Sunday, August 08, 2010

Waterloo's Burgeoning Club Zone

On King Street in the block north of Erb, we already have two bars catering to heavy drinking: the Vault Lounge and Chainsaw. Around the corner on Regina, the patio of the Royal Canadian Legion is another noisy, boozy spot.

New Year’s Eve, 2008, I walked by the Vault with my 80 year old mother about an hour before a massive brawl broke out on the sidewalk. The police called it a riot as dozens of drunken patrons fought; people were stabbed with broken bottles and bones were broken. Last summer the Vault was the scene of another late night brawl.


Now, directly across the street from the Vault and next door to Chainsaw, the Waterloo Theater seems poised to become a nightclub.


Here's some local buzz about the plans for the Waterloo Theater, which apparently will be called Beta. I'm not sure there's anything to be done to prevent Beta at this stage. A local resident has asked the Alcohol and Gaming Commission to withhold the liquor license, but it's doubtful that that approach will work. If the City of Waterloo had funded the arts to a decent degree (and not thrown so much of available funds into the pit that is the Clay and Glass Gallery), perhaps the previous attempts to make the theater a cultural center (Theater Athena and the Waterloo Entertainment Center) would not have failed.

As a long-time Waterlooian, I'm a bit paranoid about Waterloo suffering the fate of Kitchener. When I was growing up in Waterloo in the 60s and early 70s, downtown Kitchener was a wonderful, vibrant area full of interesting shops. The main attraction was the string of movie theaters along King Street. One of the downfalls of Kitchener was when those theaters got turned into clubs, with all the drunken brawls, public urination and vandalism that goes along with nightclubs.

The core of Uptown is King Street from William to Erb. Uptown needs to expand north up King, and our new nightclub zone is the first block north. The area is slated for streetscape improvements next spring. I'm really concerned that this concentration of booze cans (as the Chronicle likes to call them) will mess up the development of other blocks to the north.

Some of our city councillors believe that any criticism of bars is due to teetotalling tendencies that must be ignored. I disagree. Local politicians may have heard out-of-line complaints about bars; that doesn't mean that all concerns about bars are invalid.

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18 comments:

Yvonne said...

Honestly, I'm against public urination, vandalism, and brawls as much as the next person and I do not think that the vault or chainsaw belong in uptown. I would have loved to see Waterloo Theatre remain a theatre. However, this new club Beta is less about the alcohol and more about getting some excellent musical talent into Waterloo. Sure this music is not for everyone, but this club is going to attract people who are more interested in good music and dancing than drinking themselves into stupidity. And to prove this, they are successfully hosting events without alcohol. But not having their liquor license will definitely hinder their ability to make money. If people like you keep opposing this club, the waterloo theatre is going to stand empty once more. As someone concerned about the vision of uptown of Waterloo, wouldn't you rather see the building being used rather than fall into disrepair? I think a rundown building would take away from the look of uptown much more than a new music venue. So perhaps you could open your mind a little. I would love to see holes like the vault and chainsaw closed down, but I would very much like to see Beta open for real.

Anonymous said...

Get a life Yappa, Waterloo is a university town which requires bars and nightclubs.

In my opinion tear down vault and make MOAR BETAS.

Anonymous said...

BETA is a world class venue that is continuing to put waterloo on the map. They have hosted a half dozen sold out shows with no liquor. I think you should write a follow up piece and talk about what BETA is vs what you thought it was going to be.

Shame on you for not following up with your blog post.

Anonymous said...

What an irresponsible post from someone who clearly knows nothing about the venue in question. Learn about the culture behind today's music scene before posting such garbage. Beta is here to stay and is a great asset to Waterloo and Ontario as a whole.

Anonymous said...

You're theaters won't be coming back any time soon. Beta is amazing, maybe check it out. Follow up is recommended. I'd say get with the times and realize theaters are done...home theater and multi-theaters are whats in, just like blogging on the "internet."

Anonymous said...

