Zeus, Basingstoke

With its luxurious interior and sophisticated LED lighting, a new super-club has come to Basingstoke in Hampshire. Stuart Harris, licensee of a town centre pub, The New Inn, is investing hundreds of thousands of pounds into developing the new three-storey venue that combines a nightclub and private members’ bar.

Taking over the site of Italian restaurant and bar Caffe Piccolo in the town centre, Stuart has transformed the premises with Steve Howie Design which has worked on top clubs such as Turnmills and Stringfellows. With the venue named after a Greek god, the interior design is inspired by Mediterranean colours, turquoise, beige and browns, with lots of sinuous curves and circles. Behind the main bar is a modern sculpture of Zeus himself, made by Sean Kenrick, a sculptor and special-effects make-up artists in the film industry.

More than 2,000 LED lights have been used throughout the space, installed in everything from ceilings and pillars to tables, with different colours and effects to alter the mood according to the day and time. Not only is there a new state-of-the-art Funktion One sound system, but a light jockey ensures the effects lighting is just as spectacular as the music.

Kerrie Hughes has been recruited as manager, bringing with her extensive experience, from running Italian restaurant Ciao Ninety in Ascot, Berkshire, to bars and clubs in Basingstoke such as Rhu Bar, Karma and Sleepers. They have created an extensive wine list including champagnes such as Lanson, plus a good selection of spirits. To take pressure off the main bar, there is a separate bar for serving shots and bombs, which has a Jägermeister Tap Machine for ice-cold shots. Draught beers include Grolsch, Coors and Corona while many more are available by the bottle such as Singha and Corona.

There is a short list of classic cocktails, with the likes of a Cosmopolitan, Singapore Sling and White Russian, but a more extensive menu will be developed when the first floor opens as private members’ bar Rapture in February, aimed at over-25s. With the addition of another space for private hire on the second floor, Zeus will have four bars throughout the building. The main club includes a VIP area where vodka and champagne can be ordered by the bottle, with full table service.

Since opening, Zeus has launched several new DJ club nights throughout the week, such as R&B, hip-hop and old skool garage on Wednesday nights. Doors are open till 2am during the week and 4am at weekends, with free entry midweek and £5 after 10.30pm at weekends. The club will also host PAs, which last month saw singer Lifford Shillingford perform tracks such as Please Don’t Turn Me On, his chart hit with garage act Artful Dodger. With its VIP area and private members’ club, the venue is one to watch in 2013, Kerrie says. “Zeus is definitely something new for Basingstoke.”

Zeus, 25-27 Winchester Street, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 7EE Tel: 01256 415149 www.zeusthevenue.com

Originally published in the January 2013 edition of Bar magazine.

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