Europe 16 – Ibiza Closing Parties

Ibiza Closing Parties (2)

The clubs

The two Sant Antoni-based clubs, Eden and Es Paradis, draw a young British rave crowd, many of them steaming after warming up in the resort’s notorious West End (famed for its dozens of British pubs, raucous happy hours, wet T-shirt contests, puking and brawling). Their closing parties are always wild, with hundreds of workers who’ve survived the Ibiza season by waiting on tables, dishing out club flyers or dealing dodgy drugs, letting rip and joining the holidaying clubbers. At Es Paradis, a stunning venue topped by a pyramid, the entire dance floor is flooded just before sunrise, provoking an orgy of groping. Up in Sant Rafel, in the centre of the island, music is more the focal point of the party, especially at Amnesia, one of the key venues of the 1980s Acid House scene, whose final closing party in late September is another essential date. After 4am, the club usually throws open its doors and lets everyone in free, and despite official regulations, the party often continues for another twelve hours or so until the last frazzled, wobbly legged dancers are escorted away from the dance floor. Cream always puts on a mighty fine closing show as well, hiring some of the finest turntableists, and concentrating on the darker side of dance music – trance and tribal sounds – from the likes of Paul Van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold. Over the road from Amnesia, it’s well worth taking a look at Privilege, the largest club on the island, with a capacity of around ten thousand. Though the building is besmirched by an ugly roof, the vast interior is breathtaking, with a huge main dance floor, a dozen bars, and a bizarre chill-out dome-zone. You can count on

Manumission to concoct an interesting theme for their closing party (though the live sex shows are no more), but no other promoters are able to fill the arena, so choose your night with care or you could be paying €50 to get in and have the floor to yourself. Since 2004, Manumission have also brought in emerging guitar bands, including Babyshambles, Maximo Park and the Kaiser Chiefs, to appear at Privilege’s Music Box area, in a laudable effort to inject fresh energy and riffs into the Ibizan scene. Plans are afoot to further develop this idea, using more and more live acts, and there is even talk of creating a Glastonbury-style festival. Meanwhile, over in Ibiza Town, the club Pacha is unmissable. One of the most elegant venues in Europe, it started life as a finca on the edge of town, before being transformed into a club in 1973. It’s since been extended to include a restaurant, sushi bar, and a variety of different rooms that concentrate on diverse rhythms – salsa, techno, funk and R&B – though upfront house rules the main room. Most nights are consistently good, but closing parties are very special indeed, with the cream of the world’s best DJs, including Erick Morillo and Roger Sanchez, cranking up the pressure to delirious levels. Be warned, however, that the door tax is steep (€40-50) and drinks prices are outrageous (around €15 for a vodka tonic, and €10 for a small bottle of mineral water).

Ibiza Town’s other main club, El Divino, is the smallest of the island’s prime venues (capacity is around one thousand) but enjoys a stunning setting on the harbour, directly opposite the old town of Dalt Vila across the water. In recent years, it has become much more credible as a venue, with guest slots from some of the world’s finest vinyl spinners (including Armand Van Helden and Little Louie Vega) helping the venue to shake off its previous reputation as party central for a dubious bunch of ageing playboys, silicon- pumped hookers, mobsters and Gulf sheikhs. A stone’s throw away along the port, Penelope is a revamped club that has been through numerous name changes (and a long period of closure) but offers some cutting- edge German electro and minimal house nights.

One of Ibiza’s most unique clubs, Space, 4km south of Ibiza Town, mainly operates as a day-club, opening at 8am, with punters donning shades and getting down on the legendary terrace before moving inside to the vast, crepuscular interior, where the walls quiver to pounding progressive techno. For many islanders and seasonal workers, the Space closing party (a whopping €50-60) was undoubtedly the event in the Ibiza club calendar; however, in recent years, as legal restrictions have required a roof to be constructed over the terrace and more and more “outsiders” have appeared on the scene, the vibe has suffered a little. For many, the hardcore action has shifted a couple of kilometres south to DC10, a no-frills club positioned virtually on the airport runway in rustic no-man’s-land, with a dance floor surrounded by reeds and bullrushes. From a session (“Circo Loco”) that only opened on a Monday morning with unknown DJs, the scene here has exploded in popularity, and now draws the hippest crowd (and the most incredible mullets) in Ibiza. Timo Maas has been a resident here, and guests have included Danny Tenaglia and Fat Boy Slim.

If all this sounds too commercial, there are numerous other opportunities to live it up. The venue Underground, a converted finca near Sant Rafel, hosts some terrific parties and has a bombastic sound system (and no entrance fee), while Ibiza Town has an excess of clubbers’ bars. The island’s once-legendary psychedelic trance scene, which centred on clandestine free parties thrown in spectacular outdoor locations, is now all but dead – killed off by police raids and hefty fines.

The morning after

On a coastline studded with sandy beaches and rocky coves, there are dozens of wonderful places to kick back and shake off the post-party comedown. Cala Jondal, a broad pebbly cove on the south coast, has several fine cafe-restaurants, including Yemana, where they have sunloungers and serve a mean cava sangria. Salinas beach, in the extreme southeast of the island, has another good crop of chilled bars – the hippest is Sa Trincha, where DJ Jonathan Grey plays atmospheric soundscapes to a beutiful crowd. In the north of the island, Benirras beach is flanked by steep wooded hills and has three modestly priced seafood restaurants.


Insider info Finding out what’s going on in the island’s clubs is pretty straightforward: pick up the free and widely available DJ magazine, which has comprehensive club, bar and restaurant listings, or check out Pacha magazine for a more glossy, sybaritic take on things.

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