Allow me to paint a familiar picture for you.

Its Friday night. After your long, arduous workweek, you decide that adult beverages are in order — whether as a reward for your diligence and hard work, or a hot balm to apply to your recently crushed soul, who’s to say?

Sure, you could just head to the LCBO and stock up on your favourites, but how would that be different from a Monday? You deserve something special! Some excitement! Some, dare I say, danger! So, you make the same decision that many folks make on a Friday night, and you head DOWNTOWN!

But wait!

If you’re not in the safe and controlled home environment you’ve become accustomed to, how will you possibly be able to make sure that people and events live up to your expectations? How can you ensure that you and your friends have a good, safe, fun, memorable time? Well, the bad news is, you can’t. What you can do, however, is stack the deck in your favour before you hurl yourself at the exciting, glittering metropolis that is downtown London, Ontario.

Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a list of a few key characters you’re likely to meet on your trek through the beating heart of our beloved Forest City. Think, a local zodiac meets a low-stakes scavenger hunt, a Municipal Geographic if you will. While these won’t for-sure save you from a bad time (Hey, I can’t do all the work for you), they will allow you to prepare yourself for all the fun, and not-so-fun, possibilities that a night out can bring. So without further ado, here are the eight likely types of people you’ll meet on a night out in downtown London, Ontario.

The Aficionado

The Aficionado. Illustration by Sammy Roach.

How many IBUs does this beer have? What should I pair with my entrée? Just how the heck did humans decide to let plants rot stylishly only to drink later? The Aficionado has all this information and more crammed into their brain. If you need to know anything about what/why/how you’re drinking what you’re drinking, you need only ask. Sometimes you don’t even have to do that! The Aficionado has a nose that not only detects burnt sugar top notes in their porter but also sniffs out a casual drinker from a mile away. Get the information you need and get out of there! Lest you be sucked into their alcohol-induced vortex of did-you-knows and fun facts. They are usually found holding court while educating their novice friends or teaching the owner of the bar a thing or two. That’s why their mouth is so big, its full of information.

The Lone Wolf

The Lone Wolf. Illustration by Sammy Roach.

Find this solitary regular at any number of different spots in the core. Notable haunts include a solo seat at the bar, a booth typically reserved for four people, smoking outside the entrance, but never in your face. The Lone Wolf is a solitary sort, liking to keep to themselves and whatever project they’ve decided to bring to the bar (My money is on manifesto). Adjectives range from brooding to sulky, enigmatic to self-indulgent, hot to scary. At first glance, many types may initially present as The Lone Wolf. However, the Lone Wolf persona is shed with the arrival of others or the consumption of more drinks. Be wary if a Lone Wolf seems highly intoxicated, as this could be another more dangerous sort, The Juggernaut, in disguise. A whiff of cologne may indicate The First-Dater in waiting, while an aroma of newly legalized electric lettuce will typically confirm your initial assumptions.

The Juggernaut

The Juggernaut. Illustration by Sammy Roach.

You’ve seen this person. You know this person. You’ve been this person. The Juggernaut is on a meteoric path to drunkenness, and nothing will stop them. A metamorphic sort, several types can be rounded-up to Juggernaut status if they’re not careful.  Subspecies of The Juggernaut include the angry Juggernaut (Think I’ve got something to prove meets the bottom of a Jager bottle), the sad Juggernaut (Banshee-like crying in the bathroom coupled with spilled food and drink), or the most dangerous of all, the sneaky Juggernaut. A sneaky Juggernaut can present as a Lone Wolf or a New Best Friend only to rip off their mask at any point to reveal the non-stop party monster below. An adaptable sort, they can be found in most establishments, especially on the weekends. Keep your wits about you to avoid these destructive, albeit sometimes, hilarious characters. Best of luck, you’ll need it!

The Weekend Warrior(s)

A pack of Weekend Warriors. Illustration by Sammy Roach.

