In all the excitement and potential intoxication, I dropped my phone on the cobblestoned street and if I’m being honest I’m kind of glad it happened. It was the first time in three years of clubbing that I wasn’t standing on my phone in a corner of the dancefloor or trying to get up close to the DJ booth to get Insta-worthy pictures. I spent the night dancing with my friends, enjoying the feeling of the strobe lights flooding the crowd and lighting us up in a pink and purple fluorescent essence. I would give anything to relive that night, not because I had fun (which I did) but because maybe I would have appreciated it more than I did at the time.
If I knew that was the last time I was going to step foot in a clubbing environment, then the whole night would have been different. Instead of dreaming of the could haves, I’ll reminisce on the best bits and give you a low down on clubbing in Dublin City, the go-to places, the do’s and don’ts, essentially a survival guide to nightlife in Dublin.
Starting off I want to tell you why you should be going to clubs. Clubbing isn’t all about getting drunk and making a show of yourself on the dance floor. Clubbing is about music, meeting people, supporting a dying cultural experience in our country, supporting artists, musicians, venues, hospitality, and the creative industry in general! Film, television, and the media, in general, have stereotyped the clubber as a drug addict, an alcoholic, wreckless, anti-social…the list goes on. You don’t need to drink alcohol or take drugs to enjoy a night out. Obviously, if you don’t like being around people who do drink and take drugs, then I don’t recommend putting yourself in an environment you aren’t comfortable in. However, you could immerse yourself in the virtual reality of a club and experience it on a smaller, less intimidating scale.
Clubbing in Dublin has dramatically changed over the past decade with many venues closing down or being forced to close down due to the ‘need’ for another hotel. Hangar, District 8/The Tivoli (moved to Jam Park in Swords), The Bernard Shaw, The Palace, are some of the famous venues that unfortunately closed down within the last four years.
Where does one go in Dublin on a night out? There are two tiers to clubbing in Dublin. There are the reliables; the clubs that are open weekly or have weekly events and are very well established and well known amongst club-goers. Examples of clubs that could be classed as the reliables are the Academy, Coppers, The George (LGBTQ+ Friendly), O’Rileys, Diceys, and Everleigh. These clubs fill up fast, have the same kind of attendees every week. Expect GAA jerseys, jeans, shirts, and brown shoes (joking of course). Drinks are moderately priced, with 3 jager bombs for €12 in most of these places, but I would recommend taking out a loan if you plan on drinking in Coppers!
Then there are the independents, clubs that are like a pop-up shop or the Japanese restaurants that turn into clubs by night where eager DJ collectives take over for the masses. Venues I would consider part of the independents would be Index, District 8, The Hub, Yamamori Tengu, Tramline, Workmans (this is a pub-club and falls somewhere in between reliable and independent), The Globe, The Grand Social, R.I.O.T and the Button Factory to name a few. These clubs offer a lot to the clubber. They’re more inclined to be artistic in decor, fashion, and music alike! You should expect heavy electronic, trance, warehouse sounds as well as the usual club hits and indie bangers. Drinks are also different in some of these venues with craft beers on tap as well as some of the regular lagers and spirits. I couldn’t be too certain how many of these venues will stay open post-pandemic but here’s to hoping they stay standing through it all.
Onto some general advice for a night out, these are just some of my personal guidelines to make sure you have an enjoyable and safe experience. Never leave your drink unattended and NEVER pick up a random drink and expect it to be a “normal drink”. As safe as clubs are, there are individuals who go out to them with bad intentions so just be aware of your drink, and if you see suspicious behavior around an unattended drink make sure you do the right thing and say it to a security guard or venue personal.
Make sure your bag and phone are always on your person unless you leave them with a very trusted person and if you have a phone case I recommend putting your cards, cash, and cloakroom ticket in the back so even if you lose your bag you’ll still have the essentials.
Make sure your phone is charged in case of an emergency and if you have space in your bag bring a charger because most places have plug sockets scattered around, so make use of them if they’re available. Most clubs/pubs don’t do behind-the-bar charging anymore but if you’re desperate for a charger there’s no harm in asking. Another option is to bring a portable charger just to be on the safe side.
Clubs can be an intimate setting and some attendees might not understand or be respectful of your personal space. People could grab parts of your body without your consent. Address the situation if you’re uncomfortable with it and remind the person that consent and personal space exist and ask them to be respectful of that. If you see or experience unwanted touch or sexual harassment whether it’s verbal or physical, make sure you report it to a security guard and don’t personally intervene.
Because a night out can lead to something more I’d like to mention to be safe if you plan on having sex or doing other intimate activities. As a lot of first years won’t have been to a club yet due to the pandemic it’s a good idea to be prepared yourself because sometimes the other person might not so having a condom to hand is ideal, even if it’s not going to be used by you, a friend might be in need of one! You can always find condoms for free in a sexual health clinic, your GP, or the Student Unions Office and it’s something you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask for from family or friends!
Hopefully, that little guide inspired you to go to a club once they reopen after the pandemic! Like I mentioned before, clubbing is important culturally and there’s an event night out there for everyone. If you go abroad on holidays, check out the nightlife there and see how it differs from Irish nightlife. Some places like Berlin and Amsterdam have very heavy nightlife and clubs can be open for 24 hours in some places. Here’s to hoping the clubs open back up in 2021 and we can return to the dance floor once again!