We continue our weekly Ibiza check-in by exploring some of the smaller spaces and back rooms on the island.
We start with my favourite small room on the island, Pacha's Funky Room, nestled away in the upper reaches of the club and found usually by chance. It's a 100 capacity floor that somehow manages to squeeze in two bars, adequate seating and a stomping sound system in the creation of an oasis away from the typically commercial main room. Its music policy is simple: quality house music, and the 'Funky' in the title is to be taken with a pinch of salt because things can go deep in here—as deep as anywhere I've heard in Ibiza. Residents like Graham Sahara, Nicc Johnson and most notably Willie Graff have played this room for years and have shaped arguably the definitive back room experience, in that it is 100% distinct from what is going on in the rest of the club, yet serves in isolation as a place to have a party. If there is nothing else taking your fancy one night and you're open-minded about hearing soulful, groovin' house music, Pacha's Funky Room should be a definite option to consider.
Of a similar size, and with its own burgeoning musical reputation—this time for solid underground house and techno—Space's Red Box is located up the stairs from the main Discoteca and can squeeze in 100-150 people within its dimly lit confines. Originally a chill-out area that overlooked the Discoteca, it was made into a dedicated space about eight or nine years ago and has ever since become a breeding ground for young and up-coming DJs and producers to showcase their talents in Ibiza, principally it has to be said in conjunction with We Love on Sundays. Ryan O Gorman's Burlington Project residency there is possibly, as a stand-alone event, the most underground thing happening in Ibiza, with guests this year including the likes of The Revenge, DJ Qu and Deniz Kurtel. It's no surprise that guests of previous years here have gone on to become main club performers: Martin Buttrich, jozif, Jem Haynes and Foamo being just a few examples.
Privilege has a pair of back rooms, Coco Loco and La Vaca, that rarely get used, but are steeped in Ibiza clubbing history. La Vaca is famous more for its association with the glory days of parties like La Troya and Manumission, rather than any part the room itself necessarily had to play in proceedings. The Coco Loco, however, despite being capable of holding close to 1000 people at a push, qualifies here due to its relative size to Privilege's huge main floor. It too has been the location of almost mythical moments in the Balearic story—Danny Tenaglia pole dancing and the end-of-the-night Manumission days are just two that spring to mind—but more than anything it is a quintessential back room because it always, always goes against the main room, almost in a deliberate act of rebellious defiance. The shame is that Privilege is so hard to fill that it's not always used and earlier club closing times means experiencing the iconic sun streaming through the windows that overlook the Southern part of the island is a rare event.
Of the other main clubs, Amnesia simply doesn't have a small or back room, those of Eden and Es Paradis aren't much to write home about, and DC10's inside is much too big and a prominent part of the club to be considered.
There are definitely some alternative places, particularly Grial (a bar near Pacha) that is the most popular destination for small scale events but generally with decent underground music and guests. Several other bars/restaurants in the Ibiza Town/Marina vicinity infrequently host events, such as Keeper, Aramon and Sushipoint, while most of the cliché 'must-do' restaurants have inside nightly parties, KM5 and Blue Marlin the most obvious. One of the most obvious smaller dance floors in Ibiza, Underground, we'll leave for the moment as we'll be covering it more intimately in a couple of weeks.
These places don't exist without the 'Big Rooms,' and nobody is going to pay 30-50€ just to visit the Funky Room, though I'd argue it's often better value than the main event. Instead, and particularly for seasoned Ibiza campaigners or for those who just don't like bigger rooms, Ibiza's small rooms are more evolved than they've ever been and shouldn't be ignored as part of plan-making for your clubbing agenda.