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HELSTON: How staying in became the new going out

Charlotte Helston is the Vernon reporter for InfoNews.
September 11, 2015 - 7:19 AM

I can’t remember the last time I went out for drinks, and the number of times I scooted into a leather restaurant booth in the past year for the sake of socializing is probably smaller than the dessert menu at Boston Pizza.

I can’t pinpoint when, exactly, but at some point I became more inclined to spend my nights in, rather than out.

I know 20-somethings are supposed to get dressed up and go drinking and dancing on Saturday nights, but I haven’t done that in years. Text me an invite to the bar after I’ve put on my stretchy pants and I guarantee you, I will suddenly lose cell service, or my phone charger, until the following morning.

Now that I’m saving up for a house and paying bills, I can’t afford a big night out anyways. Most of my friends, many of whom are going to school, paying off student loans, or earning entry level, starting salaries can’t either. If you’ve perused the Pinterest-perfect pages of a cocktail menu and timidly asked the waitress how much a mojito costs these days, you know what I’m talking about. Rule of thumb; if the price isn’t advertised, it probably costs as much as your dinner.

Sharing pitchers at the pub has been replaced with six-packs and potlucks at someone’s house — where, conveniently, comfy pants meet the dress code and make-up is frowned upon. We play board games, have build-your-own sushi nights, and watch hockey games in the living room with the biggest flatscreen TV. I used to describe these nights to people who still went out with a sense of shame — I know, I’m lame, I would say. I’m too boring and poor to go out (and, more shameful still, I have no desire to.)

But, I’ve noticed lately that staying in has shed some of its taboo. More and more people my age are saving a few bucks, and having a great time, forgoing bars for backyard shindigs and trading teacup-sized guacamole plates for seven layer dips served out of a Tupperware container. I’ve realized that I’m not the only weirdo who doesn’t go out anymore.

The trend became even more apparent last week when one of Vernon’s sports bars announced it was closing down. Monashee’s Bar and Grill has been a fixture downtown for almost a decade, and was one of the few remaining places you could still grab a drink and dance to a DJ after 8 p.m. (or so I’m told — I haven’t been there for more than a grilled cheese sandwich in the last decade.)

The owner told me people just don’t go out like they used to. Who doesn’t have a flatscreen TV to watch the game these days, and in this economy who can afford dinner and a round of drinks when you can just put a box of taquitos in the oven and call it a night? Add tougher drinking and driving laws and sky-rocketing food prices, and the sports bar business starts to taste pretty stale.

The owner’s liquor store and take out pizza service, on the other hand, are booming. People still want to unwind with a couple drinks after the work week, they’re just doing it at home instead of the bar. So what’s he going to do? Turn the bar into a massive liquor store, and keeping rolling pizza dough, because while habits evolve, some things never change.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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