Black Out or Get Out: Club Space Miami

Miami’s nightlife landscape often plays out like something from Game of Thrones. Artists are made and broken, new nights take over while others are forgotten, promoter dynasties rise and fall. Amidst this tumultuous cycle, one venue has managed to acquire and maintain legendary status throughout the years. In Miami’s Game of Clubs, Space reigns supreme.

Originally located in a warehouse off of Biscayne Boulevard, Space made a name for itself with its extravagant parties, its all-about-the-music mentality, and its notorious 24-hour liquor license. Unable to physically support the rapidly expanding crowd, owner, resident DJ, and nightlife mogul Louis Puig moved the party into a much bigger warehouse in Miami’s slummy downtown area. It still maintains much of that warehouse appearance, but when filled with a thousand pulsing bodies and washed with the multi-colored neon glow of strobe lights glinting off disco balls, Space is anything but derelict. Once you fall down the rabbit hole, it’s obvious why the place has repeatedly been voted Best Dance Club in the US.

From the outside, it’s not much to look at. If it weren’t for the huge “WELCOME TO SPACE” banner hanging on the building for the whole freeway to see, or the long line of patrons that snakes its way around the entrance every Saturday night, you might never guess that you were passing sacred ground. Walking into the club, it’s easy to feel like you’re getting on a theme park ride. A bouncer stands in front of a wooden structure that looks like a turnstile and takes your ticket before waving you through. In the lobby, which is set up kind of like a subway station, you can pose for a picture with Space’s life-size astronaut dummy, who sits slumped over and seemingly asleep on a bench. For those brave and strong enough to keep the party going through the dawn and into the daylight, it’s usually a foreshadowing of what you can expect to see the next morning.

Space is comprised of three dance floors. To get to the legendary Terrace room, patrons must go through three levels. The first is the Basement, a grunge-glam room complete with plush comfy couches, crystal chandeliers, and graffiti-style images fading from the walls. The whole space is kept bathed in a pulsing red light, which gives you the feeling of being in a smoke-room/brothel. The basement usually showcases a wide range of hip-hop and trap artists, such as Vinni Soul, GTA, CRNKN, and Hucci.

If the Basement is not your style, you can ascend to the Loft, located upstairs. Space’s haven for techno lovers, the room looks like a giant industrial warehouse, with huge rotating drum fans that blast dancers with cool air all night long. Past artists have included Gary Beck, Cocodrills, Paco Osuna, Jesse Rose, Dan Ghenacia, and Gregor Tresher.

At midnight, doors open to the Terrace room, located adjacent to the Loft. Huge blow-up figures spin lazily above the crowd, hanging from a roof painted with clouds to look like the sky. Although you wouldn’t realize it at night, aside from the one square of roof the rest of the Terrace is open air, and it’s become a rite of passage in Miami to watch the sunrise from the Terrace room. The Terrace has played host to legends such as Deep Dish, Sasha, Marco Carola, Paul Van Dyk, Oscar G, and Danny Tenaglia, whose record 20-hour set at the club’s original location during Winter Music Conference 14 years ago still remains one of the most fabled moments in Miami’s dance music history.

Usually free of charge before 12:30 a.m. and located in an area that isn’t the safest, the club sometimes gets a bad rap. However, in all my years of partying in Miami, I have rarely come across a crowd so about the music. Sure, there are plenty of weird-looking people, but they’re usually busy doing their own thing on the dancefloor, as is everyone else. With its no-frills, judgment-free, anything-goes attitude and its focus on consistently delivering first-class artists known for more than just a bass-drop, it’s obvious why Space has managed to stand the test of time, and why it promises to continue serving as THE afterhours mecca in the Magic City.

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