To the original poster: you sir/maam clearly know nothing about anything. Beta is putting waterloo on the map in terms of being an amazing international music venue and the best that Waterloo has ever had. And all of this without a liquor license which clearly goes to show that the people going to the shows are not drunken lunatics rather they are people who are appreciating world class talent. Waterloo doesn't want you here, go move into a retirement home

Anonymous said...

Beta should be thanking local drug dealers for they're miraculous success without a liquor license.

Anonymous said...

To the degenerate who said "get with the times": it is thinking like this that stems opinions such as this bloggers about the bars of today extracting culture from downtown areas. I am a true fan and patron of Beta however such ridiculous posts makes all of seem like ignorant know-it-all youths. Home theaters? seriously? lol.. wow
If you want to pay a service to Beta discuss its benefits as an addition to a downtown strip which boasts good art. Refrain from saying that classic artistic attractions are "out"- you lose all credibility.

Anonymous said...

i find it a shame that residents of waterloo actually enjoy when student life is being hindered to the point that they will actually go out of their way to request that an establishment not have a liquor license.

YOU are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

People are in deep fear of another Elements. Deep fear. Itis important in maintaining the decorum of Uptown waterloo and not letting it become run down like downtown. That is why they go out of their way to request denial of a liquor licence. I AM a student and guess what I'm also a waterloo townie, and i care about my town here, unlike the drunk ass students who come here to party and throw up and urinate in out streets.

Anonymous said...

Elements, Chainsaw and Vault do not belong in the same sentence as BETA.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the music of Beta, I think it could be more open minded to bringing in other talent in different genres of music...not going to happen probably...oh well, there loss. In all seriousness please people do not be fooled by thinking the patrons are showing up sober, I have to agree with the comment "Beta should be thanking local drug dealers for they're miraculous success without a liquor license." or Vice Versa. I think the Aoki show was amazing, I was sober, my friend was sober, I can't say the same for probably 95% of the rest of the attendees. People go on and on how they are all about the music, it's a bunch of B.S. Etards.

Anonymous said...

Beta a is dry nightclub, it wont last..Its like a one hit wonder in town. Sorry to say . but someone has to say it!

Anonymous said...

No new nightclub lasts. They're the shiny new thing in town and then the novelty wears...unless they have a fire and go down in a blaze of glory

Anonymous said...

Steve Angello, Gareth Emery, Zeds Dead, Steve Aoki, Zeds Dead and Sander Van Doorn and it has not even opened yet. I think thats a wide genre list for 5 events. More genres then waterloo has seen in years.

new nightclubs are always a fad, thats why BETA is a venue. Take everynight club to every exist in Waterloo and add them all together and they still do not equal what BETA has done in 2 short months without a license.

Anonymous said...

BETA will never be anything more than a drug pit now, license or not. theyve already attracted and secured their position in the minds of all waterloo E Tards, congratulations.

this person had every right to be concerned and the ones bashing them apart only proved their point that your a bunch of quickacting hooligans the type to pee on buildings and start brawls outside of bars.

Anonymous said...

lol remove link he posted on Facebook for this topic. Can't handle Criticism hey bud.

BETA said...

Not interested in a single IP address continuing to say false things about BETA.

BETA has the most intense search program and has a zero tolerance to any drug use. We also have more security guards per person then any nightclub in the city.

Never the less, its cute you hide behind "Anonymous said..." At least the writer of this blog post formed a post and didn't hide behind an Anonymous profile.

Also in respect to our first 6 events. There has been zero fights and next to no altercations. We had 2 noise complaints for within our first 3 events as we were tweaking our sound system to find a sustainable level.

Other then that not to many people have bad things to say about BETA and already the facebook group is 5600+ strong making it the 3rd largest in the country in our industry.

Don't worry I also understand the frustration of working within a nightclub that is slow while you neighbour has zero booze and continues to beat you night in and night out. Maybe its the business model? and coming on here and hiding behind Anonymous said... is not going to hurt us or make you guys any busier!