See, this would never happen if they listened to me: Standard nightclub closedown edition

I received word today via instant messenger that The Standard is now closed down and reopened under a new name: The Ranch Electric Roadhouse.

I still remember like it was yesterday when The Standard opened. It was on the site of the classic underage rock bar Barry T's... Barely Teens was its often well-deserved nickname. 16 and 17 year old girls were always there in abundance. Thanks to the wonders of being 18 and 19, and the legal protections afforded adults of all ages by Section 151, made Barely Teens a paradise for guys. Then, tragedy struck. In early 2002, an asian male was gunned down in the parking lot in front of the bar while still within his vehicle. In the latter months of 2001, Barry T's was forced to alter its longstanding and not officially endorsed policy: no groups of asians allowed. Angry letters in the Edmonton Journal and VUE and SEE denounced the practise, and after much pressure and a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal, asians were allowed en masse into the bar, even ones who looked thuggish and who gave bouncers the creeps. A few months later, dead guy in the parking lot. That Halloween, the costume party planned was cancelled with mere hours notice as Barry T's made the decision to close down rather than pay the out-of-control insurance that would have been required after the fatal gun blasts. Political correctness over ethnic profiling had claimed a great club.

The new club just wasn't the same. Debuting as "setting a new standard", The Standard had an insanely strict dress code. As the doors opened at 9, the bouncers walked the line of people waiting to enter, and sent anybody with jeans or sneakers or ugly shirts off home to change. One time I and some friends waited in line from 8:45 until after midnight, spending an entire hour at the front of the line while the bouncers let in girls in revealing outfits, or guys who were friends of the owner, or people who were on the VIP list, etc. etc. etc. By the end, we snatched free drink/cover tickets from the doorman for The Armoury (owned by the same company). By snatched I mean literally. He was going to give us three, and my buddy and I grabbed a handful each just to bury them in free drinks at the other location. I ended up at Standard only twice during its career, once to pick up some friends after they were too drunk to drive home on Ladies Night, and once last year at Halloween where it was so packed nobody could move inside.

At the time it opened, I had predicted with stunning accuracy the fate of the new club. It is a common story, and if they had only listened to me it may have been avoided. First off, a new nightclub opens with huge fanfare. It's the hot place to go, it's for the "in" crowd, they charge $5.95 for a bottle of beer. It's packed for months as people can't get enough of it. But then, after 4 months, or 8 months, or 18 months, it happens: another new nightclub opens to huge fanfare, whether in the same part of town or halfway across Edmonton. It's the hot place to go, it's for the "in" crowd, they charge $6.50 for a bottle of beer. Suddenly the "new" nightclub becomes the "old" nightclub. Everybody would rather wait 4 hours in line to not get into the new place than wait 3 minutes in line to get into the old place. The crowds dwindle. The old place brings their bottles up to $6.75 to try and lure people back, but it doesn't fly. The bars supply of hot young girls dries up, and as soon as the dance floor isn't packed by 10:53 everybody packs up and goes home. Soon, the old nightclub closes down.

And then reopens a few months later as a new nightclub! It's the hot place to go, it's for the "in" crowd, and a beer will set you back $7.25. The previous "new" nightclub finds itself yesterday's news, the crowds dwindle, and the end result is that I end up having to shell out more and more money to have a beer and watch hot girls in small tanktops dance with each other.

Meanwhile, a night relaxing pub, with no cover charge, rarely a massive lineup, and lots of places to sit and drink a pitcher of beer (which sadly once cost $7.50 and now sets you back a good $14), stays fairly busy, doesn't have the massive ups and downs of popularity, and can make a barman a lot of money without the trouble of annual renovations, starting up a new numbered shell company to hide the Hell's Angels' legitimate businessmen's earnings, designing new corporate logos, and shelling out a small mint on an ad campaign to bring people back to your bar which used to come to your bar and left it because somebody else used the same gimmick against you, and you'd managed to piss off huge swaths of potential customers by having bullshit dress codes, asshole doormen who weren't letting people in by any sort of rational means, and overcharging for everything the clients could purchase within the establishment.

Oh yeah, and why is it that apparently every black man in Edmonton who isn't pushing daisies after spending a night in the bar busy working in the bathrooms of the bar pushing soap and hand lotion on us and then demanding a tip for doing the job that a dispenser had been doing quite nicely without any complaints?


ABFreedom said...

Heh ... "Hell's Angels'" ... you picked up on that did ya... it's been like that for decades .. the more things change, the more they stay the same.....