White Rabbit not student-friendly

Maybe that’s their plan altogether: to scare away the students and give the adults somewhere to play uptown.


Photo by Heather Davidson
Photo by Heather Davidson

This weekend I went to the new restaurant and bar White Rabbit in uptown Waterloo. As a fan of uptown and all the unique and interesting restaurants one can find there, I was really looking forward to going here. However after going once, I can safely say I have zero interest in returning.

White Rabbit has been open for a few weeks now and I had heard little about it, only that it was new and that they have a variety of house cocktails to choose from. I went there for dinner without knowing what exactly to expect.

The inside is immaculately decorated. It’s tiny but has beautiful furniture and fixtures. I immediately felt like I was in some hipster indie rock bar in downtown Toronto. They also played great music; no top 40, just 80s and 90s rock.

The service did not start off overly well. It took about 10 minutes before a waitress even acknowledged us and when asked what White Rabbit was all about, the staff member didn’t have a lot of knowledge. All she could tell me was they squeeze their own fresh juice and seemed all around annoyed by my questions.

I was really excited to try a house cocktail, especially after learning that they make fresh juice in-house. They have four basic house cocktails with a creative twist. I ordered the Rabbit Greyhound — a combination of vodka, grapefruit juice, champagne and cucumber. At $8 I was expecting a tall drink, but it was in a short glass, full of ice, that I finished in about five minutes. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good drink — refreshing, cool and citrusy — but at that price I could only get one when I could have easily drank three.

The food menu is far from your typical bar menu. No burgers, wings or french fries could be found. I tried to tell myself not to be so narrow-minded and try something new, but I did not understand the menu. The sandwich menu consisted of items like a meatloaf sandwich, smoked tofu and two different brisket choices. Trying to pick something was difficult with such limited choices.

White Rabbit specializes in charcuterie boards — different kinds of meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables and crostinis designed to be shared. I love shareable appetizers so I was pretty excited to get one of these boards, but with prices ranging from $17-40 for a single board, it just wasn’t in my budget.

I ended up ordering the loaded brisket sandwich, which came with a side of potato salad and coleslaw. These side options were new and refreshing, plus the sandwich was good. The bread was fresh and the au jus was delicious, but I still left disappointed.

When leaving a new restaurant I think you should be excited to go back again, already planning what you’ll order next time, but I just didn’t feel like that as I left White Rabbit.

As far as overall experience goes, White Rabbit has created a great atmosphere. If I ever go there again, it will just be for a late night beer instead of dinner.

Until they add more items to their menu that aren’t so pretentious and lower their prices to a more student-friendly market, I can’t see anyone under 30 having a great time there.

Maybe that’s their plan altogether: to scare away the students and give the adults somewhere to play uptown.

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