Picture the situation: It’s Thursday night, you and your friends are home after a long week of school. A casual drink in one hand and your laptop in the other, you’re submitting the last of your essays. You finish your drink, whip up some pesto pasta and change for a night out. The drinks are flowing at your pre, and as your friends sing along to Ariana Grande one of your housemates yells “GUYS! Stages?” You collectively agree, swig back a few shots, put on coats that will definitely not keep you warm, and head out for the night. But are you and your friends aptly dressed? Have you had enough to drink? And, most importantly, what’s the line like?

If you asked any of the above questions, you’re in the right place. My name is Stefan, and I am here to help you maximize your Stages experience. Whether you a dedicated rager or a Stages virgin, I hope to provide a few helpful tips to ensure you have a great night AND make it to your 8:30 the next morning.

You may be thinking, “What makes Stefan qualified to write this article?” Well, I am proud to say that I am a dedicated patron of Stages Nightclub & Bar, having gone every week this semester (strictly research for the purpose of this article). In addition, I have dedicated hours of research in the field of Kingston nightlife after five years at Queen’s. And yes, in case you were wondering, these credentials are readily viewable on my LinkedIn.

 

What to Wear

Men – always go with black jeans; blue is too casual for a night out at the club. Wear a reliable sneaker you don’t mind getting dirty: I always recommend black Old Skool Vans. Avoid white shoes at all costs; your shiny new pair of Air Force 1’s will never look the same after you step foot on that dancefloor. Your shirt will be the most important part of your outfit. First of all, you never want to be the guy with sweat stains; we’ve all seen Papa Stages soaking wet after a few hours on the dancefloor (you know exactly who I’m talking about). If you’re prone to perspiring, be proactive and pick something completely white or completely black. Also, wear antiperspirant. I always recommend a long-sleeve or t-shirt with a cool graphic and rolling up the sleeves when you hit the dancefloor. If you’re not someone who sweats too much, amp up your look with a colourful windbreaker or light jacket. And, for the love of god, leave your Queen’s quarter zips and crewnecks at home. Please.

Ladies – Black jeans? And probably a black top? Idk I know nothing about women’s fashion.  [Editor’s note: Without going into specifics, black jeans and a nice going out top is probably your best bet. Adhere to the sneaker advice and notes about the colour of the top from above.]

 

When You Should Go

The time you’re going to want to get to Stages depends on if you’re going early or hitting up the late shift. On an average night, if you and your friends are itching to get in early, I recommend lining up any time before 11:10. Generally, Stages isn’t at cap at this point, and even though the line may seem long it’ll move quickly. If it’s a busy night, this time moves up to 10:45. Although this may seem early, you’ll get in and skip the busy line. Plus, $2.75 bar rail on Thursdays means you can pre at Stages without dipping too far into your OSAP money. If you’re having way too much fun at your pre, you might want to think about hitting the late shift. The best move is to get there around 12:15-12:30. All of the pretty people with boyfriends and girlfriends start to leave after midnight, so the line will be moving pretty quickly, and you shouldn’t have to wait too long.

 

Once You’re Inside

Once you walk in, the first thing that should be on your mind is where to stash your coat. No one wants to be roasted by their friends for posting on Overheard about the jacket they lost at Stages the night before. If you brought your $500 Goose, take the L and wait in the long line for coat check. If you brought your 5-year-old TNA jacket from high school, throw it in a dark corner and honestly, hope you never find it again. I always wear an old denim jacket and throw it in the box just down from coat check on the second floor near the stairs.

After you’ve waited in line and ditched your coat, you and your crew are going to be thirsty. Time to hydrate! If you’re in early, head upstairs to the back balcony, grab a few drinks, and run into every 4th year you know. If you came late, head straight to the dancefloor and grab drinks at the main bars. At Stages, I strictly drink vodka waters with extra lime. Although it may seem unappealing, they actually taste pretty good with lots of ice and lime. Plus, your hangovers won’t be too bad the next day because you’re avoiding sugar whilst hydrating.

After you have one – or, let’s be real, a few – drinks in you, hit the dancefloor with your mates and throw your hands up to some beats by MERS. Depending on the time, it may feel less like a dancefloor and more like a mall on boxing day. Saying it gets crowded near the stage is putting it lightly, so make a circle with your friends to fence off stragglers in the crowd from bumping into you. If you’re feeling adventurous, hit up the platforms and dance as you look into the crowd and gaze at Stages in all its glory.

After some dancing, chilling with friends, and an awkward encounter with that person in your frosh group or your housemate’s ex (the one you actually really liked), it’s probably time to head home. Whether you’re on your way to Pounair or going home with the cute girl you matched with on Tinder last week, walk out with your head held high, knowing you gave the night your all.

 

Stefan Negus is the Head of Finance and Sponsorship for MUSE.