{night} school is in

Jan 11, 2013 · Arts · By Stefanie Gibson

Ethan Oblak

On the corner of King and Princess, Night School is the newest bar to emerge on Waterloo’s student social scene after opening on November 29th. With a stylish exterior and intimate atmosphere inside, this location offers the requirements for success and yet it is a building that has hosted a steady string of failed restaurants and clubs. Overcoming these ghosts of businesses past will certainly prove to be a daunting task for the owners of Night School

Owners Devon McKenzie, a Conestoga College graduate and Jesse Hoffman, a current University of Waterloo student are a surprisingly young duo who bring an interesting perspective to their new bar. After planning events at bars in the area, organizing music festivals and even planning tours for Toronto band, Zeds Dead, the duo decided to take the necessary next step to open a venue all on their own. On any night of the week, patrons will find these self proclaimed social butterflies ensuring cleanliness and interacting with patrons to ensure the level of vibrancy they desire in their new club.

Equipped with the knowledge they have gained from their tours across North America, McKenzie and Hoffman boast one main vision for Night School-quality and affordability. While many clubs and bars in Waterloo seem to be in a losing struggle for the balance between student friendly costs with a high quality services and cleanliness, Night School is attempting to offer something that is often lacking in this city.

McKenzie explains, “People like going to nice places, but they don’t like paying $100 a plate for it, so if we can provide affordable food and affordable drinks in a nice environment, I think that will be a real winning formula.” With a free coat check, $12 pitchers and $4 mixed drinks paired with a clean and chic interior, the owners seem to be putting their winning formula into practice.

Night School has not yet devoted their bar to a signature night like many clubs and bars in the area do and instead, they offer a different experience each night. Most notably, Monday nights are an all request chemistry night. Inspired by the favourite childhood show, Dexter’s Laboratory, Monday night patrons will be served by staff in white lab coats, blue gloves, and spiked hair while the bar is decorated with dry ice experiments, flasks, and everything necessary to create a mock science lab experience.

Night School is also offering special events with plans to give patrons the opportunity to challenge McKenzie and Hoffman in a massive, six-week pong tournament, set to begin late January or early February.

Although food is not yet a main focus, Night School offers a small Jamaican inspired, chef created menu. Foodies however will have to restrict their taste tests to late night snacks because for the time being, Night School does not open until 10pm.

Many wonder how Night School will avoid the peril that many businesses in this location have faced in the past few years. To avoid the pitfalls of those businesses, McKenzie and Hoffman are focusing on students as opposed to the past clubs and bars that have focused on an older audience. With an area offering bottle service, a dance floor and a section with a pub feel, Night School is appealing to a wide range of student nightlife interests. Even by appealing to a new demographic, it will still be a lot of hard work to maintain their lofty goals and avoid the business troubles that have tainted this location in the past. Hoffman admits, “We’ve pretty much given up sleeping entirely.” It is likely that there will be a lot of sleepless nights in the future for these business partners but if they can maintain the standard they have set, it will be interesting to see how their creative plans will change Waterloo’s social scene.

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