A guide to Waterloo nightlife

As an incoming first-year arriving in just over two months’ time, you most certainly have a lot of questions on your mind. But perhaps no question is more pressing or urgent than the one that is on everyone’s mind: “Where should I get drunk first?”

While many incoming first-year students are already legal drinking age, many others will have their 19th birthdays during their stay in residence.

Regardless of when you’re able to start hitting the bars, it’s important to know that there’s a world of possibilities out there, both on and off campus.

With this in mind, The Cord has compiled a brief tour of some of the bars that will become just as significant and just as frequented as your classrooms.

Of course, this list is far from exhaustive. There are many other places to explore in Waterloo. We wouldn’t want to ruin all the excitement of finding your favourite place to get shitfaced.

Now if you will, come along as we take a little stroll, starting on campus and heading down King St., the center of Waterloo nightlife.


The basics: Wilf’s is Laurier’s campus pub, located right inside the Fred Nichols Campus Center. Restaurant during the day, pub at night; the place is a centerpiece of Laurier social life.
Location: 75 University Ave. W. (on campus)
The attractions: Food and drinks, occasional live music and shows, Monday night open mic nights, being right on campus.
The crowd: Damn near everyone. If you want to see half the people you know when you go out drinking, Wilf’s is the place to go.
Something random: The hand dryers in the bathrooms are among the best pieces of technology ever created.

Phil’s Grandson’s Place

The basics: The dirtiest, grungiest, stankiest bar and nightclub in Waterloo, possibly in the Western hemisphere.
Location: 220 King St. N., right beside King St. residence.
The attractions: Great alternative DJ’s, cheapest drinks in town, stripper poles, marveling at the grossness of it all.
The crowd: Alternative music lovers, hipsters, people with lots of tattoos and piercings, total weirdos. Each day of the week features a different genre of music, so the crowd changes by the day.
Something random: It’s somewhat of a rite of passage to get drunk enough to lick the stripper poles.

Ethel’s Lounge

The basics: This local bar is one of the best kept secrets in Waterloo.
Location: 114 King St. N., about a five-minute walk from campus.
The attractions: Best patio in Waterloo, awesome food, $2 dollar taco Tuesdays is by far the best special in town, servers that would rather insult you than bring you beer.
The crowd: A healthy mixture of students and old, creepy townies.
Something random: Sweet collection of vintage concert posters from Laurier and UW in the 60s and 70s. Joni Mitchell once played at Laurier! Now all we get is Bedouin Soundclash.

The Fox and Fiddle

The basics: Probably the biggest and most popular pub in Uptown Waterloo.
Location: 77 King St. N., about a 10-minute walk from campus.
The attractions: Food and drinks, live bands, feeling popular, an ice machine for making margaritas.
The crowd: Always a large crowd almost exclusively composed of students, fraternity and sorority members, popped collars.
Something random: On bar nights, the Fox generates by far the longest line up of all the bars in Waterloo.

The Vault Lounge

The basics: One of a handful of off-campus nightclubs in Waterloo.
Location: 8 Erb St., at the corner of Erb and King, about a 12-minute walk from campus.
The attractions: Drinking, dancing, DJ’s, 3oz fishbowls, lasers and fog machines, general douchery.
The crowd: Biz kids. Beautiful people. Drunk people. Usually all three things at once.
Something random: Most nauseating website ever. Go ahead, Google it.