Volume 92, Issue 6

Friday, September 11, 1998

oshfrosh b'gosh


Schmoozin' and boozin'

By Christina Vardanis and Clare Elias
Arts and Entertainment Editors

As Frosh, you've been inundated with "How to succeed in school" and "Best routes to note taking" seminars that are all fine and useful. However, they do skirt around the more important issues at hand – nachos, wings, pool, music and what's on tap.

Bars are a big part of student reality. The need to unwind comes fast and furious once the rigorous schedule of classes, exams and dorm life kicks in. Whether it's a place to kick back and relax, shake your booty 'til it's blue, hustle some poor unsuspecting soul at the pool tables or block out the last day or two, London has plenty to offer one in search of sweet, barley and hops,' solace.

The chatties

For those social butterflies that can never get enough of the "Hi! How are you! How's school!" run around, there are plenty of "chatty bars" that fill up early and run into the wee hours.

Home to many a Mustang, both young and old gather at The Ceeps and Barney's, two connecting bars located at Richmond and Pall Mall Streets. Great draught offerings, mixed with the occasional live cover bands and a weekend DJ keeps their huge covered patios packed all winter long. A splash of Sunday suds with a house Celtic band gives you that extra boost to gear up for those 9 a.m. Monday classes.

Take a stroll up the street to the corner of Albert and Richmond Streets and hang a quick right. The Runt Club's intimate atmosphere becomes a home away from home for many students, offering a more relaxing, less flashy establishment.

"It's a great place to go for beers with a few buddies," says bar manager Karrie Laing. "[The frosh] that do hang around are regulars for the duration of their degree."

The Brass Door Irish Pub, at the King Street offshoot of the Galleria Mall, boasts daily pitcher deals on 14 draught beers. With cover bands throughout the week and Celtic rock dominating weekends, the party atmosphere of this bar may lead you to your lucky charm.

One of the most versatile bars in the area, The Shot, located by the tracks on Richmond St., has something for everyone – be it Monday night Football, R&B Tuesdays, crazy weekend crowds or '80s metal on Sundays. This old train station has been transformed into a bar that's part lava lounge (which is a regular purveyor of back-room hip hop), part dance floor, part pool hall and part line-up unless you get there early.

Scot's Corner is on Dundas St., facing the Galleria. They have 20 different draughts on tap. 'Nuff said.

If downtown is too much of a trek, the main floor of Western's own University Community Centre is host to The Spoke, a great place to kick back in some extra comfy chairs, play a little pool and grab some grub. If it's Monday night, go early or be doomed to a line up from hell – The Spoke holds one of the best Retro nights the city has to offer.

Outer Mongolia is known for its magnitude of martinis. It's a loungy setting decorated in greenish blue that creates an enclosed, secluded atmosphere. This bar is located at 645 Richmond St., upstairs from the Mongolian Grill and is packed with pool tables, video games, coffee tables, love seats and a satellite TV. The back room, also known as the "red room", is draped in red paint, red sofas and red lights – kinda like seeing the world through rose coloured glasses.

You should be dancin'

Leading off the group of hip hop 'til you drop bars is Western's Wave, which is certain to be packed with rezzies surfing on the massive dance floor until the tide rolls in. With everything from Top 40 to alternative play, as well as a full dinner menu, this bar is one of the best to mingle and meet lots of other Froshies.

The Ridout Tavern and The Ramp, two parts of one of the biggest dance bars in London are always packed on a Friday. This basic beer and shot bar delivers multiple dance floors, rooms to sit, rooms to groove and a variety of musical samplings catering to all different tastes.

Too bad, so sad, The NAC has closed and left hundreds of Electric Circus wannabes out in the cold. But wait! All is not lost! Drink is taking over and has lots of surprises in store for those in the need for boogie. Featuring mostly Top 40 dance, there is also a pub-style restaurant with a 12 foot TV screen that will be open seven days a week. The main bar, located at Wharncliffe and Riverside Drive will be focused around a heated dance atmosphere, equipped with London's largest lighting and sound system, as well as a video screen.

For those of you still yearning for the basement house parties of high school yesteryear, The Base, located in the basement of The Shot, provides four rooms of dancing within a homey brick wall setting. Couches that line the perimeter add to the rec room feel of the bar, but don't let the casual setting fool you – the lighting, sound system and hot DJs create a late night party no basement has ever seen before.

Ichabods is London's dance grooving scene, host to the hip and happenin' dancers whose plastic, flashy and stylin' clothes fill the two-story vibe house.

Jim Bob Ray's fills every pool playing, foozball lovin,' beer guzzler's dream. Even though it's mostly a standup bar and hosts a slightly older crowd, Jim Bob's has broken out a dance floor for some vibin' guys and gals.

Sinnz, located on Clarence Street and backing onto Call the Office is London's newest gay bar, popular for weekend dancing.

Behind the eight ball

If cues, pockets, balls and such light your fire, mosey on down to the Cue and Brew at Richmond and Mill Street across from the Ceeps. Known for its "eclectic lounge" and boasting award winning burgers, the relaxed atmosphere is looking to add live music to its repertoire this coming year.

Strokers on Oxford Street, a little west of Wonderland Road, is worth a look. It's a little more for the serious pool player than for the barfly but the tables are great and it's not too far away.

Where once people used to play with big balls, is now where they play with pool sized ones at the massive Palasad. What used to be a bowling alley has been converted into a pool bar with a great atmosphere and tons of tables.

Eardrum blowers

Plenty of bands will be touring the London area this season, visiting all the bars which regularly host live acts on the weekend.

The Whippet Lounge attracts a colourful crowd and is recognized as the bar that never closes. Open 365 days a year, you'll find folk nights, punk nights and a hint of everything else in the lounge that is 50 years old and still has most of the original fixtures from the '40s.

Call The Office at 216 York St. is where you'll find a wide variety of local and national bands performing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sundays are reserved for time travel back to the days of retro and Wednesday takes a further trip to the hippy '60s and plastic, platform seventies. Some notable bands to have played here include Radiohead, Catherine Wheel, Our Lady Peace and Fastball.

GT's, the 'back alley bar,' is three-bars-in-one that covers top 40 tunes downstairs and tribute bands upstairs. You can expose your musical ear to these sounds every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

The Embassy is rugged, rustic and the right place to be for live music, shooting pool or just shooting the shit. Every Wednesday Johnny Kash performs (no not the real thing, it's a pseudo-Cash), a fun lovin' country groovin' guy – especially when enjoyed with six dollar pitchers. Indie 2001 exposes indie bands every Thursday, while larger named groups fill the Embassy on Fridays and Saturdays. Past acts have included Rancid, the Crystal Method, Jewel and Sloan.

Also watch for special event concerts coming to the Wave and The Spoke all year long.

Go exploring

This is by no means the be-all-end-all of the bars in London, but it'll at least start you on the way. There are lots of other establishments that might suit your fancy, but it's time to cut the apron strings and let you find your own way around the town. London is yours to navigate – put on your comfies, have a couple of beers along the way and in no time at all you'll be some bar's "Norm."

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998