New King’s Wardroom makes clean first impression

'Cleaner, more streamlined' digs replace venue's dingy basement image

Bartenders at the HMCS Wardroom serving students and professors during their first opening. (Photo: Teri Boates)
Bartenders at the renovated HMCS Wardroom serve students and professors.   Teri Boates

By 4:06 p.m., students lined up outside the cardboard-covered glass doors were becoming restless. The doors were supposed to open at 4, and some of them had been waiting for an hour.

Phones were checked, watches monitored, feet tapped. Suddenly, the cardboard came down and the doors opened.

The seemingly endless line of students broke into applause. The new Wardy was here.

In April, the HMCS Wardroom at the University of King’s College shut its doors and promised an

After only an hour of being open, the Wardroom welcomed 158 customers inside -- only 42 away from maximum capacity.
After only an hour of being open, the Wardroom welcomed 158 customers, only 42 away from maximum capacity.   Teri Boates

improved study space and campus bar in the fall. On Sept. 30, it reopened for happy hour and to show off the new space.

“They clearly put a lot of work into it,” says William Dawson, a fourth-year King’s student.

“I think they managed to keep a lot of the Wardroom aesthetic: the colour scheme, they managed to keep their cubby areas, the couches that are for lounging and talking.”

Gone are features like the foosball tables and the carpeted floor. One key change patrons noted throughout the evening was that it isn’t “dirty” anymore.

“It’s cleaner, more streamlined, doesn’t smell like rank beer from the carpet,” says Faye Campbell, a Wardroom employee who was working the door.

The changes seemed to attract a lot of people on opening night.

“One hundred and fifty eight,” laughs Campbell, picking up a counter from a front desk. “One hundred and fifty eight people in an hour.”

While some students embraced the new Wardroom, others were hesitant. Lucis Tennen, a second-year King’s student, says he “might warm up to it.”

“It seems less personal,” he says. “Like, you come in before and it’s carpeted, there’s a pool table, it’s a little dingy. This seems too nice.”

New brands of beer and Wardroom classics are available for purchase at the bar.   Teri Boates

New features include:
– more seating and tables
– larger capacity
– new pool table
– rotating seasonal beer on tap
– water bottle refill station

Despite receiving mixed reviews, the new Wardroom, which had been sought after for eight years, reached maximum capacity at 7:45 p.m.

“My own parents knew this place very much like how I knew it. It had a long tradition of being a bit of a basement,” says Dawson.

“Being kind of a dingy bar, but that’s why everyone loved it. I think they’ve managed to find a compromise here. It doesn’t feel like not the Wardroom, but it doesn’t feel dirty anymore, and that does feel nice.”

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