Upon returning from summer break, students were met with an unexpected reckoning—The Spot nightclub had been replaced by a new establishment called “Virtue.”
Virtue Nightclub welcomed patrons for a soft-opening at its location on 155 Division St. on July 1, ending The Spot’s 14-year long residency at the location.
While Virtue is located where The Spot once was, similarities between the two establishments end there, explained Tim McCargar, Virtue general manager.
“It was decided by the new team The Spot Nightclub needed to be put to rest. Virtue is operated by a new management team,” McCargar said in an email to The Journal.
With the departure of The Spot’s previous management team in May, new management led by McCargar is emphasizing a “new vision” for the nightclub with Queen’s students as their target market in their promotional strategy.
Some nights, only students will have access to the club and there will be no cover charge. This caveat applied to the nightclub this past Thursday as advertised on their Instagram account.
With fresh management in place, McCargar highlighted changes in security, ambiance, and entertainment, which are all underpinned by a revived student-centered approach. Virtue will be installing HD surveillance tools for the safety of all clubgoers, and a mocktail menu for patrons choosing not to consume alcohol, while hiring new “hospitable” staff.
“[Virtue] strives to be Kingston’s best and most exclusive student nightclub, providing a safe environment for its customers,” McCargar said.
McCargar and his team made the decision to hire exclusively Queen’s student DJs for music curation, featuring throwback music from the ’90s and ’00s on Wednesdays, and House and Hip Hop beats on Saturdays.
McCargar acknowledged The Spot’s “mixed success,” and is tasked with establishing a positive reputation for Virtue in light of the controversial history associated with the location.
The Spot closed in Dec. 2022 after owner Jordan West found himself and the club in an online controversary after The Spot was accused of defying public health measures during COVID-19.
“The Spot’s reputation is that they would let anyone in with a bad ID. They knew they were letting in first years,” Eitan Berger, ConEd ’24, said in a statement to The Journal.
Berger recalls people “hooking up everywhere” and was offered hard drugs during a night out at The Spot. Berger has yet to visit Virtue and reported being hesitant to go to the new establishment as he still associated the nightclub with its predecessor.
“I haven’t been to Virtue. I probably wouldn’t [go] back because I still associate that place with The Spot,” Berger said.
While ambivalence about Virtue’s reputation exists amongst students, McCargar emphasized that student groups have already booked Virtue as a venue for events.
“Our mission objective is to prove to the student community that we are here to stay, and our location in the hub of Kingston should be established regardless of its previous occupants,” McCargar said.
As Virtue lights up the intersection of Brock and Division from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., McCargar hopes echoes of The Spot are replaced by a safe future for clubgoers.
“We are glad students are back in Kingston to be able to have our vision come true,” McCargar said.
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