Defending ‘Cambridge nightlife’ from criticism that it’s an oxymoron, here’s The Tab’s guide to Clubbing in Cam.
Before you finalised your UCAS form, the thought must have crossed your mind that Cambridge nightlife might just be an oxymoron. And so like me, you may have Googled it and discovered that ‘chaos_reign91’ thinks that Cambridge’s nightlife is “flatter than piss on a plate.”
Cambridge nightlife has long been derided, both within and without the bubble. It’s cheesy, repetitive and, like most of our institutions, smug. But it is ours, and if you get the balance right it’s actually pretty swell. Here’s The Tab’s guide to clubbing in Cam.
Cindies Lion Yard
Known officially as ‘Ballare’ this club is famed for cheap drinks, cheesy tunes and flooding toilets. Despite being easily the worst club in Cambridge, Cindies remains the most popular. If you don’t mind shit tunes, bad smells and chino’d wankers, it’s actually pretty fun – if only because it’s such a shithole you can do what you want.
When: Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Drink of choice: VK – £1.50.
Who goes: Everyone, although drinking societies and fancy dress lovers are over-represented.
Expect to hear: Mr. Brightside (over and over again).
Kambar Wheeler Street
Cindies’ arch-nemesis, Kambar attracts a totally different crowd. The building is a 17th century grade 1 listed ex-tea shop, and this gives the club a very particular flavour. Kambar turns its back on cheese, although it is committed to diversity (Tuesday night is goth night). Certain Cantabrigians would have you believe that Kambar is pretentious and overly ‘alternative’ but head down there on the right evening and you’ll discover a relaxed, friendly crowd with a shared desire for tasteful tunes. Some people love it, most hate it, but then that’s what makes Kambar special.
When: Wednesday/Friday for decent dance music. It’s worth checking ahead if only to avoid the goths.
Drink of choice: They sometimes have a three ciders for £5 deal.
Who goes: People wearing clothes they bought on Mill Road.
Expect to hear: decent and occasionally experimental music for discerning tastes.
The Place 22 Sidney Street
According to its website, “The Place Nightclud [sic] literally is THE PLACE to be.” Popularly known as ‘Life,’ The Place underwent a £500,000 makeover last year which left it looking like an iPod had diahorrea inside a sardine tin. It remains unclear whether The Place's owners chose the name because of a love of Nathan Barley or because they wanted the DJ to be actually describing the present when he exclaimed “Bass in The Place, Cambridge!”
Drink of choice: VK – £1.50.
Who goes: Same as Cindy’s but with the added excitement of ‘VIP booths’ featuring lonely gentlemen in suits staring proudly at the 60 VKs they just bought.
Expect to hear: Bad R‘n’B.
Fez 15 Market Passage
Probably the only club committed to good music, Fez has hosted a number of big-name DJs including Zane Lowe, Erol Alkan, Andy C, Giles Peterson, Simian Mobile Disco, High Contrast, Skream and Benga. If you’re looking for serious dance music, Fez has much to offer. Their website boasts that Fez is the only club in Cambridge with VIP table service, and the seated areas are a real treat, but you’d be a wanker to book ahead.
When: Thursday nights are the top DJ nights.
Drink of choice: Bottled lager (not Corona) £2.
Who goes: Locals and students with more refined music taste.
Expect to hear: a variety of good music
SoulTree 1-6 Corn Exchange St
Endlessly aspiring to break the Cindies-Life monopoly, SoulTree has experimented with every night of the week. The music tends to be pretty good, and it’s an alright looking club but there’s just something very depressing about it when it’s empty. For urban music, it’s probably your best bet, especially on Fridays when local hip-hop fans descend on SoulTree and wannabe gangsters arrive in Mercedes A-Classes on hourly rental. There was even a stabbing there last year! Worth going for the occasional big name DJ set or jazz night.
When: Fridays and once a term for a big name DJ.
Drink of choice: Tequila shot £1 on selected nights.
Who goes: Very few students except for once a term when everyone abandons Cindies to see a DJ who they’ve never even heard of before.
Expect to hear: A little bit of everything (and maybe gunshots).
The Junction Clifton Way
Not technically a club, but we’ll make an exception. The Junction is a one-stop-shop for live performances by big acts. It’s also one of the few places in Cambridge where you can easily buy drugs. Look out for Deadmau5 on October 20th.
When: ‘Warning’ on Fridays is a treat, as are the sporadic live performances by a range of acts.
Who goes: Music fans.
Drink of choice: Water.
Expect to hear: Live bands and Djs.