Volume 92, Issue 5

Friday, June 12, 1998

hakuna matata


Boogie on downtown

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

Saturday night was closing time for The NAC, one of London's longest running night clubs.

Siva Markandu, general manager of The NAC, said their lease had expired and the building had been sold to someone else. "It's just one of those things, the lifeline runs out – the lease runs out," he said.

The bar was full one last time as customers bid farewell to the popular night spot which now plans to relocate closer to the downtown area. "We were pretty well packed. London showed great support," Markandu said.

The new building will feature three levels and resemble Whiskey Saigon, a popular bar located in downtown Toronto, he said. "It is a really good downtown location – it's bigger than The NAC," he explained. "We will be able to target different segments of the market. It will be an incorporation of different things to satisfy different groups."

Markandu added they are uncertain if the new building, which should open mid-September, will keep The NAC name or go with something new. He said he could not reveal the exact location of the building they are purchasing because the deal has not yet been finalized.

Markandu believes the new bar will attract a lot of business once it opens. "It will be a new competitive hot spot in London, that's our prediction."

Jim Bob Ray's, however, is not worried about the new competition, manager Jose Lacruz said. "A lot of competition is a good thing – it makes you work harder," he said.

Lacruz also said the presence of a new bar near Richmond Row will bring more people downtown and help all the bars in the area. "The more the merrier. Whether bars are beside us or 100 feet down the street, it usually benefits us."

The number of bars located near Jim Bob Ray's has doubled since it first opened and business is still fairly successful, he said. "There just seems to be more people coming out and drinking now than there were a few years ago."

Ichabod's manager Sid Meddaoui agreed the new competition would be good for neighbouring bars. "There'll be more business for downtown – people jump from bar to bar," he said.

Stephen Fevrier, a third-year political science student at Western, said he is in favour of the move because even though The NAC was a good bar it was in need of renovations. "They needed to move – it was a good idea to get out of that place."

The new bar can only be a good thing for London, he added. "It'll bring it closer to students – the move will do a lot of good for students, the club and downtown."

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Copyright The Gazette 1998