As soon as you drive out of Ibiza’s airport, it becomes very clear the predominant industry on this island is clubbing thanks to the many billboards plastered with DJ’s faces, club branding, CD advertisements and events. My personal favourite is the triple-length billboard advertising Pacha's F*** Me I’m Famous night as you hit the highway – you’ve seriously got to see it to believe it.
It’s true, Ibiza is the home of the super club. It’s a mecca for dance music fans, clubbers and music enthusiasts from all over the globe. It’s often called the dance music capital of the world, and simultaneously the party capital of the world, so it’s no surprise nightlife dominates many holidays. Itineraries are planned with precision based on what superstar DJs are playing in each club every night; often taking precedence over beach time. Every single night in Ibiza feels like the weekend anywhere else in the world (for four months of the year anyway). Where else would you spend the early hours of Monday morning cheering as the sun comes up and planes fly over a club?
The super clubs
My top seven super clubs are spread around the island. Find out more Pacha on my Ibiza Town nightlife page; for the low-down on Eden and Es Paradis see San Antonio nightlife; and to discover what I love about Space and DC10, visit Playa d'en Bossa nightlife. There are two clubs that don't fall under the resorts I cover - Amnesia and Privilege, which are both on the main road between Ibiza Town and San Antonio - and you'll find information about these below.
Arguably the clubber’s favourite club, Amnesia (Crta Ibiza-San Antonio, KM 4.8, San Rafael; +34 971 198 041; www.amnesia.es) is renowned for being the birthplace of the Balearic music movement and responsible for the dawn of the Acid House scene. Originally an 18th-century farmhouse, it celebrated 20 years as a nightclub in 2010! There are only two rooms in Amnesia – two huge, cavernous rooms with balconies lining the first floor and looking down onto the throbbing dance floor – known simply as the main room and the terrace, both kitted out with custom-created sound systems that hit you with a wall of sound as you enter and intense ice cannons sending freezing cold bursts onto the dance floor at regular intervals each night. Trust me, you’ll know about it when it hits you!
Monday nights are my all-time favourite, when the German lords of techno, led by ringmaster Sven Vath take over the club for the mighty Cocoon party. On Tuesdays, the music is a slightly more subtle approach with Roger Sanchez’s Release Yourself Party. Then on Wednesdays, it takes yet another turn with the legendary gay event, La Troya, featuring dancers and performers all night long – plus, the notorious foam party takes place too, filling the venue with suds... I don’t need to describe it any more; surely your imagination can do the trick! Thursday nights are a favourite with the Brit-pack, as Cream fill the venue, with special guest residents like deadmau5 bringing in the younger crowds. On Friday nights, the island takes back it’s club, as Amnesia Presents People From Ibiza, a selection of local talent plus exclusive live performances from acts like Digitalism, Laurent Garnier and more. Sundays offer a completely different clubbing perspective, with Popstars led by Brian Cross and Spanish singing sensation Soraya.
Entry price to Amnesia is between 25 and 70 euros.
Privilege (Calle de Ibiza, 03698, Jardin de Alfaz, l’Alfas de Pi, San Rafael; +34 971 198 160; www.privilegeibiza.com) holds the official Guinness World Record for “Biggest Club In The World” with a capacity of 10,000 people and even a swimming pool inside. It was the first club I ever visited in Ibiza, for a Manumission party and boy did it make an impression on me – I still think that was one of the greatest nights of my life! But before I was even born, Privilege was making waves in its previous incarnation as Ku, attracting stars like Freddie Mercury and Grace Jones to its open air adults' playground (these days it has a roof) and playing a huge part in Ibiza’s clubbing history.
These days, it’s lost a teensy bit of its sparkle without the infamous Manumission parties (plus it could do with a lick of paint), though it’s still hitting capacity with the Tiesto concert-style events every Monday night and also with the outrageously OTT Supermartxe events (a predominantly gay party focused on OTT performances and now championed by Paris Hilton). Tuesday nights are a more modest affair with My Clubroom, Wednesdays have been taken over by Brazilian club Warung and Thursday is the gay-centric The Face Of Ibiza, featuring Ibiza legends DJ Oliver and host Baby Marcelo. Weekends at the club are as yet unconfirmed for 2011, so watch this space!
Entry to Privilege ranges from free (Yes! Really!) to 50 euros.
Only in Ibiza!
But despite what the billboards imply, there’s much more to Ibiza’s nightlife scene than just the impressive nightclubs! Ibiza Town is a nightly hotspot, with a plethora of bars to choose from to kick start your evening, keeping in mind it’s quite normal to eat dinner at around 11pm, hit the bars after midnight then the clubs at 2am.
Super cool, eclectic and modern lounge bars are found all over the island, offering a sophisticated alternative to the traditional big night out. I love the wacky KM5 (Crta San Jose, KM 5.6, San Jose; +34 971 308 575; www.km5-lounge.com), where you can order a drink from a life-sized killer whale bar, and the totally decadent El Ayoun (Calle Isidor Macabich, 6, San Rafael; +34 971 198 335; www.elayoun.com) in San Rafael when you really want to splurge.
For those nights when you want to dance with reckless abandonment, but don’t feel like the huge effort associated with the major clubs, Underground (Crta San Antonio-Ibiza, KM 7, San Rafael; +34 971 198 015; www.ibizaunderground.com) is my top tip, and a local’s favourite hangout.
Over in San Antonio, there is a huge pre-party scene plus the notorious West End, where you can witness the Brits Abroad phenomenon in full effect, meanwhile over in Playa d’en Bossa the beach party scene continues to thrive, with music and dancing on the sand until midnight every night. Ibiza locals are fiercely loyal to the intimate bar scene up north towards San Juan, or choose to listen to live music and barhop in Santa Eulalia. The beauty of nightlife in Ibiza? To each their own, and there’s enough room here for everybody!
For more on the other super clubs, plus the more relaxed nightlife scenes around the island, visit Ibiza Town nightlife, Playa d'en Bossa nightlife, San Antonio nightlife, San Juan nightlife and Santa Eulalia nightlife.