Belgium has been beating to electronic music since the early nineties. It once had its own particular sound known as "The Sound of Belgium". The musical landscape has much changed since, but is still deeply rooted into techno music. Traveler by day, raver by night, explore indoor spaces in Brussels during winter time for long techno nights.
Located in the heart of Brussels, right next to Grand Place, Zodiak is a nightclub which opened its doors in October 2016. The night club wanted to position itself as a new alternative to techno temple Fuse or small underground venues like Epicerie Moderne. They have succeeded in finding their tribe. What makes them different? a friendly, open-minded, gender-balanced, freakish crowd and crew!
Zodiak is a medium-sized venue with 3 dance floors. The entrance leads to the main room, upstairs is a balcony from which you can gaze at people dancing through the night or take a rest in the chill-out area. Hidden away next to the staircases, is the second dance floor or “secret” room, an intimate gem for really big club nights — think new years eve and +12h club-marathons. I have seen it transformed into dance microcosms for trance, techno and even dub! The third dance floor is brighter, cosy, colourful, usually spinning disco and house tunes while the main room fits more harder styles.
Since its opening, Zodiak has grown together with local DJs and influential collectives of the Brussels electronic music scene — such as Hedonism, Global Hybrids, Paradigm and Deep Heat. It has also hosted international names like; Dusty Kid, Oxia and Anomalie Art Club Berlin. The club owner’s mission is to recreate the soul, vibe and family of the Brussels night scene she used to know and cherish. Brussels needs more venues. Zodiak is now one of them.
Fuse is set in history. It’s Belgium’s techno mecca and it’s been around for nearly 20 years. As the oldest boy in town, Fuse is home to international A-list names and has grown together with the city and the story of electronic music. While Fuse will always attract locals and tourists alike, are the nightclub's glorious years long gone? or has the public simply changed while club culture values remain unchanged? I agree that its atmosphere, crowds and nights are a bit hazardous and its gender balance not at all balanced, but it has an amazing sound-system which no other club in Brussels can match to this date.
My advice is to treat Fuse just like you would treat your favourite concert venue. Choose your nights, choose your artists. If you’re out on your own, the nightlclub’s second floor - the motion-room - is the most comfortable one. Former Movie theater now-turned club, the motion-room has half its room cut in escalier, for dancing, sitting and VJing. The main room is pretty big and fits a thousand when the Ostgut Ton guys are in town. If you're lucky, you may be able to discover the tiny chill-out dance floor hidden away on the third floor, above the vestiaire (only open on very special and sweet occasions).
© Photos by Fuse.
Looking to chill, take the fresh air or have a chat? Well... you’re just gonna have to do it insides and treat your lungs the next day. Smokers watch out, as security will kick you out if they catch you smoke outside the smoking room too many times. Best nights out at fuse are Saturday nights in the Main room for big techno names and labels. Any other night is always good in the Motion room for greater music discoveries, smaller labels and more specific music genres like hypnotic techno, Romanian micro house or disco house’y vibes a la Panorama Bar. - It's just one of those places you have to go to if you're a techno lover. Fuse is a perfect techno hide away for cold and dark winter nights.
Another beautiful space hidden in the heart of Brussels. Horta Gallery is is an underground art-deco style gallery signed by architect Horta. Hence the perfect space for underground techno nights! So where and how to find this beautiful space? It's located right under Brussels Central Station (how practical!). It's open to public exhibitions all year-long, for the occasional club nights check out social media for event alerts. Insider Info: Deep in House is back in Horta Gallery for New Years Eve celebrations 2017-2018.
© Photo courtesy by Horta Gallery.
This one is an odd-ball. Quay 01 is a new nightclub on the canal of Yser, near Brussels North. The venue used to be a posh club named K-Nal which (luckily) closed several years ago. The location is just perfect, with its industrial decor along the water it has a Berlin vibe to it. Quay 01 first opened this Summer 2017 as the pop-up venue "Archipel" during Bruxelles-les-bains (our very special beach town in the city). The night club announced its official opening for this winter. Given the intense gentrification-in-the-making of the neighbourhood, it's listed as a rental venue, not a nightclub.
Recent collectives who have shared the space include Libertine Supersport, Under my garage, Ketaloco and Electronical Reeds. All electronic music, deep house and tech house (okay, no hypnotic techno yet, but I hope it will get there!). At least it's open for the winter season and New Years Eve! .
© Photos by Archipel-Bruxelles-les-bains/Brussels-Bad.
The lodge is an unlisted venue. This means that they only open their doors to the public a few times a year for specific events. Concrete floors, dark, industrial, it is perfect for techno nights. The Lodge is also home to Brussels best Techno event: Technoon. Underground club culture at its best, Technoon is a seasonal religion for techno lovers. It happens a few times a year on Sunday afternoons, right after church from 2pm to 10pm. Quiet secretive, you can subscribe to their newsletter to be alerted of the next event. Deep, trippy, industrial.
© Photo by Deep in House.
Bazaar is a quiet child and has been around for quiet some time. A Brussels nightclub often forgotten, under estimated, or even put in the corner - although it curates a fine line-up and attracts a mixed and friendly crowd. Club nights are more on the house spectrum with a more look-at-me crowd, but not only! It's a descent sized venue which allows for a more intimate feel (compared to Fuse or even Zodiak). It has two rooms, one in the basement with typical arched ceilings and stone walls, and a main room upstairs (mostly rented for corporate events). Music style varies every night and weekend, so make sure to check out the programme before going - otherwise you may be in for some Carrabbean flavours instead of Acid House and occasional Techno.
© Photo by Raf Gelenne (LEFTORIUM at Bazaar with ATA)
Recyclart is an Art Center, Concert venue, Community space, Gallery and Night Club. It is all of that combined and so much more! Once the old train station of Bruxelles-Chapelle, it is now an upcycled space which serves many purposes and tribes. Check out their programma via facebook as it's really worth a visit while you're in town. Club nights happen randomly during the year, organised by Recylart itself or Belgian collectives from across the country. I have spent some really nice techno nights there, although the sound system quality is hazardous and mysterious. Did I mention there is a skate park right above it? with an open view on the city and the railway? During the summer time it's even more fantastic as the outdoor space becomes home to community kitchen, markets and other extravaganza. At Recyclart, there is a vibe for every tribe!
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