As a very mature student at Bath Spa University I seldom go out on the town with my younger counterparts. This week I made an exception as I visited the ClubXL nightclub with the debating society for a special event advertised as abysmal. The night was indeed enjoyable as I was in good company and yet at the same time I found many flaws in what was sold as a great night out. Ok, yes it is true I am forty years old and in some eyes could be considered as out of touch with what the youth of today should expect from a night out. That, I guess is for you to decide.
My first impression of the club was burnt into my mind as I came into contact with what some would call the door staff or bouncers. Huge, miserable wankers in high viz jackets that strongly resemble illustrations of Darwin’s imaginations of the missing link. Their whole demeanour and mannerisms reeked of nothing more than complete contempt for the many students that stood queuing at the entrance. I tried being nice. I even threw a smile in their direction in an attempt to melt the frosty exterior and in return I received nothing more than a dismissive scowl.
We were then told we needed a wrist band to get in. The cost of this was initially six pounds and included three vouchers for a free shot. This at first sounded fair. Alas though we are told upon handing over the cash that the drink vouchers were no longer valid. Yes it is true we could have walked away at this stage to avoid being shafted but we decided to venture on.
Upon entering the club I had high hopes that everything else would be fine as we clambered down the stairs into the dimly lit club. At first everything seemed fine even if the scenery seemed a little dowdy and grey. Unfortunately once my eyes had become accustomed to the low lights I saw how dirty the club actually was. The floor was covered in all sorts of debris and discarded plastic glasses. It was a strange and slightly disconcerting feeling as I noticed the soles of my shoes actually stuck to the floor as I made my way to the bar. This was certainly a sight to behold. Every inch of the bar was covered in assorted liquids. Every surface was sticky to the touch. If this establishment was serving food it would be closed down due to the health risks. I can only hope that the Jack Daniels I was drinking will kill all known germs. If not I could be in for a severe case of dysentery.
It was not only the lack of cleanliness that shocked me. The fact that all the beer on tap was off and the only drinks on offer were bottles or shots was badly behaved. Having run a bar myself in the past I am well aware that the profit margins are much higher on spirits than they are on draught. This was surely another machination to rinse more money from the clientele. The bar staff were indeed delightfully friendly which could be seen as a point in their favour. Yet whenever they were using the little metal 25ml measure they were coming up very short. I had a sudden urge to call trading standards as this is clearly against the law or maybe a letter to the management is in order to enquire why they do not use optics in all their bars.
This brings me to the music. Once again it could be argued due to my age that I am out of touch with the tastes of the younger generation. So, I asked and the general consensus from the students I spoke to is ‘no, its *** this whole place is *** but it’s cheap’.
My answer to this is yes, it is cheap but you deserve more. A lot of effort had gone into the marketing of the event. Yet little to no effort had gone into the event itself. My answer to this is vote with your feet. Don’t let them get sticky on the floors of XL. Instead avoid them, go elsewhere and I promise it will not be long before drastic changes will be made. I suppose at least they got the name right abysmal is definitely a good word to describe Club XL.
Dress Code: Anything that you'd don't mind getting covered in crap.
This is the only busy club that I have found in Bath on a Friday night. On Fridays they have a selection of 80s/90s music playing. The club is relatively small, but the dancefloor tends to be quite full. There is quite a large bar and service is relatively quick. Lot's of places to sit. Tuesday is indie / rock night.
Dress Code: Smart
Club XL (Caddy's) is probably the best bet for a saturday night. There is a big main dancefloor with plays a mixture commercial dance and 90s music - great if you want to have a dance or a sing. There are three different bars, so getting a drink was quite easy and relatively cheap. There are a good few sofas to sit on and a chill-out lounge.
Dress Code: Smart
This is a nightspot that is easy on the eye, but can get very busy. It has a good atmosphere but quite possibly the smallest dancefloor in the world! Since I like the dancefloor this was a drawback for me ;)
At least I got to see someone dressed up as a duck
Dress Code: Smart
Bath club with aggressive bouncers. This club advertises itself as student friendly but I would advise all students to beware of this place. The bouncers are probably the most unsympathetic in Bath and lose control very easily - almost at the smallest issue. I have seen them violently abuse girls inside and outside the club, when these are the sort of people they should be looking after and protecting in a club.
Dress Code: No dress code.
This place is probably the best night out in Bath. There is a big bar - so short queues at the bar - and two different rooms of music. One room is r&b and the other cheesey tunes from the 90s. Although there are nice sofas in another room to chill on, i'd recommend the dancefloor ;)
Dress Code: Smart
Po na na's
Slug and Lettuce
Po Na Na's: when its busy its horrible, but if you know people in the city who are under 21, the likely hood is they will be here on a weekend!
Caddies: Nicer inside, but frequented by trevs/kevs etc. (people who where adidas to clubs!!) Shame because they play really cheesey fun music on thursdays!!
Slug and Lettuce: quite up market cool bar. Quite noisey.
Boater: Big Garden, great in the summer, sometimes a lot of younger people in there. One of the only pubs with a garden in the city.
Dress Code: Most places are casual unless they're having a theme night or a special event.
students and the impoverished youth of Bath tend to pack the floor and generally the place fills up earlier than usual with a lively crowd partying from as early as 10pm.