We don’t know much about German miserabilist Nietzsche, but we do know that he said this: “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
Wise words, Fred, wise words. We also know that watching films enriches any given day too. So, what can be better than those films that dedicate their soul to the vertical expression of a horizontal desire – yes, dancing, numbskull.
Now, get into the groove with the best 20 clubs in film.
Dress code: Flares, cowboy uniform, retro 70s T-shirts, roller skates
Track: Commodores – Machine Gun
Proof that disco did not suck. The music in the none-more-neon Hot Traxx is just that – if you’ll pardon the clubbing nomenclature; the vibe reeks of hedonism and desire; and, best of all, Heather Graham is showing off her shapely pins while prancing around on roller skates.
Saturday Night Fever
Dress code: Sharp shirts, medallions, tight pantaloons, slicked back hair.
Track: Trammps – Disco Inferno
More proof that disco did not suck. Look, it did not suck, right. Punk might have been the credible music of 1977, but who was having more fun, and getting admiring glances from the ladies – Tony Monero or Johnny Rotten? Exactly. We’ll be Stayin’ Alive at the Odyssey any night of the week. Preferably Saturday of course.
24 Hour Party People
Dress code: Baggy everything – tops, trousers, trainers… even the bobbed haircuts have to be baggy
Track: A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray
Ok, a bit of a cheat as the Hacienda actually existed, but it’s recreated marvellously in 24 Hour Party People. And as Tony (Steve Coogan) Wilson has it: Buildings create synergy. They’re a focus for creativity. And you thought it was all about dancing like a loon while grinning inanely. Not sure Manchester was like Renaissance Florence, mind. The best nightclub ever though.
Dress Code: Suited and booted meets hippy chic
Track: Sly & The Family Stone – Dance To The Music
The 60s were something of a cultural crossroads – where the lysergic underground met the straight-laced ethics of the old world order. The nightclub in Point Blank captures this collision perfectly. The psychedelic soul of The Stu Gardner Trio soundtracks Lee Marvin’s hard boiled cop getting down to business.
Coming To America
Dress code: A mish mash of 80s style gone wrong – loud jumpers a must, double-breasted big jackets an optional extra
Track: Colonel Abrams - Trapped
Ah, the first time at a nightclub…. We’ve all been disco virgins, gawping at the nefarious antics of societies loved-up misfits. That’s why we love this club in Coming To America so much – the freaks really have come out.
Dress code: A suit.
Track: Bobby Darin – Beyond The Sea
Every man’s date night wet dream. Anyone says otherwise and they’re lying. You say nightclub, we say Copacabana
Dress code: Hip hop garb – box fresh shell toes, basketball vests, BIG parkas (it’s Detroit)
Track: Eminem – Lose Yourself
Not all clubs are about peace, love and harmony. The Shelter is about beef, conflict and battlin’. If you’ve got the rhymes and the patter or the beats that matter… we’ll stop now. Let’s just say if its bareknuckle hip hop beatboxing you’re after, this is the place to come. Oh, and a word to the wise: this clip is most definitely Not Suitable for Work. Profanity alert!
Dress code: Casual glam. This isn’t Studio 54, but it ain’t the Clapham Grand either. Make an effort, but not too showy.
Track: Basement Jaxx – Red Alert
It might not have the hip credentials of the Hacienda (see above), or a real life Fabric, but the club in Black Swan, doesn’t look half bad. They’re playing The Chemical Brothers (always a good thing) and Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis look to be saying: “Lez be friends.” What’s not to like?
Dress code: Anything – literally anything (even V-neck sweaters): as long as it’s expensive, you’re good. Sort of.
Track: C+C Music Factory – Gonna Make You Sweat
This club is so wrong, it’s frickin’ ace. Everyone is slightly too old (although Sharon Stone looks divine), the dress code is all over the place, darling, and someone has let a cop – a cop! – in, and he’s wearing a V-neck sweater. With nothing on underneath. The club, housed in a church, is based on New York’s glamorous Limelight nightspot. Oh, to have a space like that around the corner, eh?
Summer of Sam
Dress code: An OTT pastel suit.
Track: T-Connection – At Midnight
Those first moments when you walk in a club, when you can hear the music calling you, the bass throbbing, the crowd ecstatic, that sense of undeniable anticipation, are ace. Clubbing veterans know immediately if it’s gonna be a good night within the first few seconds of entering the hallowed space. Spike Lee captures this sensation in his gripping Summer of Sam – oh, to have been a disco doyen in New York in 1977.
Dress code: Italian inspired suit; Fred Perry polo shirt; desert boots…
Track: Booker T & The MGs - Green Onions
Mods loved for dancing all night to the best in beat-driven, (mostly) black music from America. We don’t advise jumping from the balcony just to impress some lass though. What if no one breaks your fall? Doesn’t bear thinking about.
The Last Days of Disco
Dress code: Expensive Wall Street-cum-Ivy League chic
Track: Chic – Dance, Dance, Dance - Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah
If Saturday Night Fever and Summer of Sam highlighted the grittier side of New York disco, Whit Stillman’s strangely sardonic The Last Days of Disco encapsulated the more moneyed side of things across the city. Studio 54 was a place to see as much as be seen in.
Dress code: Skanky?
Track: 50 Cent – In Da Club
Sometimes, not getting into the club is the club experience. Everyone has had that dream of getting beyond the velvet rope dashed by some officious jerk with a clipboard. It is what it is. Best become a DJ or something. Entry guaranteed.
Dress code: New York post punk neo millennium cool – that is, anything goes!
Track: Yello – Bostich
Get on that dancefloor and cut some rug. Do not, however, attempt to seduce girls that were not born when you first got excited about ‘that’ Madonna video. Especially not if you’re their teacher. Clubbing etiquette rule number 16, folks.
Dress code: Armani, Prada, Versace
Track: Depeche Mode – People Are People
Patrick Bateman is not a nice person, the way he speaks to bartenders – admittedly she was slightly grumpy – is not nice. He does, however, frequent cool New York clubs that play great electro-pop crossover hits. He has, if somewhat disjointed, taste.
Dress code: Casual garb – a T-shirt and a denim jacket. Get ready to dance
Track: Underworld – Rez
Acid house changed everything in clubland. Men for instance now wanted to dance! Yes, there was a cheeky little drug that helped, but the wind changed. And stayed changed for a good 10-15 years. Marvellous times for closely-cropped hedonists.
A Night At The Roxbury
Dress code: Miami Vice pastel chic
Track: Haddaway – What Is Love
Some clubs are full of fools on the make. Watching them do the Running Man dance at 100mph is an enjoyable way to spend an evening. Then show them how it’s really done.
The Social Network
Dress code: A grey hoody?
Track: Swedish House Mafia - Leave The World Behind
The best clubs are about the music. But some clubs are about the women that go there. The music will be mainstream, and the drinks overpriced. But, but, but… the women will be gorgeous. Maybe Candice Swanepoel will be there?
Dress code: A dash of disco meets a passing of punk. It’s all about the underground style of Detroit.
Track: Propaganda – Duel
If a robotic cop – a Robocop! – appears at your robotic disco – robodisco! – then just keep on strutting your funky stuff. It’s just another day in broken down Detroit, home of the best beats and pieces.
Dress code: Tracksuit; whistles, feather boas
Track: Orbital – Halcyon
Jaded? Cynical? Get out the club and leave it to the real 24 Hour Party People, granddad!