Pacha Ibiza Rebooted

Words by: Johnny Lee
Posted: 10/5/18 16:22

View from above. The remodelled DJ booth.

The Pacha Ibiza building is now on the same wavelength as its music policy.

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Pacha opened its hallowed doors on Friday night, after extensive refurbishment work was carried out on the Main Room during the winter. With the famous venue now primed and ready for business - and in some style thanks to a spellbinding all-night-long DJ performance by Hot Since 82 - it's time to find out what Pacha Ibiza looks like inside.

Unless you've partied at Pacha 10 or 20 times before, you may not even notice the changes. But that's not to say the scale and scope of the renovation isn't extensive. The thing is, the architects have worked so harmoniously with the original Ibicenco structure that only true Ibiza addicts will spot all the changes.

Friday night resident, Hot Since 82, headlined the re-opening.

Entering the venue at midnight, a giant glass window emblazoned with those famous red cherries greets us as we rush inside. It quickly becomes apparent that the Global Room has been completely demolished. The internal wall torn down, the old entranceway is now a vast open plan space. Coupled with blanket sound coverage, courtesy of an enhanced D&B Audiotechnik sound rig, which has eradicated those flat audio zones so common here last summer, the area should now be considered a fully functional extension of the main dancefloor. Will the Global Room be missed? After all, when Pacha first opened in Ibiza back in 1973, this was the original dancefloor, the place where everything happened. Leaving nostalgia aside for a moment, the obvious answer is: absolutely not. In recent seasons this intimate side room, with a capacity for around 250 ravers, had become largely obsolete. Most fledgling clubbers visiting the venue for the second or third time didn't even know the Global Room existed, let alone where it was. A sad fact that often left niche DJs performing to an empty dancefloor, while other areas of the venue were rammed to breaking point.


Entering the main room, the first thing we notice is the new DJ booth. Built in stone, plastered and painted white, the new semicircular stage could easily be mistaken for part of the original structure; it really does look like it's always been here. Looking up to our right, the old raised DJ booth has been completely demolished. The result? Loads more space on the main dancefloor, particularly in an area of the club where foot traffic tended to logjam horribly on busy nights. Contrary to the rumour mill, the tiered VIP section behind the DJ booth remains in situ. But here's the thing, when you're stomping around on the dancefloor, the VIP area is almost completely hidden by the height and position of the new DJ booth. The fact that the VIP section has survived the swing of the wrecking ball will undoubtedly piss off the purists, but at least the prawn sandwich brigade are no longer as conspicuous as they used to be.

 A Pacha panoramic

It's also worth mentioning that the garden is open to everybody tonight, not just the VIPs. Let's hope this policy continues throughout the summer so we can all enjoy exploration of this beautiful mazelike nightclub in its entirety.

So there you have it, Pacha looks crisp and clean, white and airy, and generally more opulent than ever, yet the key essence of the redesign is one of modesty and understatement. The alfresco terrace and all the secret stairwells and corridors are still in tact, likewise the charisma. In summary: the quintessential vibe that always made partying at Pacha Ibiza feel significant in a historic sense remains unharmed.

Beyond the obvious somatic merits of the upgrade, the renovation should also aid Pacha's continued evolution as an underground dance music Mecca. After all, Pacha is no longer the commercial music haven it once was. In 2013, the owners sanctioned a policy change from commercial house to a deeper, techier sound, designed to appeal to dance music's next generation who favoured underground beats over commercial basslines. Since then, Pacha's reputation as the island's foremost VIP den has duly waned. Today, rival venues Ushuaïa, Heart, Lío and Hï are generally regarded as more VIP-orientated than Pacha. Yet despite realigning their sonic strategy half a decade ago, Pacha has never quite shaken off its VIP stigma. Why? Principally the layout of the club, half of which would be sectioned off every night and given over to the super rich. In going deep tech Pacha's reputation with the kids improved, but the promotions teams working the venue still had to figure out how to effectively present underground dance music events in a venue largely dedicated to VIPs.

The answer, of course, was to improvise. When Solomun landed in 2013, he insisted on moving the old ceiling-high DJ booth down to the dancefloor to engage his audience eye to eye. Maceo Plex did the same a few years later. It was a solution of sorts. Lateral thinking, but a makeshift solution nonetheless. Cue this winter's refurbishment, which is about more than merely contemporising a venue with a few tired edges. Ultimately, the reboot realigns the structure of the venue with the music policy currently favoured by the bookers. With an extended main room, a brand new DJ booth and a proper soundsystem, Pacha Ibiza now looks and feels more dancefloor friendly, while the dampening influence of VIP section, which tended to loom over the dancefloor like a cloud on certain nights, has been negated without hampering the gold wristband types.

Whether you're a raver, a VIP, a sound geek or an architectural historian, this rebooted superclub genuinely ticks all the boxes. Drunkards, however, be warned. Due to a lack of bar staff working the optics you may have to wait to score a hard drink.

Music Music Music:


Lauren Lo Sung
Erick Morillo
Valentino Kanzyani