We walked into Club P at 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. As our eyes adjusted to the mood lighting and our ears filled with soft country music, reality sunk in. We were in the Painted Pony Bar and Grill.
The last time either of us was there, the atmosphere was completely different. On select Saturday nights this fall, the first of which was Sept. 3, the restaurant has transformed into Sackville’s hottest nightlife destination.
Days before its opening, Mount Allison students across Sackville were invited to an elusive Facebook event, titled: “Club P: Grand Opening!” Curious but somewhat apprehensive, students considered stopping by the restaurant to see what the fuss was about.
Mt. A students Peter Burns and Erik Oliver, the official DJs of Club P, were expecting between 50 and 100 guests that night. Little did they know, hundreds would show up. Estimates vary, but Painted Pony owner Kathy Beal said more than 200 guests were present for the birth of Club P.
Beal had only scheduled two bartenders that night. When the crowds started arriving, she was forced to put one of the two on the door to check IDs. “It was like 30 buses pulled up,” she said. “I don’t know where they came from. It was like a convoy coming down the road.”
Around midnight, hordes of sweaty dancing youths, the likes of which Sackville has rarely seen, took to the dance floor with a vivacious spirit. The club raged on until 2 a.m.
That night, hundreds of students went to bed, or to someone else’s bed, with visions of Club P dancing in their heads.
Beal opened the Painted Pony Bar and Grill early last year after the closing of Uncle Larry’s, otherwise known as Club L. She had always hoped to make the space available to students, so when she was approached by Burns and Oliver, she was happy to explore its nightlife potential. She is surprised but delighted by Club P’s success thus far.
Burns said Club P has given him an outlet to explore his creative process. “From Monday to Saturday, I get to create an event from nothing,” he said.
Two weeks later, an event titled, “A September to Remember (or nah)” appeared on students’ Facebook newsfeeds. Not in their wildest dreams did students imagine that future Club P events could be better attended, but that Saturday night was even more crowded than the last.
According to both Beal and the DJs, the third and most recent incarnation of Sackville’s new favourite nightclub was the most popular yet.
Students said that no other Sackville venue has provided the same buzz that Club P has instilled in our hearts and minds in the past month. Amy Allison, who had previously attended Club L events, said, “It’s not Uncle Larry’s, that’s for sure.”
Many students said The Pond’s days (or nights) of glory are over as long as Club P is on the scene. On a Facebook thread, Club P attendee Chloe Budd commented, “Club P forever, let’s girlcott The Pond.”
Even among students who were skeptical at first, Club P has established a good reputation. Burns and Oliver said that because Club P provides more space to dance and is well-lit, it provides a safer atmosphere than The Pond.
Maureen Adegbidi agrees. “At The Pond there’s no room to dance and everyone’s body parts are all up in everyone else’s, which makes it a highly sexual atmosphere,” she said. “Even if there are horses on the wall, I like Club P.”
And yet, all is not bright and cheery. One of students’ deepest, darkest fears – the implementation of a three- to four-dollar cover charge – may soon become a reality. Beal said cover would offset the costs of paying the DJs and added that she hopes to buy sound equipment in the near future. Neither the DJs nor Beal expect attendance to decrease with the implementation of cover.
Club P has become the talk of the town. The DJs are excited about about the prospect of future ragers. “Although [attendees] might be sassy, although they might be yelling at you, they’re there, they want to have fun, and it’s our job to make sure that happens,” Burns said. The question is: will the excitement last?
Co-authored by Naomi Goldberg.