A nightclub (or "night club" or "club") is a drinking, dancing, and entertainment venue which does its primary business after dark. A nightclub is usually distinguished from bars, pubs or taverns, by the inclusion of a dance floor and a DJ booth, where a DJ plays recorded dance and pop music. Some nightclubs have other forms of entertainment, such as comedians, "go-go" dancers, a floor show or strippers. The music in nightclubs is either live bands or, more commonly these days a mix of songs played by a DJ through a powerful PA system. Most clubs cater to certain music genres, such as house music or salsa. The style of music to a large extent, attracts the patrons. To be popular, a nightclub must generate an enjoyable atmosphere.



Nelson Kruschandl on Kings night club, Eastbourne


Nelson on evening venues



The best clubs incorporate an interesting layout and fittings. I have been to some clubs that are little more than a thinly veiled cattle market, where it is inevitable beer and other drinks are spilt onto the floors not only likely to, but actually causing accidents. This is bound to happen where clubbers often exceed their limitations. I notice these things because I don't drink or smoke. Odd you might think for a clubber, but in fact I have just as good a time as my fellow clubbers who are well oiled. The secret is to soak up the vibes and let go.


I thanked the stars the day the smoking ban was introduced. Unfortunately, the ban brought with it other problems policing the system. Nicotine addiction is so strong, clubbers are forced to herd into hastily provided outdoor pens. These pens are often heavily guarded by club security staff and local police to prevent disagreements spilling into the streets. Mind you, the risk of contracting cancer has been reduced for non-smokers, and for that reason alone, I suppose it's worth it.



Nightclub dance floor foam suds


Nightclub patrons dancing at a foam party, in which the dance floor 

is covered with non-toxic foam suds



Major cities in Europe and North America often have a variety of nightclubs, and some small towns and cities also have nightclubs. Nightclubs often feature lighting and other effects, to enhance the dancing experience. Lighting and effects include flashing colored lights, moving light beams, laser light shows, strobe lights, mirror-covered disco balls, or foam, and smoke machines.

Nightclub hours vary widely; in areas with liquor regulations in place, nightclubs may stay open until 1 AM or even 4 AM. In some cities, illegal "after hours" clubs stay open and serve alcohol after the legal closing time. In non-regulated areas, nightclubs stay open legally all night and into early daylight hours.

Variant types of nightclubs include non-smoking and alcohol-free nightclubs, or comedy clubs. Restaurants or supper clubs may provide music and entertainment similar to that provided by a nightclub. However, the food is the main attraction at these establishments, whereas entertainment is the main attraction at a nightclub. 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. "Under 18" clubs are nightclubs which hold liquor-free dances for teens from 14 to 18 years of age.

Dancing clubbers at a nightclub


Dancers move to the beat of a DJ's dance music at a nightclub




Nightclubs are usually built in former warehouses and cinemas, underground buildings, and custom-built buildings, with thick, insulated walls and few or no windows, so that the neighboring buildings will not be disturbed by the powerful beat of the dance music and the flashing strobe lights. As well, this style of construction keeps light and noise from the street from entering the club.

This allows the nightclub to turn the dance floor into an alternate, illusory realm of timelessness. Even if an all-night rave at a nightclub lasts until 6 AM, when it is light outside, to the club-goers, it is still dark inside the club, and the partying and dancing continue.

In most cases entering a night club requires a flat fee called a cover charge. Early arrivers and women often have cover waived (in the United Kingdom, this latter option is illegal under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975). Friends of the doorman or the club owner may gain free entrance. Sometimes, especially at larger clubs, one only gets a pay card at the entrance, on which all money spent in the discotheque (often including the entrance fee) is marked. Sometimes entrance fee and wardrobe costs are paid by cash and only the drinks in the club are paid using a pay card.


