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The Palace Nightclub, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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The Palace is a nightclub on Stephen Avenue in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In the 1940s, The Palace was a single-screen movie theatre. The building was condemned until 1998, when it was renovated to become the nightclub that it is today.

Evil and Depraved?

In all fairness, The Palace was a great idea; take a luxurious movie theatre and convert it into a massive nightclub. Unfortunately, poor implementation ruins the whole thing. Making a good club from a gutted theatre involves costly renovations: things like new carpeting, and repairs to marble staircases. Nobody bothered to do this, and the result is just a gutted theatre with a few bars interspersed within.

Walking in The Palace is always an entertaining experience. The carpets are sticky with spilt drinks and the occasional beer-bottle threatens to trip you up at any moment. There's also the glass shards and cigarette butts to deal with, the former posing a danger to anyone wearing those hip open-toed shoes. If you're walking with a group of friends, prepare to be separated in the crowd.

Oh yes, the famous Palace crowds. To get anywhere you have to squeeze between the guys wearing Tommy Gear, smelling of Polo Sport and the girls wearing their best from Le Chateau and Gap, smelling like the perfume department at an oh-so-chic department store. Hold tight to your friends as you negotiate your way through the throng. Most nights, the club is densely packed. You can't really dance on the dance floor, just do your best to bop up and down and politely squish in with your neighbours as more dancers make their way in. Watch for lit cigarettes in other dancers' hands, and be careful not to get a minor burn.

The crowd density can be easily observed from the top balcony. This area, which has some rather beaten up video game machines, and no tables or chairs, looks out over the lower balcony and dance floor. From its vantage the dance floor resembles a cattle pen; and the motion of people trying to make their way to and from the bars also resembles the Gulf Stream making its way through the ocean.

Alcohol is overpriced (up to CDN$4.50 for a simple drink), and is generally watered down. The glasses are small, too. Usually, the bar areas are so crowded you will have to wait a long time for the drink to be served to you.

Just to make things more maddening, no matter where you stand there is always a loudspeaker booming right in your ear. The DJs at the Palace play a mix of insipid pop music and simple dance tunes. The DJs have a penchant for speaking over the music at completely random times, to spout gibberish such as, 'Who's getting drunk tonight?!' or 'Who wants to get laid?!' The crowd usually cheers.

Finally, watch your back upon leaving the Palace. Stabbings are alarmingly common1 at about 2am just outside the Palace's doors.

Though some of these downfalls are found at other nightclubs, the Palace is notable for having all of them. A night at the Palace can cause depression or paranoia. Of course, not all patrons of The Palace share these views. Some say that it is quite possible to have a good time there.

1According to local newspapers.

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