Clubbing for Christ

Club Zoe favors a wholesome approach for the nightlife scene.


The scene at Club Zoe.

Club Zoe photos courtesy Club Zoe

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Nightlife is an intrinsic part of young adulthood. The club scene is a staple in urban culture.

And for many of the 20- and 30-somethings who’ve been converted to Christianity, that element becomes unacceptable. For those on a pursuit of purity, the alcohol, drugs, vulgar music, and illicit dancing associated with the club scene forced them out the game—or at least prompts them to feel a level of guilt.

But what if they didn’t have to quit the club scene cold turkey? What if they could go to a club with acceptable elements approved by their faith? Those questions sparked the genesis of Club Zoe, Oakland’s Christian nightclub.

It was conceived with a particular group in mind: adults who grew up on hip-hop and still love the genre of music and the lifestyle but have lost their tolerance for its ills.

“We wanted to provide an atmosphere where people can come and enjoy life,” says Lolisha Chaney, executive assistant of Zoe4Life, the organization responsible for Club Zoe (whose name rhymes with Joey). “A place where they can have clean fun. We provide a safe place to have a good time without the negative aspects of nightlife.”

Since opening in 2009, Club Zoe has become a jewel of the ever-growing Christian rap community. It was formerly tucked in a random warehouse in the business district off Hegenberger. It reopened in October at a new, bigger location at 2162 Mountain Blvd.

Every fourth Saturday, a hundred or so young people indulge in a modified nightlife they don’t have to be ashamed of at church the next morning. It’s a sampler of the party options devout Christians had to walk away from, and it also serves the clientele worn out from the risqué elements of typical clubs.

At Club Zoe, live performances provide a concert feel and keep the happenings fresh. Several notable artists in Christian rap—MC Jin, D-Maub, Yaves, and Oakland native A. Doulos—have packed the venue, performing songs suitable for all audiences. Zoe4Life’s own group, Team Zoe, does an elaborate set, with lighting, smoke, a live band, the whole nine.

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