The one bar I will never miss

But cheers to the rest of them.

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Just how much do you miss going to bars? Slip on some headphones, head over to, and find out.

This audio project comes courtesy of a bar called Maverick in San Pedro Garza García, Mexico, and as a barfly simulation it’s surprisingly effective.

You can customize the ambience to raise or lower the volume on the clinking of glasses, patrons chattering, a bartender mixing drinks, rain tapping on windows, street noise, and summery night sounds like chirping crickets. It’s even got a decent Spotify playlist, rotated weekly.


And so it is that I’m sitting at my desk with goosebumps up my neck, and a longing to be around strangers, sipping something stronger than this mug of tepid rooibos tea. Turns out I do miss bars after all.

There’s a good mix of sounds here, though after a while it gets repetitive. For variety I’d add a crowd cheering on a sporting event, the mechanics of a jukebox, and the mashing of buttons on a retro videogame cabinet. Guess it’s not that kind of bar.

But there are some sounds I would never feel are missing from my bar experience:

  • a Slurpee machine

  • high-schoolers microwaving burritos

  • customers paying for gas

  • the whirr of many, many refrigerators

  • dreams dying.

Have a listen, and imagine trying to relax with a cocktail to these vibes:

I’m talking, of course, about the biggest little news item out of Ontario this week: the revelation that 7-Eleven stores across the province have applied for liquor licenses — not so that customers can buy beer or wine to go, but for that beer or wine to actually be served, and ingested, in a designated in-store drinking area.

I went to my nearest location on Dundas West, an area already thick with delightful licensed establishments, to confirm whether we’ll also be getting a shitty one.

Indeed we are. That is, if the application is ever approved.

Go ahead and see for yourself if you, too, might get a convenience-store cantina in your neighbourhood.

There are various grounds on which to object to such an idea, but for me it’s just one: why? When restaurants and bars have been struggling for months under lockdown just to stay afloat (and many of them won’t), why add cheap competition from a retail giant?

Seven-Eleven is a great place to buy junky snacks, exchange propane tanks, use the ATM, cash in lottery tickets.

It’s the place you want to go to after a night of drinking, at which point those two-for-$5 slices of salty pizza tanning behind glass are exactly what you crave. You’re there for us, 7-Eleven, with bags of Doritos and tall cans of sugary iced tea just when we need you the most. You’re our Cinderella in reverse, magically transforming into a fluorescent-lit princess after midnight.

Don’t spoil a good thing by having us start the night there, slouching on a vinyl stool squeezed between the Blueberry Blasts and the day-old Taquitos, knocking back buck-a-beers out of a Big Gulp cup.

We don’t wanna go where nobody knows your name.

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Lockdown means we can’t go for beers, but you can always buy me a coffee.
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Talk soon.