Battle of the campus bars

by , | Mar 8, 2024 | Arts & Life

NAIT’s campus bar, The Nest, has won the Best Bar None campus award for 8 years, but do they deserve it? Do the U of A Golden Bears or the MacEwan Griffins deserve it over us?

Let’s find out. On a scale of 1-The Nest (10), two students, one with 20+ years experience working in pubs and restaurants and the other with over 5 years in the food industry,  reviewed the other campus pubs. Fraser visited the University of Alberta and Luis visited Towers at MacEwan.

Deweys at the U of A: 5/10

Cost before tip: $23, around the same price as The Nest

Good: The food was edible. I am still alive. I love the brickwork of the building and the unintentional dive bar feeling of the place.

Bad: I came in at 1:38 pm. I wanted the quad burger–the basic burger that all places have. The menu change was at 2 p.m. They would not let me have the quad burger, so I went with the chicken fingers instead. This was poor customer service, as I know they could have easily made it based on my pub working experience. The drink menu on my table looked like it had been through the laundry.

The fries tasted like they were under a heat lamp for 15 minutes. The table I sat at was sticky. At the end of the meal, when I went to the washroom, there was a puddle of urine in front of the urinal. And when I was leaving, someone was already sitting at my table and I noticed they did not wipe it down. The spice rum and coke zero I had tasted like they needed to change the syrup bib.

Towers at MacEwan: 7/10

Cost before tip: Regular (double) Tower burger $13.33 with no drink (about $20- $21 with beer) before taxes.

Good: The décor and overall ambiance of the bar was enjoyable. The schedule of activities indicated that it was a student hub. The bartender (who was also in charge of tabling and cleaning) was polite and friendly. While the music was a good volume, if I was with friends I would have preferred a lower volume. The place looked clean. 

Bad: Fries had good seasoning but were not crispy and looked like they had been sitting. They had an inconsistent texture, some felt fluffy inside and some felt dense. I created my own mix of mustard and ketchup to complement the seasoning, since the plate was heavy on fries.  

The beef patty was a good size and juicy. However it was under seasoned (disappointing for the good price). The sauce did not manage to complement the lack of seasoning.The brioche bun was good and well-toasted. The vegetables (red onion, lettuce and tomato) did not add freshness or extra flavour to the meal. The lettuce was not crispy, the onions were thick cut and the tomato… was a tomato.

So in the end, it seems like other campus bars left us wanting for more. So stop by the well-deserved, award winning Nest on campus for some of the best post-secondary food in the city.

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