UNDERGROUND: THE CLUB THAT WON IBIZA BY LETTING THE MUSIC DO THE TALKING
Our taxi passes a giant, illuminated U on the side of the motorway and our destination for the evening is revealed. We pull up to an unassuming complex, gorgeous party people scattered outside, chatting and taking in the scenery.
As we enter the venue, many more bodies are moving to the music being played inside. Sumptuous tech and glitchy house has the room winding and twisting – all of this and it’s only 11pm.
The sounds are seductive and slow but that’s just the start point for the evening. As time goes on, the bpm rises and so does the atmosphere. Loud cheers after rolling drops and hands-in-the-air moments come soon enough. But this isn’t DC-10, nor Space. No, this is Ibiza Underground, a club that’s become the go-to spot for island heads and those who want a proper Ibiza experience since it opened in 2001.
It’s off-the-beaten-path San Rafael location means Underground isn’t an obvious place to get to, but once you’re in, you won’t be bothered that you had to do a little exploring to get there. In comparison to nearest clubs Privilege and Amnesia, Underground is tiny. It comprises of a main room that hosts about 1500 dancers, a smaller bar room and a big outdoor terrace where clubbers lounge on sofas, catching their breath and soaking up the Balearic vibes.
The club was originally set up by two brothers, Jesus and Juanito, who both worked at El Divino in Belfast. Jesus was the bar manager there and Juanito the resident DJ. Alongside them was Nick Fry, a music aficionado who had previously been involved with warehouse parties in London and the famous Wednesday nights at Cafe de Paris.
“Our ethos when we started was to support the alternative, less commercial dance music scene, providing an interesting venue with importantly great sound for those seeking something different from the big commercial clubs. DC-10 was the only venue doing this at the time” says Fry.
This is something that’s reverberated through the club in the decade and a half it’s been open and despite the fact its motto is, unashamedly, ‘not for everyone’, its sense of belonging and family is striking. It’s the destination of choice for workers, locals and purists alike: door tax is a modest 20 euros (including free drink) and the talent in the booth is always on-point.