as the bottom of the shot glass, and then, well, you’re anyone’s game, eh?