9:59am Friday 16th November 2012
By Richard Garfield
EVERYTHING you would expect to find in a top London nightclub will be available at a new venue right here in Basingstoke.
That is the bold statement from Stuart Harris, the man behind Basingstoke’s newest addition to the town centre night scene.
Stuart’s business is called Zeus and he has clearly put his money where his mouth is, so far investing around £320,000 in the venue, which was previously Caffe Piccolo.
“You don’t get a super club without spending super pounds,” said Stuart, who expects to have spent more than £500,000 by the time Zeus is fully opened.
Initially, the ground floor bar area in the large Winchester Street premises is being opened, with a private members’ bar up on the first floor called Rapture set to open in February along with floor two which will be used for private functions and parties.
Excited about the new venture, Stuart, who for seven years was the landlord of The New Inn, said: “Right now, I don’t believe that Basingstoke has got a premier club and we are going to give Basingstoke what it wants. We are giving people an alternative venue – I guarantee that.
“A lot of Basingstoke people go to places like Windsor, Reading and Southampton for a night out. But we will be advertising to get people to come to Basingstoke, where people can enjoy a good night out.”
Looking back at how the venue has come together, Stuart said: “I remember a crowbar going in a panel of Caffe Piccolo’s old bar and thought, ‘God – there’s no going back now’.
“We’ve been working on getting the ground floor ready for Friday’s opening for the last six weeks.”
Tomorrow’s first night revellers will enjoy music from the club’s Funktion One sound system. To ensure the club runs smoothly, Stuart personally headhunted Kerrie Hughes who will be the manager at Zeus.
He said: “Kerrie has vast venue experience – she’s run four clubs in Basing-stoke and large restaurants. Without her it just ticks, it doesn’t tock.”
Saturday nights will be strictly for those over 21 and older.
Once a month, the club will host ThursGays, while Wednesday’s will be student nights.
Rapture will be an important part of the club.
Stuart said: “It’s going to be an exclusive club for professional people. We want to stop professional people going up to London for a night out and keep them in Basingstoke.
“Rapture will have a hostess service offering food to guests who can enjoy our eight and 16-seater booths and our circular bar.
“It’s just for older clients and will have everything you will find in a top London Club – we’ll be offering malt whiskies, Champagne and cocktails – it’s going to be high-end quality.”
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