“ 190 Cowley Road,Oxford. Tel: +44 (0)1865 420 042. „
I thought this would be full of trendies praising the cheesy pop/dance to be found in Park End, but no, so here goes - well, for a start you can get those here too. The student night ‘Flare’ (Monday, £4 adv/£5 door, ID required) plays cheesy tunes. There’s another student night Wednesday too – ‘Fuzzy Ducks’ (£4, ID required). Friday is the dance night – different clubs specialising in different types, such as: ‘Source’ (drum & bass), ‘Futur’ (house), ‘Sonic’ (trance and hard house) and Boogie Basement (soul, funk and jazz). Prices are generally £4-7, but may be more when they have guest DJs (e.g. Fabio and Grooverider @ Source Fri 15/6/01). Then every Saturday ‘Transformation’ features live music until 11pm followed by DJs spinning “guitar-driven dancefloor pop till 2am” (according to the flyer) for just £5. My favourite club night, however, is the imaginatively titled 'Zodiac Rock' every Tuesday of (university) term-time. It’s downstairs, only £3 to get in (cheaper than student nights!), no dress code and playing, yes, rock music of various kinds (although punk is particularly poorly catered for). The DJs are quite friendly, and there’s always a clipboard up the front for requests, although they seldom get played (unless you request something like ‘Killing in the Name’ which will get played anyway). Club nights are just the start though - the best thing is the bands. The venue hosts many up and coming local bands (recent favourites Black Candy and Stoo*fa) but also seems able to attract fairly big bands - such as Terrorvision, Paradise Lost, JJ72 and Cast in the last year - with surprising regularity (although others prefer to play at Brookes University). Prices vary depending on who you see, but are typically £5-£12. You can buy tickets in advance, or on the door (which is often £1 more). Ticke ts are available from the box office (just inside the venue) 1-6pm Mon-Sat, by phone (01865 420042), online from www.the-zodiac.co.uk or by post but there may be a £1 booking fee (cancelling the saving!). Doors are usually scheduled to open between 7 and 8pm for live bands (but always late!) and most live shows end by 10 or 11pm; clubs generally run 10pm-2am. There are bars both upstairs and downstairs and, for most events, the club is over 18s only, although some nights they do allow 16 year olds (but strictly no alcohol). Programmes are available from the box office, and the website also has up to date details, as well as listing all the clubs and selling tickets. Not the most interesting details, but generally providing sufficient information – dates, times, prices, age policy, brief descriptions of bands playing, etc. All in all, this is the best club in the city, although it is a bit of a walk if (like me) you live centrally - being about a mile and a half down Cowley Road. The full address is: The Zodiac Box Office 190 Cowley Road Oxford OX4 1UE There’s a map in the programme, which can also be found elsewhere (e.g. college lodges and sometimes record shops). It’s on the main road, but there’s parking behind Tesco (almost opposite) and bus stops nearby. Be careful walking alone at night – I do it, but Cowley’s generally the ‘rough area’ of Oxford.
Ok, so the Zodiac isn't just fab because it happens to always (yes, I know - how do they do it?) have a rather large selection of incredibly cool people! It's also a pretty cool club! In fact the coolest in Oxford! I first went to the Zodiac in July to see Placebo play their secret gig for the fan club and I was really pleased with the nice little setup that greeted me! The Zodiac is well-reknowned for this sort of thing and in the past couple of years it has had the likes if RATM and Radiohead bless it with their prescence! The upstairs dance floor has a capacity of around 400 - which makes it ideal for small gigs, such as those exclusive to fan club members. There are only two let-downs on the gig side of things:- a)the box office only has one phone line, which can make buying tickets awkward (you'll become rather familiar with the dialling tone!) b)the club is a licensed venue, therefore over 18's only - which can be annoying for younger fans (I am cheeky and the gig was 6 days after my 18th!). Apart from those two I would have thought the venue ideal! Also in the upstairs area is a bar and lounge. Downstairs there is another bar and a small stage with dancefloor. There is also a cloak room, which will set up back £1. The club nights are awesome! The DJ's play a good blend of house, garage and trance and the place is usually packed! The drinks are of average price for a club with a pint of lager costing about £2.50 and spirits ranging from £1-£3 depending on the night and event. The Zodiac is situated on Cowley Road which is about a 20 minute walk from the station (a 5 minute taxi ride, costs about £5) and a 15 minute walk from the town centre (can be considerably longer - depending on level of drunkeness!). There is a bus stop and taxi rank outside the club as well as various fastfood places! All in all a good night out and well worth a visit after a hard day s punting!
Well, what can i say? The Zodiac has to be the best club in Oxford. Every night is great and the women are pretty good. Wednesday is good for students and you'll find that if you want to pull, its not difficult! Not only are there loads of nights where you can get hammered, but there is loads of good live music on. The likes of Supergrass and Radiohead (from Oxford) have both played there and its a great smaller venue for up and coming bands. If you are going to go anywhere for live muic in Oxford then its the place to go. Also, Bodrums kebab house cannot be missed after a heavy night. Taxis are also good. If you can, get Steve in car no 1 from 001 taxis. He's a geezer!