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This post is about a nightclub. What?? — a nightclub? Yes … I am writing a post about a nightclub – a bar. But no, I haven’t lowered the bar of my posts (no pun intended).
Before you start thinking I have lost my mind, I will say I left my clubbing and bar-drinking days far behind me in the realm of my younger years. But this is a pretty special sort of nightclub, etched in the pop-culture psyche of Québec (both the city and the province).
Whether it be past or present, Tokyo has Womb, London has the Ministry of Sound, Los Angeles has The Roxy, Berlin has Berghain, but… Québec has Dagobert !! (otherwise know as le Dag)
If somebody tells you they’ve been to Pacha in Ibiza, LIV in Miami, Zouk in Singapore, Hacienda in Manchester, or possibly even Studio 54 in New York, you can look them square in the eye, put on a real serious face, and ask them straight out, “But have you been to Dagobert?”
(I’m not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing that I know these places… but hey, they’re all the most famous-of-the-famous, so I suppose I can be forgiven – 🙂 ).
So what the heck is special about Dagobert? Well, when I set foot inside many years ago at the age of 18, it was already a legend. But unlike Ricardo Trogi (the main character in the film 1987, the previous post), I had already just turned 18.
It’s a 3-storey night club on La Grande Allée (the café / boutique / main street in Québec city) – with capacity for 1,200, and an open 2-storey dance floor in the middle. It has another stage area for concerts, and has hosted countless acts — many who have gone on to find various degrees of fame.
It has been around for about 40 years, and has been the must go of all must go places since the 1970s. People from Montréal will even plan trips to Québec City (a three hour drive) to do a night out at Dagobert.
In an industry where competition is tough, nightclubs are constantly trying to outdo each other, and a 5-year lifespan is considered a long time — just how something can remain the hottest joint for 40 years baffles me. But being the in-place for such a long time, Dagobert now rides on its own steam, and lives off the momentum. Hardly any nightclubs can claim this sort of unseated title – anywhere (which is why I grouped it earlier with the great of the great). Even movies are being made of it (1987).
If memory serves me right, the former NHL Québec Nordiques hockey team would show up after games to down a few and party hard on the dance floor with the crowd. Where else would you see that? (Am not even sure that could happen at Webster Hall in NYC).
It’s had its up’s and downs over the years… such as forced short-term closures for getting a bit too wild, fires, riots outside, and lots of thing inside too, I’m sure. But it’s always there — every weekend there are line ups down the street to get in, and it’s as popular as ever. In the cultural iconic sense, for a nightclub, I’m not sure there’s anything else quite like it in Canada.
Mention it to anyone in Québec, anywhere in Québec (even a place like Rouyn-Noranda, a 10 hour drive away), and they’ll know it.
To view Dagobert on Google Street View, click HERE (it’s the old the heritage building with round castle spires on the corners and awnings on the windows).
It’s official website is here: http://dagobert.ca/ (their website even has hotel deals… that should say a lot there when a nightclub has hotel packages, knowing people come from far-and-wide to party with them on weekends).
If you’re in Québec City (or even Montréal)… see if you can make a point of dropping in on a weekend just to say you’ve been there. But unlike Ricardo in 1987, make sure you’re of age and have authentic ID (they do check!).
Brasses-toi pas trop – et ayez du fun !