Back in the '80s and early '90s, the coolest, hippest place to be in Portland was Zootz Nightclub. The club was at the top of Forest Avenue, downtown, and hosted all kinds of great bands and DJs. In fact, Zootz was one of the first clubs around where the DJs were headliners. Zootz had a super-inclusive vibe; it had an all-ages night every Friday night and was LGBTQ-friendly. Zootz had the magic-a place where you could let your freak flag fly and feel safe that you could be the person you wanted to be.  A special place to dance and make friends. This was Portland's Hang Out. Kris Clark was the founder, owner, and operator behind Zootz until around 1994.

You could dance ALL NIGHT at Zootz. Check out this poster from 1992-Dancing from 9 pm until 6 AM!



Some pretty cool bands came through Zootz. Smashing Pumpkins played there very early on in their career.  Other notable bands that played at Zootz include Powerman 5000, Sevendust, Rustic Overtones, Clutch, Throwing Muses, Buffalo Tom, Superdrag, Local H, The Melvins, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Widespread Panic, Bad Brains, Screaming Trees, Fugazi, and many others.

The old Zootz location on Forest Ave. next to Portland Stage.

Google Maps


Here are Rustic Overtones from 1996.





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