There is no doubt about Winnipeg nightclubs creating cheap thrills for anyone over the age of 18. Some nights end up costing more than one’s paycheque, while others end in tears and broken stilettos. But everyone comes out to have a good time.
Each club varies from the next, from the music and vibe to the atmosphere and the layout. Newer bars within the city have become classier and more refined than some of the others. The CanadInns bars tend to attract the younger crowd (aged 18 – 21), while the clubs found downtown have enforced age restrictions (21+ and 25+) along with dress codes in hopes of only attracting the best of the best. However, this doesn’t filter out any of the mainstream dance manoeuvres, including anything from booty-shaking and hip-gyrating to the hair-flipping and oh-so-popular fist-pumping.
TYC (Tijuana Yacht Club)
1405 St. Matthews Ave. (at Empress Street)
The Tijuana Yacht Club is the place to go for everyone’s 18th birthday. The majority of its patrons are either newly-turned 18-year-olds, ones who could barely pass for 18, and of course the college guys who can’t get their hands on anything their own age, or size. Known for playing the hottest dance, hip-hop and R&B music, TYC is open Thursdays for Ladies Night, as well as Fridays and Saturdays. TYC is one of the largest clubs in the city with a capacity of over 1,000. The Tijuana Yacht Club is the perfect destination for a ladies night out.
The Verdict: Having virtually no wait times and bartenders that know drinks backwards and forwards, Tijuana Yacht Club gets four fist-pumps out of five.
1034 Elizabeth Rd.
Cowboys Roadhouse is the country bar staple of this town. Playing country music and featuring live performances, Cowboys is the place to go Saturday night if you’re looking for the honky-tonk vibe. With a capacity of roughly 700 and more brands of whiskey than one should consume, Cowboys goes all out on the country theme. Most patrons seem to dress the part, with plaid shirts, boots and even cowboy hats. Don’t worry about not knowing the “boot scootin’ boogie” – it’s easy enough to jump in – but a simple two-step will do. But if you’re someone who detests country music, Cowboys will likely be an unbearable experience.
The Verdict: The combination of a short wait time and its attention to country detail, Cowboys Roadhouse gets five freshly-poured shots of Jack Daniels out of five.
The Pal (The [World Famous] Palomino Club)
1133 Portage Ave.
Feel daring? The Pal is the place to venture to any Monday night. Featuring both in-house DJs and live bands, The Pal plays anything from country to classic rock to modern hits. But the feature that the Pal is most “famous” for is its booty shake contest. Being one of the smaller clubs in the city doesn’t seem to stop the lineups on a freezing Winnipeg Monday night. The Pal also has one of the most dangerous walks to the bathroom next to Whiskey Dix, with both clubs ill-advisedly forcing their guests to stumble down a flight of stairs. Don’t plan on dressing up for the Pal; you’ll only get spilled on.
The Verdict: Three broken Budweiser bottles out of a possible five.
1034 Elizabeth Rd.
Stereo Nightclub is the newest CanadInns bar to open its doors. With a capacity of 750 comfortably, Stereo has both a spacious interior along with stimulating visuals. Stereo is probably best known for its VIP lines that stretch as long as the bona fide entrance. The club playlist is pretty much the same bad remixed top-40 music played at every other bar. Most girls who head out to Stereo dress to impress. This usually means low-cut, cleavage-baring shirts and dresses in either animal prints or vibrant colours, paired with matching pumps or flats. The males play it cooler, choosing to match graphic tees with jeans and Chuck Taylors.
The Verdict: Long lines and generic music and drink selections earn Stereo two broken stilettos out of five.
2100 McPhillips St.
Silverado’s is the place to go any Saturday night, providing you are between the ages of 35 and 65. Silverado’s was once known as the Garden City hangout, but now seems to cater to an older crowd. Playing a variety of Top 40 music from present and past generations, along with featured live bands, Silverado’s is a hotspot for cougar sightings.
The Verdict: Serving up painful amounts of ‘80s music and far too much fist-pumping, Silverado’s gets two cougar sightings out of five.
So, even with all of the booty shake contests, poorly remixed music and over-priced drinks, each club will offer you and your wingman whatever you need, any day of the week.
Published in Volume 64, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 11, 2010)