Every Thursday, McGill students have difficult decisions to make with the most grave of consequences.
The first is usually, “Should I go out?” If the answer is no, then the choices are rather straightforward: one must decide what Netflix show to binge and what wheels to invite over, or, better yet, to swipe left or right.
However, this article will be analyzing the options if one answered yes through an ethnographic study that has produced the definitive assessment of the two.
The first — the Big Suze in the hierarchy of McGillian questions — is whether one should go to 4à7 or BDA? Then, the age old question, Tokyo or Mme. Lees? And finally, a fitting end to your average Thursday night in anticipation of your weekly Friday morning hangover, 2-chow or belle-pro?
Now, I think I am the perfect person to create the definitive guide to choosing between 4à7 and BDA. Why? Because I am an Arts student and most of my friends are in Management, so I have experienced both and can give an educated recommendation.
On the surface, they both are quite similar. Every Thursday from five to eight you can buy lukewarm beers and less than gourmet grilled cheeses for a loonie, without paying cover or coat check. As a student, the value-add is immense.
However, once you’re inside the respected venue of either the Bronfman Basement or Arts Lounge, the differences become apparent. These differences will be the baseline of my analysis that will lead to a definitive recommendation towards the ultimate McGill question.
Pool table or suits?
Now, it is no surprise that your typical Management student and your typical Arts student have very different stereotypes. Management lads love their suits, cigarettes, LinkedIn profiles, and talking about their dope internship on Bay Street. Whereas, Arts students love their thrift stores, cigarettes, niche Instagram memes, and talking about how they can’t find a paying internship.
These stereotypes are more similar than one may think.
The pool table at BDA is fun, hard to play and almost impossible to get a spot at.
“Networking” that occurs among suit wearing “Sharks” at 4à7 is hard to do, not fun, and almost impossible to get a job from.
See, not that different, so you really can’t go wrong at either. You will certainly leave disappointed and a little bit embarrassed with your performance (yes, speed networking is a competition) from either venue.
The “who do you know here” Stare or Pseudo-Socialist Snicker?
Bronfman is pretty much a high school; from the size of classes to the way rumors spread, it shares much of the characteristics that make high schools, well, high schools. The very structure of the faculty enables students to know most of their classmates, and unfamiliar faces quickly stand out.
What follows from the aforementioned characteristics is the patented “who do you know here” stare. We have all experienced it, whether it be at a fraternity party, during Frosh, or when you venture into a different faculty to take an elective.
The Stare is characterized by micro expressions that reveal contempt, disgust, or utter un-impressiveness.
When an outsider walks into 4à7 they are bombarded by The Stare. The finance sharks can sniff out students not in management from a mile away (or from across the Bronfman basement).
Now, this might seem like a terrifying situation — you, an outsider, being singled out by a swarm of finance bros. But don’t worry; that’s the maximum danger you will face. If you ever confront this swarm of sharks, their first response is always, “Ha, you are in arts? Good luck getting a job.” But don’t fret, the insecurity seeps through their H&M suits; they may act all high and mighty, but between you and me, they only have their “dope internship” because their dad has a friend in wealth management who owes them a favour.
Although The Stare is harmless, it can still be bone chilling, and indisputably increases the propensity to consume cheap beer.
I know I’m painting 4à7 as a hostile environment, but BDA isn’t saved from this critique.
Despite the emphasis many programs in the Arts faculty put on Marxist critical thinking, the newly realized university socialists in these programs still flock to the crony capitalist enterprise — that is BDA. If you know the right people you’ll get away with skipping the entry line or not surrendering a token for beer. And still, like the sharks of management, these hipster students have their own predatory technique but you’ve probably never heard about it … until now.
These hipsters roam in packs, and you can see them wearing outfits from the thrift store with their hair dyed in all shades of the rainbow. However, rather than a stare, these BDA goers have a snicker and eye roll — a trait that is incomparable to any other natural creature.
The deadly combination is observed most frequently when the pack sees a male human, wearing Vineyard Vines, Patagonia, or their favourite, Polo Ralph Lauren. Almost immediately upon spotting the male, the pack leader rolls their eyes as a signal to the pack members that it is time to attack. Quickly, the pack member begins to critique, complain, and snicker among themselves. One can only imagine what they are saying, as this pack is deadly if confronted.
Now personally, I am undecided among which is worse. All I know for certain is my propensity to consume cheap beer skyrockets after being a victim of either.
Now, you must be thinking, if both BDA and 4à7 are environments filled with predators, where should the typical McGill student go?
My answer for you, is that you cannot go wrong with either.
For $1-dollar beers, good friends and a chance to roam back to the library semi-buzzed after you promised yourself just 2-ish study beers, the advantages outweigh the cost of both The Stare and The Snicker. Moreover, now that they both end at 8pm, there is no difference between the time you leave either event and the time you have your first Jaeger bomb at Tokyo or your first tequila shot at Mme. Lee’s.
Going to McGill University — the Harvard of Canada, as I like to call it — means that we are only a month into the semester and we already have midterms. I think we can all use all the $1-dollar beers you can drink, once a week — the venue is just a minor detail.
So this Thursday, regardless if you are at 4à7 or BDA, mix in a beer and grilled cheese and make friends with a shark or hipster. For all you non-accounting majors, that’s more people for your LinkedIn network, or better yet, more people to buy you beers.