Club Bodega: A Safe Space, A Gateway to Zamboanga’s Diverse Sounds
Featured image from @clubbodegazc
Club Bodega shows the strength of diversity and inclusivity in Zamboanga City. In a diverse place full of cultures, religions, and dialects, it’s a haven where everyone feels welcomed and celebrated.
Zamboanga City – a metropolis brimming with diverse cultures, religions, and dialects, stands Club Bodega – a haven where inclusivity and innovation reign supreme. Amidst a bustling backdrop of unique traditions and perspectives, Club Bodega has carved a niche as a sanctuary where every individual feels welcomed, celebrated, and empowered to embrace their authentic selves.
Our Midnight Takeover in Mindanao kicked off with a bang in Zamboanga, where the spirited Club Bodega extended a warm welcome on October 27. From the moment Midnight artists Curse & Bless (me) and Florence Amoroso were warmly welcomed, experiencing top-notch hospitality at LM Hotel, we knew this would set the tone for an unforgettable experience.
True to our Midnight Takeover mission, we embarked on a quest to discover hidden gems, immerse ourselves in the local nightlife culture, and connect with talented artists from all corners of the Philippines. Club Bodega proved to be more than just a venue; they were enthusiastic collaborators who shared our passion for uncovering the city’s vibrant soul.
The team at Club Bodega went above and beyond to make our stay memorable, from the meticulous planning of the event to the thoughtful touches that extended well into the second day of our visit. Their hands-on approach and genuine love for Zamboanga were evident in every interaction.
One of the highlights of our experience was connecting with the city’s nightlife movers and shakers, including the talented DJ Allen Zobel and MC Brian Deleña. Allen and Brian’s infectious energy and deep knowledge of the local scene added a personal touch to our exploration. They ensured that we not only enjoyed the event but also discovered the best of Zamboanga’s hidden treasures. Side note, our second day in Zamboanga was pretty chill. Brian threw a little gathering and invited some of the city’s top DJs, like Mark Corinth and Fat Chi Chow. We all hung out, shared stories, and talked about our goals for the future in this so called nightlife. It was a cool way to get to know the local music scene and vibe.
As the night of the event on day one unfolded, we had the pleasure of meeting Reiza and Alexia, two key figures behind Club Bodega’s success. What began as email exchanges and group chat transformed into a night of open-minded conversation and mutual admiration. We had the privilege of interviewing Reiza, gaining insights into the club’s strategic marketing approach, innovative branding, and carefully curated musical offerings.
Catering to a Diverse Clientele
To effectively cater to a diverse clientele, Club Bodega employs a simple yet effective strategy: embracing the unique qualities of each individual. They recognize that Zamboanga’s rich tapestry of cultures is its strength, and they strive to create a space that reflects this diversity. Their tagline, “a fun & safe space that’s yours as much as ours,” perfectly encapsulates their commitment to creating a welcoming environment for all.
Unique Branding that Appeals to a Broad Spectrum
Club Bodega’s branding is a refreshing departure from the typical club scene. Their focus on affordability, creativity, and a relaxed atmosphere sets them apart, attracting a diverse clientele, from Gen Z and millennials to established professionals.. They prioritize fresh ideas, constantly evolving their offerings to keep things exciting and engaging.
We were particularly impressed by Club Bodega’s unique branding, which strikes a balance between minimalist and maximalist design elements. The venue’s concrete walls, the Berlin-inspired underground techno bathroom, and the iconic IBC water tank repurposed as a DJ booth all contribute to the club’s distinctive ambiance
Industrial Design that Inspires
The industrial design of Club Bodega is a testament to their resourcefulness and creativity. Inspired by their own childhood experiences hosting parties in an old bodega, they transformed the space into a unique and inviting venue. The rugged aesthetic, reminiscent of a bodega, exudes a welcoming and comfortable vibe, setting it apart from the flashy, intimidating atmosphere often associated with clubs. [ zoom in / click photo ]
DJ Selection: A Delicate Balance of Diversity and Crowd Appeal
Club Bodega approaches DJ selection with a discerning eye, recognizing the unique taste of the Zamboanga crowd. Their guest DJs are carefully chosen to represent a diverse range of genres, ensuring that there’s something for everyone. They prioritize the overall experience, aiming to create a space where people can come together, let loose, and enjoy the music.
It’s worth mentioning that Club Bodega’s commitment to diversifying Zamboanga’s nightlife scene is exemplified by its hosting of larger events such as Luna and SOL Music Festival, featuring a diverse array of genres that go beyond the typical Top 40s playlist.
