QP drink tasting leaves behind a sweet taste

Menu preview event highlights the sentimental value of the Queen's Pub

An updated menu at the Queen's Pub has this fan feeling fabulous.
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In honour of their updated menu, the Queen’s Pub (QP) hosted a drink tasting on August 31 so students could sample their new beers and cocktails. Having spent every Monday and Tuesday evening of the summer at QP watching 25 twenty-somethings find love on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, I knew I had to be there.

A summer working in Kingston turned my co-worker and I into QP regulars. In just four short months, we ordered everything from watermelon sangria to deep fried pickles—so we were almost embarrassingly excited to see what the new menu had to offer. Recruiting a team of QP veterans and rookies to join us on the tasting adventure, we bought our tickets in advance and counted down the days until we could ring in our fourth year at Queen’s with a few cold drinks.

Although I’ve walked through the doors of the Queen’s Pub more this summer than I have over my past three years at Queen’s put together, I’ve never been a stranger to the magic of the pub’s cozy interior—or its melt-in-your-mouth falafel sandwich. QP is the first place my parents brought me when we toured Queen’s in the fall of my final year of high school. Even now, I remember feeling anxious about touring my potential future university, and shoving down a honey garlic chicken wrap while my mom, a Queen’s alum, explained that in her day, QP stood for “the Quiet Pub.”

Funnily enough, this year’s drink tasting was scheduled on Queen’s move-in day, meaning thousands of first-year students were in the middle of moving into their new homes in the University residences. As our group made its way into dark comfort of the pub, I couldn’t help but think of the excitement and energy of the incoming students, realizing this would be my last first day of Queen’s.

It felt right to start the new year off at the Pub, where my Queen’s experience began.

Armed with four drink tickets each, my friends and I were escorted to our table and instructed to choose four of the 15 new drinks available. As a vocal beer-hater, I was immediately drawn to the three mixed drinks on the menu: The Bar-Hama, Harvey Wallbanger, and a November special we had the chance to try to name. We scribbled down our drink choices on the slips given to us and handed them in, buzzing with excitement at the prospect of leaving our mark on the menu.

According to our helpful waitress, aside from the new drinks, QP’s new menu—with its revamped light blue and yellow design—now offers samosas, salads, desserts, and all-day nachos. For purely investigative purposes, my friend and I ordered the samosas to share, impressed by their crispy outer shells, drizzle of sweet and spicy sauces, and the generous topping of chopped scallions. We agreed we’d definitely order them again.

While I can’t offer any insight on the quality of the new craft and draught beers (although I was told by a friend that Prince Eddy’s Pitted Peach Wheat is a good choice), the mixed drinks were right up my alley. The Bar-Hama was like a drinkable (and mildly sweet) tropical vacation or, as the menu aptly describes it, “A glass full of a summer day by the pier.” Made with white rum, blue curaçao, pineapple juice, and lemonade, it reminded us of applying Banana Boat sunscreen before taking a dip in the lake.

The Harvey Wallbanger and nameless November special were close ties for first place, the first tasting of an orange Creamsicle and the second, almost like cotton candy.

As we spent the afternoon drinking, munching, and listening to a playlist which, to our surprise and delight, included songs by David Archuleta and the High School Musical cast, I thought back to the first time I’d visited Queen’s and eaten at QP.

As my fourth year on campus begins, instead of worrying at the thought of a new chapter, I’m both excited and sad for my Queen’s experience to come to a close. I’m glad I got to start my final year surrounded by friends at a place that I love.

And if you happen to drop by the Queen’s Pub in November and see The QPleaser on the menu, you’ll know this story (and my time here) has had the perfect ending. 

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