Early history

During US Prohibition, nightclubs went underground as illegal speakeasy bars. With the repeal of Prohibition in February 1933 nightclubs were revived, such as New York's Stork Club, El Morocco and the Copacabana. In Harlem, the Cotton Club was a popular venue for white audiences. Before 1953 and even some years thereafter, most bars and nightclubs used a jukebox or mostly live bands. In Paris, at a club named Whisky à Gogo, Régine laid down a dance-floor, suspended coloured lights and replaced the juke-box with two turntables which she operated herself so there would be no breaks between the music. The Whisky à Gogo set into place the standard elements of the modern discotheque-style nightclub. In the early 1960s, Mark Birley opened a members-only discotheque nightclub, Annabel's, in Berkeley Square, London. However, the first rock and roll generation preferred rough and tumble bars and taverns to elegant nightclubs, and the nightclub did attain mainstream popularity until the 1970s disco era.

Colored strobe lights at a nughtclub


1970s: Disco

By the late 1970s many major US cities had thriving disco club scenes which were centered around discotheques, nightclubs, and private loft parties where DJs would play disco hits through powerful PA systems for the dancers. The DJs played "... a smooth mix of long single records to keep people “dancing all night long” " Some of the most prestigious clubs had elaborate lighting systems that throbbed to the beat of the music. The largest UK cities like Liverpool, Manchester, London and several key European places like Paris, Berlin, Ibiza, Rimini also played a significant role in the evolution of clubbing, DJ culture and nightlife.

Some cities had disco dance instructors or dance schools which taught people how to do popular disco dances such as "touch dancing", the "hustle" and the "cha cha." There were also disco fashions that discotheque-goers wore for nights out at their local disco, such as sheer, flowing Halston dresses for women and shiny polyester Qiana shirts for men. Disco clubs and "...hedonistic loft parties" had a club culture which had many African American, gay and hispanic people.

In addition to the dance and fashion aspects of the disco club scene, there was also a thriving drug subculture, particularly for drugs that would enhance the experience of dancing to the loud music and the flashing lights, such as cocaine (nicknamed "blow"), amyl nitrite "poppers", and the "...other quintessential 1970s club drug Quaalude, which suspended motor coordination and turned one’s arms and legs to Jell-O." The "[m]assive quantities of drugs ingested in discotheques by newly liberated gay men produced the next cultural phenomenon of the disco era: rampant promiscuity and public sex. While the dance floor was the central arena of seduction, actual sex usually took place in the nether regions of the disco: bathroom stalls, exit stairwells, and so on. In other cases the disco became a kind of “main course” in a hedonist’s menu for a night out."

Famous 1970s discotheques included "...cocaine-filled celeb hangouts such as Manhattan's Studio 54 ", which was operated by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. Studio 54 was notorious for the hedonism that went on within; the balconies were known for sexual encounters, and drug use was rampant. Its dance floor was decorated with an image of the "Man in the Moon" that included an animated cocaine spoon. Other famous discotheques included the Loft, the Paradise Garage, and Aux Puces, one of the first gay disco bars. By the early 1980s, the term "disco" had largely fallen out of favor in North America).

1980s London

During the 1980s, during the New Romantic movement, London had a vibrant nightclub scene, which included clubs like The Blitz,the Camden Palace and Club for Heroes. Both music and fashion embraced the aesthetics of the movement. Bands included Depeche Mode, Human League, Duran Duran, Blondie, Eurythmics and Ultravox. Reggae-influenced bands included Boy George and Culture Club, and electronic vibe bands included Visage. At London nightclubs, young men would often wear make-up and young women would wear mens' suits.

1990s and 2000s

In Europe and North America, nightclubs play disco-influenced dance music such as house music, techno, and other dance music styles such as electro or trance. Most nightclubs in the U.S. major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Seattle, and San Francisco play hip-hop, house and trance music. These clubs are generally the largest and most frequented of all of the different types of clubs.

In most other languages, nightclubs are referred to as "discos" or "discothèques" (French: discothèque; Italian and Spanish: discoteca; German: Disko or Diskothek). In Japanese, disuko refers to an older, smaller, less fashionable venue; while, kurabu refers to a more recent, larger, more popular venue. The term night is used to refer to an evening focusing on a specific genre, such as "retro music night" or a "singles night."

