The only tried-and-true method to win over a university student's heart is to build them a kick-ass bar. That's why, though they vary in myriad ways, student unions across Canada have all strived to create the most welcoming spaces they can — without hemorrhaging money.
Some are steeped in nostalgia, and some are brand spanking new. Some are beloved by all, and others... meh. Here's our roundup of a few of the more notable student bars in Canada.
The Pit (UBC)
The Pit has theme nights five days a week, but it's best known for its Wednesday evening “Pit Nights” — a fascinating display of first-years experiencing their first drops of alcohol and student politicians emerging from their offices in a frenzied rage, desperate to punish their bodies with hard liquor. The current Pit is actually the second iteration of the well-known pub, as it was moved and completely rebuilt along with the new student union building.
How much for a beer? $4.75 for a pint of T-Bird (socially acceptable Coors Light)
How much for a burger? $12 for a bacon-cheddar burger, before their menu moved upstairs to the other bar. Now the only food available is pizza from Pie R Squared, for about $2.50 a slice.
Google rating: 3.7/5
The Den (Universtiy of Calgary)
The Den just underwent a major $480,000 renovation after the University of Calgary Students' Union decided it was time for a refresh. It's known for “Thursden,” U of C's Pit-style night of debauchery. The pub's Facebook page is also hilariously active, serving as the U of C's one-stop shop for embarrassing memes.
How much for a beer? $4.75 for a pint of "Den Lager"
How much for a burger? $13 for a classic cheeseburger
Google rating: 3.7/5
Dewey's (University of Alberta)
Dewey's resides in the space of the former PowerPlant, the music venue that the Graduate Students Association opened in 1978 and operated until it was no longer financially feasible in 1997. The student union, UASU, then took control of the pub, which has been plagued with financial problems since.
Dewey's has existed in its current form since 2008, when the university reclaimed half of the bar in exchange for reduced rental fees for the UASU. The size reduction totally changed the atmosphere of the bar, according to The Gateway, turning it away from its nightclub roots into more of a lunch bistro spot
How much for a beer? $4 for a Grasshopper during happy hour.
How much for a burger? $9.75 for the 6oz. Dewey's Burger, which comes with a fried egg and a tomato.
Google rating: 4.1/5
Louis' (University of Saskatchewan)
Louis' has definitely worked hard to build itself a nightclub reputation. Just looking at the bar's recent event history — concerts from Dragonette, STRFKR and Said The Whale in a three-month span — it's clear that they're trying to attract students and frankly, they're doing a hell of a job. Folks on their reviews page seem to treat them less like a student bar and more like a legitimate concert venue.
How much for a beer? $6 for a domestic bottle
How much for a burger? $12 for a bacon-cheddar burger on a pretzel bun
Google rating: 3.9/5
The Queen's Pub (Queen's University)
The student-run bar in Kingston isn't too concerned with hosting events and shows, instead focusing on solid prices (the cheapest burger in these rankings) and a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. Important note — this place started rolling out the holiday drink specials on November 17, which is at once egregiously early and a-okay by our standards.
How much for a beer? $5 for a domestic bottle
How much for a burger? $6.50 for a plain Jane hamburger
Facebook rating: 4.5/5
Gerts Student Bar (McGill University)
Founded in 1974, Gerts is the most well-known student bar at McGill. It's known for its Wednesday night Sangria specials, where pitchers are $12 before 8 p.m. and $14 afterward. Stop by — you never know when you might run into someone famous.
How much for a beer? $6 for a pint
How much for a burger? No burgers, but $6 for a Philly steak grilled cheese
Google rating: 4.5/5
The Grawood (Dalhousie University)
The Grawood, established in 1972, is the go-to student bar for the folks at Dal. It's famous for selling beer by the yard and excellent trivia on Wednesday nights. It also played host to the Arkells a few years ago — a fact of which it was, rightfully, very proud.
How much for a beer? $4 for a Bud Light or Keith's
How much for a burger? $9 for the 6 oz. Grawood burger
Google rating: 4/5