With the increasing popularity and growth of the electronic or dance music scene in London, DJ Justin Berkmann wanted to open a club which would play American house music from labels based in Chicago and Detroit. He decided that his club should first and foremost be about the music and the sound, with lighting and layout next, a plan that went against the way every other major nightclub at the time operated. He found partners in James Palumbo and Humphrey Waterhouse and in an old disused bus garage in London’s Elephant & Castle, Ministry of Sound first opened its doors in 1991.
For the first three years the club didn’t even sell alcohol, and had notoriously strict doormen who made it difficult for just anyone to get in. Despite this, or perhaps even because of it, and with big name DJ’s like Roger Sanchez and Larry Levan, Ministry of Sound grew in popularity. Its dancefloor which is sprung to allow people to dance more easily for long periods, plus its state of the art sound system helped fill the club every week. Of course it’s now licensed and continues to be one of the major dance music venues in London. Friday night has been The Gallery night since 2008 and is a hard house night. The infamous Saturday Sessions has seen top DJ’s such as Sasha, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Paul Oakenfold and Pete Tong take to the decks in the Box, the club’s main room. The 103 is the first room you enter, all other rooms lead off and there are now several bars.
The club hosts many festivals and events in other cities and countries, and there’s even MoS South America and MoS Australia. It has its own record label and the compilations are always big sellers. The original venue at Gant Street has been refurbished and boasts several rooms, including V.I.P. rooms and bars. The door policy is still rigid, and top name DJ’s continue to play every Friday and Saturday night.