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Dancefloor days: What was your favourite Aberdeen nightclub of the noughties?

Packed nightclubs like Priory, pictured here at Hogmanay 2003, seem worlds away after a year in lockdown.
Packed nightclubs like Priory, pictured here at Hogmanay 2003, seem worlds away after a year in lockdown.

With lockdown restrictions easing, you might be looking forward to getting back on the dancefloor at your favourite Aberdeen nightclubs.

For more than a year, the city’s once-packed venues have been silent after the wholesale shutdown of the industry when lockdown hit.

If you’re struggling to recall what it’s like to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with complete strangers at a bar or peel your ballet pumps off a sticky dancefloor, we’ve taken a look back at some of Aberdeen’s premier nightspots of the 2000s to jog your memory.


A staple of Aberdeen’s live music scene from when it opened in 2001 was rock club Moshulu.

The popular venue hosted a number of bands, artists, themed nights and – to the delight of the city’s student population – dirt-cheap drink deals.

Tucked away on Windmill Brae, just around the corner from well-known Aberdeen club Liquid, it was a treacherous journey walking between the two for anyone wearing high heels, negotiating the slippery, cobbled streets.

Back in 2005, the club hosted notorious indie band Babyshambles – a night that made the headlines and went down in Moshulu legend.

Gig-goers got more than they bargained for when frontman Pete Doherty decided to do an encore afterwards – on the street.

With an acoustic guitar in hand, Doherty sat down on the pavement and had a singalong with fans.

Of course, the impromptu gig didn’t pass without incident, and a BMW parked on the street was damaged during the shenanigans.

Moshulu closed many years later and took on the guises of Warehouse and Bassment, before becoming The Garage/Campus.

The club continued to host big-name musicians, including former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr in 2013, but closed down for good in 2018.

The Priory

Many a night out in Aberdeen ended up at The Priory on Belmont Street where people could party into the wee hours before stumbling to catch the night bus home.

When it opened its doors in 2000, the vast former church became a popular place for students with its huge dancefloor, long bar and luminous purple lights.

The galleries above provided an excellent vantage point for watching dodgy dancing below, while many punters accidentally ended up on the basement floor en route to the toilets.

And you haven’t been on a night out in Aberdeen if you haven’t witnessed someone singe their eyebrows on a Purple Rain – The Priory’s signature flaming cocktail.

The club closed in 2016, but fans weren’t left out in the cold for long as it was resurrected under a new name, Redemption, after a six-figure renovation.


Another classic Aberdeen club of the noughties, Espionage – known as Espo to locals – provided three floors of fun at its Union Street venue.

Still open today in non-Covid times, when punters aren’t enjoying one of its two dancefloors, they are probably lost inside the vast venue trying to find their pals.

The club has also hosted lots of DJs and RnB nights over the years, and is conveniently located for the taxi rank and a 3am trip to McDonalds.


Despite being a bit of a trek from other clubs, Snafu was considered a cool haunt and attracted a vibrant crowd.

The small, but eclectic club opened in 2004 and appealed to an arty clientele with its quirky cocktail menu and jam-packed events programme.

From electro nights to Franz Ferdinand, the boutique basement club at the city’s Castlegate was even crowned Scottish Nightclub of the Year in 2007.

Its events attracted clubbers from across Scotland and there was always a solid art school crowd sprawled on the low, leather sofas in the lounge area.

As well as comedy nights, many charity fundraisers were also held at the venue, but it closed down, and after sitting empty became a BrewDog Bar in 2015.

The Pearl Lounge

Another old church-turned-nightclub, The Pearl Lounge on Dee Street was instantly recognisable with its giant pearl logo when it opened in 2006.

The venue had been a nightclub since the 1980s when it operated as The Ministry of Sin.

For many years it was a popular student stomping ground that did ‘doorhandle deals’ – where drinks offers would be hung on doors in student halls.

And in the 2010s, it was impossible to walk down Union Street on a Saturday night without bumping into the PR team from The Pearl Lounge leafleting revellers.

A busy venue, there was always a queue to get in and often the queue to get drinks at the bar was even longer.

The Pearl Lounge closed in 2014 and went out in style hosting a UV-themed evening with drinks from 70p.


A long-time clubbing venue, Aurum on the city’s Diamond Street was once 1970s venue Ruffles.

The glam venue was popular with clubbers and music fans alike, hosting world-famous singer Basshunter in 2012.

And for fashionistas the venue also held a number of charity fashion shows and pageants over the years.

Aurum was reinvented as Mint Luxury Club, before becoming One Diamond Street in 2015, a plush bar which included a table with a minimum spend of £1,500.

The venue was only open for two months before plans were announced to change it into a restaurant – 1DS.


And no lookback at Aberdeen’s nightclubs would be complete without a visit to Exodus – fondly known as Exo – the only city nightspot open seven days a week.

A favourite of students over the years, the alternative venue on Schoolhill was ideally located for the the former RGU union.

With a variety of themed nights – from Motown to pop, rock and indie classics – Exodus is still going strong.

At Exo it’s a more alternative crowd that rocks out on the tightly-packed dancefloor, which is always a guaranteed sweat-fest.

And if you were a student, a yellow card back in the day was a dream ticket to cheap entry, cheaper booze and pitchers of pints.