Nadia Elkharadly: Boozy Beefs

IMG_7532 (2)It’s no secret, I go out a lot, far more than most people.  Between events for Addicted, concerts and shows to review and the rare nights where I decide to be social for the sake of being social, I spent a fair amout of time out on the town.  Most nights are filled with music, booze and fun times with good people.  But unfortunately, some other times there’s some bad that comes with the good.  As someone who goes out a lot in this city, I’ve managed to accumulate a pile of beefs not only with patrons of establishments, but with the establishements themselves.  I’m sure many of you can relate on some level to this list of irritations.

1)      Charging cover when you really shouldn’t

No Cover ChargeThough I hardly enjoy paying it, I do understand the occasional need for charging admittance to an establishment.  To pay a DJ, to pay a band, to contribute to the cost of running the bar or club itself; cash is king.  But I can’t help but feel that sometimes charging people just to walk into a place is just uncalled for.  When there’s only 30 minutes until last call, or on a holiday, or when there’s no real entertainment to speak of or to pay for, it seems in bad taste to charge cover, and it makes it hard to stomach actually handing it over.

Bar Bill2)      Charging an arm and an leg for drinks

I understand if you’re a high end establishment serving high end cocktails made with high end liquors that you paid a pretty penny for.  In that case, charge double digits for your beverages – clearly they’re being carefully crafted with quality products and have earned the right to their hefty price tag, and patrons expect quality and are willing to pay for it.  But if you’re charging eight bucks for a shot of shitty tequila that only cost 15 bucks for that entire bottle anyway, COME THE FUCK ON NOW.  I understand that there are venues in this city with big overheads that need to be covered somehow, but paying more than four dollars for a shot of Olmeca tequila that’s going to make me regret all of my life choices the moment the foul substance touches my lips just adds insult to inevitable injury.  Stop, just, stop.

3)      Ordering a complicated cocktail when the bar is busy

Fancy DrinksThe other night I was at the Drake hotel (I know, mistake number one), and all I wanted in the whole wide world was a vodka and water.  Simple drink, takes about 2.5 seconds to make, and will get me drunk while keeping me hydrated.  Unfortunately I was not to be granted my sole Sunday night drunk wish, because a group of suburban, seldom party goers decided that a complex cocktail was JUST the ticket when the bar was rammed to the gills.  After at least five minutes of waiting and watching this (albeit very cute) clearly talented but clearly frustrated bartender make this gorgeous cocktail, I had to hightail it over to another side of the bar to get my drink on.  The lesson here: if you want a great cocktail, go to a dead but fancy bar to get your alcoholic fantasies seen to, and leave the rest of us aspiring drunks to our simple yet effective drinks.

4)      Lack of Coat keeping real estate

icon_coat_check_single_small_prodCoatcheck can be a pain in the ass.  Waiting in line to check your coat, paying for it, waiting in line to get your coat at the end of the night when all you want to do is go home.  I understand bars and clubs want to get a bit more income from charging for coatcheck (not to mention preventing said bar from turning into a teenager’s bedroom with coats goddamn everywhere), but that doesn’t alleviate the aforementioned annoyance.  As well, there are many many out-going institutions that don’t even have a coatcheck nook, cranny or closet to speak of, and during a Canadian winter, that definitely poses a problem.  There’s no better surprise than feeling under a bar’s wooden overhang and feeling the welcome cool touch of an under bar coat hanger.  If only more bars and clubs would embrace this feature, or provide actual coat racks for customer usage, winter, and socializing within it, can be much simpler, neater and happier for everyone involved.

5)      Shitty lighting for live music

Badly Lit BandAs an erstwhile photographer as well as music journalist, I occasionally have to take pictures of the bands I have to write about.  I also occasionally have to do this in bars.  I’ve shot in big bars, small bars, huge venues and medium concert halls.  I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve sat cursing the lighting guy, or wishing a pox on the dude operating the fog machine backstage.  Shitty lighting (ESPECIALLY when it’s red) and fog make for horrible, horrible photos of shows.  I don’t care how amazing a photographer is, it’s a bane on the profession, the conditions live music venues provide, when you know they’re just hoping to create some sort of cool ambience for show goers to enjoy.  You want sexy, foggy stage conditions?  Create them AFTER the first three songs are done.  By that point most photographers have put their cameras away and you can do whatever you want with how your stage looks, we have no fucks left to give.  Also, showgoers, kindly be KIND to photographers in your midst during a show.  I know you’ve fought hard for your close to the stage position, but my ilk and I are not here to take your well earned spot.  We’re there to grab a shot or two, and then we’ll move out of your way.  Dirty looks, elbows, rude comments and all out shoving make our lives harder, and make you look like a total asshole.  Be patient, and maybe you’ll even get a cool band shot for your trouble.

Do you have bar beefs you’d like to share with the class?  Mosey on down to the comment section below and do your thing.

Until next time,



Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at:

DBAWIS ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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