People seem to have the wrong impression about Mango....firstly it isn't a bar. It doesn't open at 8 and it isn't a place you'd go to first- it stays open til 5 and is generally still packed out at that time every Saturday and most Fridays. Secondly, Mango and the Fez are the only clubs that bring any kind of big name DJs to Reading. Mango has seen the likes of Judge Jules, Martijn Ten Velden, Seb Fontaine, Lisa Lashes, Tim Sheridan, Hoxton Whores, Micky Slim, Richard Dinsdale and Filthy Rich all appear in 2007...there is no 'urban' music at weekends, the nights are run mostly by individual promoters like Erotique, Gifted, Connected, Pushca, etc, who all have resident DJs of the highest quality, like Filthy Funk Funk, Oliver Lang and Ric Maia. If you like house, electro, techno, progressive and minimal, it's pretty much the only place worth going.
Fez has also had some decent names there in 2007, like Sister Bliss, D Ramirez, Mark Knight, Trophy Twins, DJ Yoda, etc. Fez unlike Mango has a weekend urban night called Flick Da Bass, where you get a lot of big name hip hop and garage DJs there on Fridays. The venue is pretty grotty now but its pretty big so when its full there's a decent atmosphere. However, more often than not its empty and because of the size of the main room it seems even emptier.
Of the bars, you have Revolution, which has occasional Hed Kandi nights, but the music is really fluffy and vocal. Some of the traditional revs crowd has moved over the other side of town since Dogma opened. I've always found the crowd full of people who don't really care what music is playing but are just there to get hammered. Unfortunately for them, its not easy given that average wait time for a drink is approx 20 minutes.
Dogma and Oakford Social Club are more studenty places, quite specialist music styles. Oakford has seen Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Nathan Fake and Death in Vegas there in 2007, Dogma doesn't have any big names as such and their music policy is a mix of house, electro, indie and hip hop. I've noticed a lot of chavs going in there recently but there is always a big queue at the front door so they must be doing something right.
Sahara is my favourite of the bars. The music is quite quiet, so you can chill out in there and relax, sip a few cocktails without your ear drums bursting. It's in the now busier side of town along with Dogma, Fez, Mango, Purple Turtle and Zero Degrees.
Zero Degrees is a restaurant and micro brewery but often used as a pre club bar as they have some special deals monday to friday between 4 and 7.
Purple Turtle is ok, a place i frequented as a student. They have a jukebox in there but often have drum and bass and indie nights in there. Free wifi in the daytime as well. Its next door to the Fez.
Over towards the other side of town, at the end of the Oracle over at Kings Walk you have Mix Bar. This place is a little bit out of place in traditional Reading: its a very classy cocktail bar, with a very elegant interior and stylish decor. From there, over towards Friar Street, it goes downhill a bit.
Friar Street has all the chain places previous posters have mentioned. Yates, Bar Risa, Revolution, Varsity and Wetherspoons, etc. Also on this street are Bar Four and Q-Bar. These places are chavvy beyond belief, the music is all exactly the same: pop, r&b, etc. The drinks are generally pretty cheap but you get what you pay for. Friar Street is like the Veronicas or West End equivalent to Reading. Personally I wouldn't go near there but each to their own. Amongst these hovels, you've got Pitcher and Piano and Xen. They are a little bit nicer.
Back to clubs, a new one has opened where Utopia used to be called J12 over at junction 12 of the m4 in calcot. The venue is huge but the nights there look really mickey mouse already. Someone mentioned Plug & Play- its not the nicest venue but they do have specialist nights there playing stuff like psytrance and breaks.
My perspective on all this is as a clubber that went to uni in Reading over 10 years ago and has Dj'd all over Europe for the last 8 years, including places like Eden in Ibiza, Stockholm pride and Mecca in Prague. Reading isn't brilliant but for town of its size it isn't bad at all. I come back to Mango once a month because the music there is simply better than anything else Reading has to offer. If I want to see a big name on my doorstep, they're there. Erotique offers £5 entry to members of Reading universitys Electrosoc. Where else can you see the likes of Judge Jules in a nice independant club with a good crowd for a fiver?!