Typically pack-animals, The Weekend Warrior and their ilk have worked up a big thirst being responsible and sober all week. There is a direct correlation between how many Weekend Warriors are present and how loud the bar is. Herd-mentality meets consensus reality in this no-holds-barred group dynamic drinking fest. Opinions on servers and bars change like the wind depending on the group’s vibe. It can be calm and sunny one minute only to have peace shattered at the smallest provocation. You can spot these warriors groups at larger, more relaxed pubs. If you happen to find yourself caught in a swell of these types, find a buddy! Smile, agree that Bill in HR is a moron, and order another drink!

The First-Dater(s)

Cute but nervy first daters. Illustration by Sammy Roach.

The First-Dater is all systems go. Coiffed, folded, pressed, plucked, ever-so-slightly-flexed, and looking for a connection! The chances are that you won’t interact with many First-Daters, but they’re fun to observe.  Watching first daters along with your friends (or while you down your first solo drink while waiting) can be a fantastic game of improv, guesswork, and bold assumption. Not unlike a first date itself. Typical behaviours include; a wave of mounting, visible anxiety while waiting for their date to arrive, hopping back on Tindr/Grindr/Christian Mingle just as their new potential romantic partner heads to the restroom, and the awkward dance around bill time. It is always heartwarming to see a legitimately good date in the making, however not as fun as watching a disaster waiting to happen. Low-lit restaurants, flavour-of-the-month niche eateries, and microbreweries are notable spots for these types, so mark your routes accordingly!

The PartyParent™

PartyParent™ to the rescue! Illustration by Sammy Roach.

“Have you had any water? You should really have some water.” If you hear this standard bar recommendation, you may have found yourself under the wing of one of the most integral night out types there are –the PartyParent

. While some are feeling invincible, the PartyParent™ remains deep in realism territory. Your short term party goals are their long term worries. No one is going to make sure that you stay hydrated, safe, and alive like a PartyParent™. They keep things moving, keep cabs full, and always, ALWAYS keep the water pouring. If you don’t have the fortune of having a PartyParent™ in your group, you’d do well to find one, and soon! One important note on this type, when it’s their turn to let loose, watch out! All those glasses of water, crashed-on couches, extra pants, and forcible advice is duly tallied and will be repaid one day, in SPADES! Be ready.

The New Best Friend

New Best Friends. Illustration by Sammy Roach.

The New Best Friend, like the moon, is always out there even if you can’t see it. They like to keep to their preferred haunts (gay bar bathrooms, the odd-numbered seat at a group table, up in your business) but may venture elsewhere in search of commiseration. This person will change your life, and you’ll change theirs. A treat to find later on in the night, they provide a self-esteem reinvigoration that is hard to rival. That new shirt you’re trying out tonight? Stunning! Your hair? Gorgeous! They will make anything about you seem like the bee’s knees. It’s such a shame that you’re both too drunk to remember to get each other’s numbers. Like two party-barges passing in the night, The New Best Friend and you are destined to meet and then part. But don’t worry, it’s London! With the two degrees of separation this city has, you’ll no doubt run into them again soon! Or at the very least, you’ll realize that salacious gossip you heard recently was about them! Oh, London.

The Kevin

Oh, Kevin! Illustration by Sammy Roach.

Every group needs a Kevin. Every group has a Kevin. If you look around at your group of friends, and you don’t see a Kevin, chances are the Kevin is you. What’s a Kevin, you ask? Claaaassic Kevin.

Hopefully, you’ll have a better idea of how to navigate the entertaining and dynamic world that is downtown London, Ontario. Now, of course, this isn’t a one-stop-shop for information! Get out there – Experience is key! See how many subspecies you can identify in our city during your night out. Can you spot The First-Dater with a Kevin rising, or the ever-elusive Weekend Warrior with a PartyParent™ moon? Drink responsibly and see you out there!

Illustrations by Sammy Roach.

Feature image via Ontario’s Southwest.

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