There was a point in time where Tequila was the hotspot and brought a fresh dance club atmosphere to Saskatoon. But eventually the hype died and the owners were left in a make-or-break situation.
While most business owners would keep a rough patch like this to themselves, CEO Bryan “Chunk” Pawlachuk and President Simon Papadapoulos decided to have themselves filmed for a six part television series titled Nightclub Confidential, airing on City Saskatchewan.
“About a year and a half into Tequila, Tony [Hrynchuk] from Fahrenheit Films was in town and we told him to come down. He decided to shadow us for a night and then comes back two months later telling us he sold a show,” said Simon.
As it happened it wasn’t really the first idea for the show to be about the resurrection of Tequila, but rather to get a glimpse behind the scenes with the two dramatic individuals who run the business. However, at the time the bar was facing large financial losses and looking for something to bring back the business they once had.
With the pilot episode of the show, a small glimpse is given into how they plan to implement changes, the majority of which were brought to the table by newly hired General Manager, Blair Anton.
A large portion of the episode lays out the groundwork for the drama that is bound to ensue over the series, with Blair seeing that, even with big shows from renowned DJ’s like Steve Aoki, the club is losing money due to poor liquor sales.
Blair sees the remedy for this being a complete style change, shifting towards a more country-rock styled bar, a commonplace theme in Saskatoon. Simon and Chunk however, believe this would take away the unique aspects of their club, which strives to emulate a Las Vegas-styled VIP bar that focuses on DJ-centric electronic music a energetic lounge and bottle service.
“The issue with a club like this… that we have found is that it’s very high maintenance. Everything has got to be set up perfectly — the smallest thing can set a customer off because they expect everything to be perfect when they come in,” Chunk said.
“You look at places down the street and really, as long as they have booze and their staff’s there then they’re ready to rock,” Simon chimed in.
While the owners express their concern for such dramatic change, a view is also given into the night-to-night life of running a club like Tequila. One of the key moments is during the chaos of the Aoki concert, where head bouncer Mitch Gauvin has to physically remove a violently drunk patron. Things only escalate from here as Simon has to keep track of two more unruly customers, finding himself defenseless in the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology parking lot.
Living in Saskatoon, it’s tough to imagine what a T.V. show centered around Tequila would even be like. But once you start watching, it’s pretty easy to buy into the drama.
The show has high production values and the first episode is able to find a good balance between it’s three separate aspects: the owners private life, the direction the bar is heading and the nightly chaos.
Chunk and Simon are two animated and compelling individuals who bring a lot of life to the show. More than anything you want them to succeed as individuals, not just because it’s a local business.
Surprisingly, for reality T.V., the show has a very authentic feel which adds to the entertainment. Nobody is playing it up for the cameras; this is just a glimpse into life at Tequila.
Nightclub Confidential premiers Oct. 23 on City Saskatchewan at 10 p.m.
Photo: Supplied by Tequila