After the fall of communism in the Czech Republic, "nightclub" or "night club" became a common euphemism for a brothel. Therefore this word is not used in its original meaning.


Nightclub foam party dancing fun


Clubgoers dancing at a foam party 




Accidents at nightclubs can occur for many reasons. The most disastrous accidents were fires at well-visited nightclubs, so fire prevention has to be taken great care

April 23rd, 1940, Rhythm Night Club Fire, 209 killed at nightclub fire at Natchez, Mississippi, USA 

November 28th, 1942, Cocoanut Grove fire, 492 killed in a nightclub fire at Boston 

March 8th, 1973, Whiskey Au Go Go fire, 15 killed after firebombing at Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, Australia 

August 2nd, 1973, Summerland disaster, 51 killed at fire at Summerland leisure centre at Douglas, Isle of Man 

May 28th, 1977, Beverly Hills Supper Club fire, 165 killed and 200 injured in fire 

February 14th, 1981, Stardust disaster, 48 killed and 214 injured at nightclub fire at Dublin, Ireland 

April 5th, 1986, Bomb attack on La Belle discotheque, Berlin, 3 killed, 230 injured 

February 1990, Stage collapse at a discotheque at Bilbao, Spain, 13 injured 

March 25th, 1990, Happy Land Fire, 87 killed in a nightclub fire at Happy Land, New York City 

December 20th, 1993, Kheyvis Fire, 17 killed in a nightclub fire at Buenos Aires, Argentina 

October 30th, 1998, Gothenburg nightclub fire, 63 people killed, 200 injured in a nightclub fire at Gothenburg, Sweden 

October 13th, 2001, Stage toggled at Zapata discotheque Stuttgart, several people hurt 
2002, several people climb in a nightclub at Oberhausen on a 120 kg heavy loudspeaker box and fell down with the box, 4 killed 

October 12th, 2002, 2002 Bali bombings, 202 killed by large bombs 

December 7th, 2002, Cowgate fire, Edinburgh, UK 

February 20, 2003, The Station nightclub fire, 100 killed at nightclub fire at Warwick, Rhode Island 

December 30th, 2004, República Cromagnon nightclub fire, 194 killed and 714 injured in a nightclub fire at Buenos Aures, Argentina 

December 31st, 2005, a circular crossbar fell down from the roof of a nightclub at Ibbenbüren, Germany, 1 person heavy and 3 low hurt 

June 18th, 2007, Gatecrasher One Fire, Sheffield, UK






Atlantis - Eastbourne Pier

Big Beat Boutique - Brighton

The Crypt - Hastings

Funktion Rooms - Eastbourne

Kings - Eastbourne

Oceana - Brighton

TJ's - Eastbourne

Trek Club - Seaford




Christina Kings night club raft race team Eastbourne


Christina, Kings nightclub, Eastbourne




  • Rietveld, Hillegonda C. (July/Augist 2000). "The body and soul of club culture". Unesco Courier 53

  • Lawrence, Tim (2005-06-14). Reviews of Love Saves the Day. Blog

  • Gootenberg, Paul 1954- Between Coca and Cocaine: A Century or More of U.S.-Peruvian Drug Paradoxes, 1860-1980 Hispanic American Historical Review - 83:1, February 2003, pp. 119-150. He says that "The relationship of cocaine to 1970s disco culture cannot be stressed enough; ..."

  • Nitrites. DrugScope.. “Amyl, butyl and isobutyl nitrite (collectively known as alkyl nitrites) are clear, yellow liquids which are inhaled for their intoxicating effects. Nitrites originally came as small glass capsules that were popped open. This led to nitrites being given the name 'poppers' but this form of the drug is rarely found in the UK The drug became popular in the UK first on the disco/club scene of the 1970s and then at dance and rave venues in the 1980s and 1990s.”

  • Braunstein, Peter (November 1999). "Disco". American Heritage Magazine 










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Solar Cola drinkers like clubbing


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