Employee recounts her experiences at the newly reopened Concordia bar
It’s a bustling Thursday night downtown and students are looking to unwind and take refuge after resuming their studies. On the prowl for cheap drinks, they are drawn towards $3 Pabst cans that always satisfy those on a tight, debt-ridden budget.
They navigate their way through the backwaters of the Hall building until they reach their final destination: Reggie’s. Many have returned to this newly re-opened bar looking for a nostalgic trip down memory lane, considering the bar had been closed for two years.
Renovations began in back in 2013 to completely overhaul the dive bar but the project faced numerous delays. Unconfirmed rumours even swirled online and throughout the student population stating there was asbestos in the ceiling.
But what is it really like to be a waitress at this student watering hole?
The story all began when a friend forwarded an email to me from the Concordia Student Union —I usually overlook these redundant messages—saying Reggie’s was reopening and looking for staff. I jumped at the opportunity since I’m beginning to experience the early onset of separation anxiety from my beloved Concordia (I’m graduating this spring).
The hiring process was done quickly through the CSU and I was officially hired as a waitress. And now the bar just re-opened. This process took the longest because renovations went took far longer and obtaining a liquor license proved to be quite challenging.
Prior to Reggie’s closing, I had only been to the bar once before when I was a student attending Dawson College.
My memory of this ancient stomping ground was far from positive; the old place was dingy and smelled like damp cement mixed with fermented ale. The atmosphere was so dark on a Thursday night that I felt like I was on an episode of the X-Files and needed a flashlight.
Prancing on the dance floor felt extremely uncomfortable, for as a woman I felt unsafe due to the leering male eyes that stalked from the sidelines as they drank their cheap ale. This experience lead to my swift exit to Mad Hatters down the street, and I ruled out ever going to Reggie’s again.
Since the reopening, everything has changed dramatically. The decor is gorgeous, featuring brighter and more open spaces with uncovered windows and open booths or tables. Reggie’s is definitely still in its adjustment period since its re-opening in December.
Although many students have voiced their complaints about the new decor and pricing saying it’s too fancy and too expensive. Prices have since been adjusted after the manager had informed the CSU that students were very dissatisfied.
Currently the specials of the week are more student friendly. On Wednesdays basic mixed drinks are $4 for a single and $6 for a double. On Fridays there are $3 tequila shots.
The vibe has definitely changed from a dive bar filled with inebriated fools to a more academic and bourgeois scene. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the difference in the clientele that has come in as well.
In my opinion, the atmosphere feels generally safer and I see a lot more women and members of the LGBTQ frequenting my tables. This marks a change in direction for the bar compared to its infamous past.
My staff at Reggie’s is very welcoming of everyone and wants everyone to have a safe and fun time all together.
Thursdays are bustling since that’s the night most students go out, yet I feel as if the CSU hasn’t given enough advertising or hype to the reopening, resulting in a quieter bar.
When asked if I’ve had any horror stories of patrons getting absolutely trashed, I realized that I’ve never experienced such a thing. Most people come to socialize and the focus isn’t solely on getting drunk. The only con that immediately comes to mind is when individuals forget to tip, which is frustrating.
Overall working at Reggie’s so far has been a positive experience that really serves as a refuge for students who want to remain at the university in a safe and respectful space. The experience has been invaluable and in my opinion and the establishment definitely deserves more hype than it receives.
P.S. Don’t forget to tip your server or bartender.