Kingdom Nightclub: Austin’s Underground Shrine

By Claire Hansen
Blog Content Contributor

Hidden in an alleyway off Fifth Street is a one-of-a-kind nightclub called Kingdom. If it weren’t for the small sign out front, you seriously wouldn’t have any idea it was there. However, the thumping bass that comes from inside draws crowds from all over the country. If electronic music is your jive and you haven’t checked this place out, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know.

Atmosphere

Top-level DJs and producers of the electronic genres fly in from all over the world to play at Kingdom, so you can count on the atmosphere of this place to be bumpin’ with good vibes and happy faces every weekend. Upon entering from the side of the building you’ll be greeted by a dark room with low ceilings, colorful flashing lights and the smell of fog machines. The size of Kingdom is a lot smaller than most venues but if you can get over the claustrophobia then it makes for a very intimate setting.

kingdom2
A glimpse from the inside of Kingdom. If you look closely, you can see a faint outline of the DJ looking down on the crowd. Photo by Claire Hansen.

In fact, the atmosphere is so intimate that the DJ, who is only about five to 20 feet away from you during his or her set, will sometimes even leave their spot above the crowd for a few minutes to come down and hang with the fans. It’s an incredibly personal experience if you are someone who likes to connect with the artist who’s playing.

Crowds

The more popular shows can draw in pretty good-sized crowds, but that just makes for a bigger party! At Kingdom, it’s easy to tell that everyone in attendance is happy to be there and wants to have a good time. One thing to love about this venue is that you can always count on seeing some interesting characters. People will often come up to you to talk or dance, especially if you’re by yourself.

Drinks

The nice thing about Kingdom being such a small venue is that the bar is only a few steps away! This venue is 18+ but if you’re 21 or older, there is a full bar available with a team of hardworking bartenders. The drinks are moderately priced and they have small countertops lining the perimeters of the dance floor so you can ditch your cup when it’s empty. They are a little stingy about water there — purchasing a water bottle is the only option and they can get up to five dollars at the most hoppin’ events, but if you play your cards right, the bartenders might give you one for free! They also offer yerba mate in a variety of flavors for those who are under 21 and/or need that extra jolt to bust out their best dance moves.

Cleanliness

Because this venue is so small, things can get messy quick. Lots of folks get too into their dancing and spill their drinks from time to time, which can make the floor a little slippery, but that’s common at a lot of rowdy places. The bathrooms only have three stalls each so the lines can get a little long during more crowded shows, but it’s always a one-of-a-kind experience overhearing stall conversations and getting a closer look at the some of the crazy outfits. There’s a disco ball inside the bathrooms too, so if all else fails, you can still dance.

Production

Production is minimal at this place, but trust me, a few lights and lasers are all it takes. Watching the strobes and beams cascade across the small sea of heads bouncing and grooving to the beat makes for an incredibly positive atmosphere that is incomparable to a lot of venues. Lasers will come out only at the most appropriate of times to accentuate those perfect drops and the low ceilings really make you feel like you’re in a basement somewhere. It’s the ideal dosage of crazy, yet contained.

Kingdom Nightclub is Austin’s primary spot for the best electronic music around. It has hosted practically every worthy name in the history of house music come and developed a legendary reputation over time. Artists who play here adore the intimate atmosphere and often request to come back to this specific venue when they tour again. Fantastic artists are rolling through each and every weekend, so check out their calendar and pay a visit if you like to get down!

Featured image by Claire Hansen.

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