The Soundtrack Of Our Lives at Sala Apolo. Photograph: Jordi Vidal/Redferns
Former theatre Sala Apolo retains its thespian roots somewhat indirectly, with perfomers and audience in familiar positions: the DJ takes centre stage, the enthusiasts churn in the stalls, and a more sedate crowd enjoy an elevated view in the galleries. The accompanying La  space is more intimate, with a smaller stage and dancefloor. Club nights run the gamut, from pop-rock at Nasty Mondays, indie and electro at Crappy Tuesdays, and root music on Wednesdays. Boombox in La  on Thursdays is the most bass-heavy night of the week. Weekends reign supreme, with internationally renowned Nitsa parties serving exemplary electronica from the likes of Michael Mayer and Ellen Allien.
• Carrer Nou de la Rambla 113, sala-apolo.com
Takaya Sato at Macarena Club. Photograph: Miguel Antonio Pinto on Flickr / All rights reserved
La Macarena is Barcelona's underground gem – a diminutive, subterranean, rough-around-the-edges sweatbox of a club. When things get overexcited here, you might end up standing on the DJ's toes – the main booth is in the middle of a very small dancefloor. Don't be put off though, as the atmosphere is outstanding, and the music – underground house and techno with pumping bass - habitually sends the crowd into a writhing frenzy. With residencies from the best local talent (DJ Herr, for example) and frequent guests from the international elite (Gui Boratto, Alex Celler and Audiofly were recent visitors), this is an excellent destination for quality, non-commercial dance music. Fact and Clubtura on Wednesdays and Thursdays are particularly good.
• Carrer Nou de Sant Francesc 5, macarenaclub.com
A tiny club with a big reputation, Moog is respected locally and internationally. Its stature on the scene surpasses that of many of its larger rivals. It's an elegantly designed club in swathes of wood and iron – the elongated downstairs space sports a graceful wooden bar and culminates in a sunken dancefloor lined with cabinets full of spirit bottles. Expect a selection of electronic delights, mainly in the house and techno direction. In the smaller mirrored room upstairs an sometimes incongruent selection of pop is provided for the less tech-obsessed crowd. Check listings: time it right and you may have the privilege of attending one of the Mutek Barcelona parties.
• Carrer Arc del Teatre 3, masimas.com/moog
This cavernous warehouse is one of Barcelona's foremost clubs, and rightly so: it's huge, popular and has great programming. With a distinctly industrial feel (think steel, steel and more steel), it's spread over five rooms – standard procedure involves getting lost at least once on each visit. Razz Club downstairs offers indie and rock for the hipsters, but for clubheads, the Loft room is the crowning glory. This immense space with a banging soundsystem and superb atmosphere regularly hosts house and techno luminaries such as Derrick May, Cobblestone Jazz and Ewan Pearson. For particularly big names, book tickets online, and note: it's sometimes best not to conform to Spanish timetables – the queue can go round the block.
• Carrer Almogàvers 122, salarazzmatazz.com
Local clubbing aficionados continually bemoan the regulations that restrict Barcelona's after-hours scene. Most post-club parties now take the form of small clandestine events, difficult to discover when you're a little worse for wear at 6am. Row 14 provides a welcome alternative. Located outside the city, Row 14 unleashes its soundsystem to its full potential, starting at 6.30am. With a huge indoor space and a retractable roof, two terraces and a separate bar, this is Barcelona's answer to an Ibiza superclub. El Row on Sunday mornings is the party to attend, with a consistent array of techno deities: recent highlights included Richie Hawtin and Marco Carola. A free bus service runs to and from Plaça Catalunya.
• Autovia de Castelldefels C31, Viladecans, row14.es
Now in its 16th year of throwing summer parties, La Terrrazza is a certifiable institution on the Barca clubbing circuit. Located in Poble Espanyol on Montjuïc, this beautifully designed open-air club is one of the more "glamorous" options for the city's clubbers. Somewhat predictably, however, the price of drinks reflect this. It bills a variety of international and local DJs, and also has some particularly good local residents, but expect a more commercial side of house music. Open every weekend from May until the end of September, this venue always provides some gems for the summer clubbing itinerary. Remember to write down the address before you get in a taxi, this club is notoriously difficult to locate.
• Poble Espanyol, Avinguda Marquès de Comillas 13, laterrrazza.com
A former theatre in the centre of town, City Hall has preserved its original structure, with the DJs on the stage overlooking a dancefloor in what was the stalls. Excellent lighting illuminates the revellers while a chandelier and disco balls swing overhead. Doors lead out onto a stylish terrace complete with bar, seats and tables – perfect for smokers and those who want to kick back and enjoy the balmy evenings. Musically it isn't quite what it once was, but you can still find good local DJs playing a selection of electronic music. Check out Club4 on Thursdays, started in 2006 by Paco Osuna, which still books big international DJs.
• Rambla Catalunya 4, grupo-ottozutz.com/index.php/features.html
Mac Arena Mar Beach Club
This is easily Barcelona's top summer club - not least because it's free. The centre is a large chiringuito with beds, awnings and gastro-chic menu to feed pit-stopping dancers. While Friday and Saturday nights are good fun, the Sunday parties are the pièce de résistance, with label showcases from the likes of Mobilee and Kompakt, and an impeccable selection of the finest underground house and techno DJs. The atmosphere and aesthetic are distinctively Balearic, except for the beautifully illuminated power plant next door, that is.
• Playa Port Forum, Sant Adria de Besos, macarenamar.com
When you're after something other than the thud of an electronic bassline, try this venue in the heart of the Gòtic neighbourhood. Don't be fooled by the name - Café Marula is very much a club, and a stylish one at that. Visually, it's a minimalist, sleek combination of glass, wood and steel, but the programming is a little more laid back, with a stage for live performances, and a DJ list leaning towards funk, soul, jazz, disco, hip-hop and afrobeat .
• Carrer Escudellers 49, marulacafe.com
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