Drinking away our savings
“It’s no longer about buying drinks. You’re buying real estate in a club. The better the real estate, the more status you have,” Mr. Fatah says. “Dance floor tables will sell for $1,000 or $1,500 a table.”
The average household in Canada spent $858 on alcohol in 2011. Data has shown a steady increase in heavy drinking among young men and women. Almost 34% of people aged 20 to 34 were considered heavy drinkers (reported having had five or more drinks on one occasion, at least once a month in the year), according to Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey. That’s up from nearly 20% in 1993.
The economic downturn in 2008 caused fewer people to go out on Thursdays and Fridays; but Saturday continues to be party night. Mr. Fatah says the average bar spend on a Saturday night is about $50 a person. That’s about six drinks each.
“Who are these people? Some of them are very successful Bay Street guys who are either entertaining clients or have the disposable income to spend the money. A lot of them live in the [suburbs]. Some of them live with their parents. Some of them don’t have mortgages to worry about. Three or four guys, they pool their money and they’re rock stars for a night and they’ll do it a couple times a month,” he says.
“I’ve seen people spend upwards of $10,000 in one night. In order to spend that much, you have to be buying a lot of champagne.” (Illustration by Chloe Cushman)