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Red Deer Reality Rant #41 - Bellinis and Longriders, End of an Era

Hello there Red Deer! I’m back for another Rant on this balmy January day. I hope that everyone had a great weekend, likely a lot of people just stayed home, as I did. But if you didn’t, it’s quite possible you went to the last dance at the locally famous nightclubs Longriders and Bellinis, both of which are now closed permanently as of Saturday, January 21. I am self described as socially backwards, so I would not be the sort of person you would see at a nightclub. However, I have attended in years past these insane establishments, so that is the focus of today’s Rant.

Let’s start with Longriders. Unless you moved to Red Deer in 2019, Longriders is forever known by it’s former name, Billy Bobs. Changing the name didn’t change anything about the reputation of this bar, and many people attended on Wednesday nights for the spectacle. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you are either a) not a horny male or b) a prudish recluse or c) not from Red Deer. When I was a bit younger I went to these events, not to participate but I had some friends who did. All I have to say about those days is that if you’re looking for attention, it’s the easiest and most effective way for a female in Red Deer to do so.

Billy Bobs was a country bar, playing predominantly country music. It was torture for me to attend as I detest the genre, but when others dragged me along the place was always packed. We usually went after first going to Bellinis, which if you don’t know is right next door in the same hotel. Bellinis played dance music, popular electronic and pop music hits. Back in the day when I attended, it was a fun time with cheap drinks and after having a few, tearing up the dance floor. I look back on those days and laugh, but the memories are generally positive.

Me Back in the Day Bellinis and Longriders in Red Deer

Bellinis and Longriders (Billy Bobs) were the last vestiges of an era for Red Deer. An era where Red Deerians, mostly young, got out of the house and partied late on weekends. It had its pros and cons. The cons were drinking too much and the consequences of that, as well as spending too much money, and sometimes meeting the wrong kind of people. Despite all of these risks, it was still a good time and social experience. Events and social activities have went by the wayside in Red Deer because many music and entertainment venues have closed permanently and no longer exist.

What is the future of entertainment in Red Deer? With so many services and products available to enjoy at home and/or have delivered to you, going out on the town is a thing of the past. This is definitely much safer for everyone, but really bad for social interaction and meeting new people. I am an introvert. But it’s a misconception that introverts hate people. I enjoy being alone, but I care about my friends. Without entertainment venues, I would not have met some of them, or had those experiences.

I believe that life is about experience. I’m not saying that we should bring back nightclubs, but we do need some kind of social entertainment. For wallflowers like me, I have had my share of negative experiences, but it’s learning and helps you grow as a person. Keeping positive memories and maintaining friendships have so much value, it outweighs the negative. Even though terrible and nightmarish things can happen, and it’s truly a risk just leaving your home, it’s better to get out and experience life than wallow in your own fears and misery by yourself. Because as everyone keeps saying, life is short. I say we should make the most of it.


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