Future Plans: Expanding Horizons and Introducing New Genres
Club Bodega’s ambitions extend beyond the current landscape. They aspire to bring international DJs to Zamboanga, introducing the city to new genres and broadening the musical horizons of their patrons. They hope to continue expanding their offerings, showcasing Amapiano, Afrobeat, Baile Funk, Hip Hop, House, Techno, and more. Their ultimate goal is to inspire people to embrace new sounds and expand their musical tastes.
Renowned artists such as Patty Tiu, Katsy Lee, Nix Damn P!, Mark Thompson and DJ Love to name a few have graced the stage of Club Bodega, adding to its reputation as a hub for exceptional talent.
Club Bodega: A Beacon of Inclusivity and Innovation
Club Bodega stands as a beacon of inclusivity and innovation in the bustling city of Zamboanga. Their dedication to diversity, their unique branding, and their innovative approach to DJ selection have made them a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike. Their future plans to bring international DJs and introduce new genres further solidify their position as a trendsetter in Zamboanga’s nightlife scene.
Club Bodega is more than just a club; it’s a community, a movement, a celebration of individuality and self-expression. In a world that often divides, Club Bodega unites, creating a space where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. As they continue to evolve and expand their offerings, Club Bodega is poised to remain a beacon of inclusivity and innovation for years to come.
Through our interactions with Reiza, Alexia, Allen, and the rest of the Club Bodega team, we gained a profound appreciation for their dedication to creating a space where everyone feels welcome, celebrated, and empowered to embrace their authentic selves.
CONTEXT / INTERVIEW WITH REIZA
- As a marketing strategy, how do you cater to gen z, millennials and ever evolving demographic, despite the different cultures, religions, and dialects in Zamboanga City?
- What makes Bodega’s branding unique, and how does it appeal to your target market?
- The industrial design of Bodega is often praised for its innovation and aesthetics. Can you provide insights into the thought process and creative inspiration behind the venue’s design?
- How do you select the DJs and guest DJs that perform at Bodega? What criteria do you consider?
- What are your plans for the future of Bodega’s DJ lineup? Are there any specific DJs or genres that you would like to bring to the club?
That’s actually the beauty of it. Zamboanga is such a diverse city, and we wanted to create a space that not only embraces the differences of the people living in it but celebrates them. Just people coming, having pure fun, and no judgments. We need more of that, not only in the nightlife industry but everywhere!
Our tagline is “a fun & safe space that’s yours as much as ours,” which is the backbone of the small community we’ve built. I think it came from that, and it stuck. Another tagline we always use is “Club Bodega, always giving you the escape you deserve.” We just really wanted to give people that, you know? A common place for all to just be themselves and enjoy, no matter their background. We just really want everyone to have a great time while in Club Bodega. BDG energy is truly different. The respect for the place and the people is amazing.
To be completely honest, we don’t really have a strict or one-page marketing strategy. We just go with whatever we feel will flow with our vision as a collective and as a group. We all have takes on every minor detail; we talk it out, which makes the outcome a lot better because truly, four brains are better than one. And at the end of the day, we just have fun with it.
I think what makes us different is that from the start, we really just wanted to NOT be just another bar, and I think we have achieved that. We also try our best to be as affordable as possible. And we make sure ideas are fresh and keep them coming. There are times where we have events and we’re not 100% if it will click, but we still risk it, not overthink it, and the results are always great in the end.
For the industrial design of the place, it’s actually a funny childhood story. We started drinking and hosting parties in our old bodega as teenagers, which led to the name Club Bodega, and from there, we just stuck with it. Our mood board during building this space was more on the rugged side; it has to look like a bodega, and we worked from there. We wanted it to be just very chill, and we wanted people to come inside and feel homey and comfortable—a space that’s not too flashy and not intimidating at the same time. We also wanted to look different. At the same time, we were also on a tight budget as young entrepreneurs. We were underdogs, and we still are actually. So it made sense to make it look like a bodega with our budget. Inspiration is everywhere, in our everyday lives, Pinterest, our travels, bars we go to, people we talk to, films we watch. You just gotta look and take things in, and you’ll get inspiration.
We’re a bit picky with our guest DJs, and Zamboanga is such a tough crowd to be honest, but we don’t really have a one-list criteria or preference on selecting our guest DJs. We do try to be as diverse as possible. We get artists we really love, and if we love their sound, we’ll book them. Other times, we just know that our crowd will love and enjoy their sound, so we get them as well. As long as people have fun, then we’re happy.
For future DJs, we are hoping to start getting international ones. Logistically, it will be kind of hard, but I believe we can do it one day, soon maybe in 2024. We love keeping it fresh and new, so hopefully, that’s something we can do soon. We’d love to continue and keep introducing new genres to Zamboanga like Amapiano, Afrobeat, Baile Funk, Hip Hop, House, Techno, and more. We just want more people to be open to exploring new and good music and not to just stick with what they know or what they usually hear.