Students seem to really come together over a few brews. I’ve witnessed this moving phenomenon on multiple occasions. It’s a very beautiful process to behold firsthand. I always look forward to ripping some drinks with my friends at the U of A or McEwan. Usually, I will try to get as many friends together as possible to meet up after class on any given Friday. Prime time is between 2pm and 4.
This gives me enough time to leave Concordia, and hop the LRT at Commonwealth Stadium. From there, it’s a 14 minutes and $3.20 ride to the U of A. At the Uni of Alberta, they have quite a few drinking stations to choose from. More often than not, my friends and I frequent the two main spots. The first, is called Dewey’s. It’s more on the east side of main campus; a block away from HUB. This historical building used to function as one of the school's original power plants. Once the building was decommissioned, it was remade into a bar. Back when my dad was attending university -circa 1981- this drinking pit was aptly named The Power Plant. It’s a very industrious style old square brick building. It’s main space is jam packed with pool tables, and a smaller upper level is adorned with multiple couches; ideal for lounging.
The other place we go, is the Room At The Top. Student’s strictly refer to it by its acronym RATT or simply the rat (animal). Located on the seventh level of the students union building, this spot offers an exceptional view of campus, downtown, and the river valley. Truly one of the most unique lookouts in the entire city. Huge windows make up the entire perimeter of this bar, so make sure to bring some friends and some sunglasses. Also, be aware that you need to either have a U of A ONE card on you, or be a guest with someone who does. If it’s really busy, you won’t get in without that. Dewey’s on the other hand, doesn’t have this same rule.
Concordia also has some special places, they’re just a little harder to find. None of them are on campus, but they are all close by. I am going to share two of our best spots here with you today.
First, all we have to do is look across the Northlands parking lot. Students over the age of 18 are more than welcome to stop by at the Northlands Casino. A quick 8 minute walk from campus gets you to the front door. It might seem to be a little dusty and run down, but the casino is pretty top notch. During that Friday prime time which I eluded to earlier (2pm-4) you can easily walk in and grab a stool right up at the bar. You can also hit some slots if you are low on conversation. The most hilarious part about hitting the casino is the fact that it is such a big transition and culture shock when compared to being in class or at school. It’s a good change of scenery which takes very little effort. Consider it a quick holiday. The only downside here is that you can only pay cash, and the beers are a little more on the expensive side.
However, the real diamond in the ruff is the Royal Canadian Legion. The 178th branch is located just off 112 ave and 82nd street; a quick drive west from campus. In my opinion, this is the unofficial bar of our school. Cheap pitchers, good food and free games of pool. Honestly, it’s such a prime secret spot that I shouldn’t even be mentioning it, but I think students should take better advantage of this great little place. It’s the ideal spot to shoot the breeze and plan out your Friday night. In addition to that, it’s fun interacting and getting to know the dedicated veterans and volunteers who help make that place roll. Once you become a regular, you start addressing people by their names. Everybody involved over there is always really interested in the types of things which we study at school. It’s a fun place with a super mellow vibe. Just make sure to remove your hat once you enter in acknowledgement of the sacrifices which our troops have made in the past and present.
So there you go, a few tricks of the trade. Now all you need to do is grab some friends and some brews. Be smart and please don’t drink and drive.