Though Aberdeen‘s clubbing scene might not be as famous as its southern neighbours Glasgow and Edinburgh, a thriving student population and a proud local community means that this coastal city likes to get down with the best of them. From the latest in EDM at multi-story venues to soulful jams beneath the streets, Aberdeen has got it covered. So if you’re ready to dance until dawn, check out our guide to the best clubs in this northern city.
The Garage Aberdeen
A firm favourite of students from the University of Aberdeen, this multi-room club just off of Union Street is known for their cheap-and-cheerful drinks and thumping dance anthems. Their Disco Fridays are the perfect throwback to simpler times, and are an unmissable feature of the weekly calendar in this city. When their stellar line-up of video DJs aren’t regaling the masses with their beats, The Garage is also a rocking live music venue, hosting the likes of Django Django and Deaf Havana when they’re in town.
Featuring three distinct club rooms across two floors, The Institute has something for everyone at every price point. Their main room pumps out the best in EDM with state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and with two well-stocked bars to wet your whistle. For something a bit more intimate, private shindigs can rent out The Loft, an expansive and luxurious space high up in the rafters for you and 400 of your closest friends. But if you’re looking to really roll out the red carpet, the Gold Bar is The Institute’s VIP lounge, including valet service and an extensive cocktail menu.
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Situated at the gateway of Aberdeen’s stylish West End neighbourhood, the Babylon is located on the upper floors of a converted ecclesiastical church, whereby the sanctified space has been transformed into an intimate venue dripping with candlelight and velvet, and sacred relics swapped out for strobe lighting and lush red bouquets. Their excellent premium spirits menu will make a believer out of anyone.
Cheerz Bar and Club
Aberdeen’s only LGBT club, Cheerz Bar and Club is famous for their critically acclaimed drag performances and musical theatre. Staffed by fabulous drag queens, they host karaoke and quiz nights seven days a week, but also drop excellent beats during their club events in the evening. Featuring both established and up-and-coming local DJs, the Cheerz party stretches into the wee hours of the morning on Friday and Saturdays. Come for the glitter and big hairdos, leave with an open mind and open heart.
Though Krakatoa is more of a music venue, this dimly lit and hard-wearing dive bar is an indispensable part of Aberdeen nightlife. Located within spitting distance of the River Dee, this beloved Aberdeen institution celebrates its ability to bring ‘people from all walks of life together’ and promises to accept you for who you are. Their lounge area features an expansive dance floor and has showcased touring and local rock ‘n’ roll acts alike. Their expertly crafted beer and tiki menu is also a thing of beauty.
Located in two passageways beneath the city, this ‘rave cave’ was refurbished in 2014 and now boasts some of the best underground club nights in the UK. With capacity for 500 party-goers, the Tunnels hosts over a hundred events each year, including burlesque, comedy and magic shows. With a focus on techno and house, the Tunnels take pains to spotlight established touring acts as well as ‘fresh meat,’ so you’ll get to dance to your favourites and experience the latest in electronic music all in one venue.
The pillar of the alternative music scene in Aberdeen, Café Drummonds hosts regular club nights featuring the best of alt-rock as well as plenty of the classics. The main stage area is able to comfortably accommodate 200, and often hosts tribute acts to bastions of the industry, from Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty to The Smiths and Meatloaf. There’s also a regular open mic night for those with a funny bone to share.