My friend Beerdo used to be cool. So did Beachcombers at The Forks. Beyond the fact that he is sometimes called the beachcomber, Beerdo’s fortunes seem to parallel the rise and fall of the beach themed bar and grill, even to the casual observer.
Beachcombers is a casual dining experience located in the southeast corner of the Forks Market – “a favorite destination for fun, food, and beverages. It boasts not just one, but two of the city’s best outdoor patios!” The restaurant is situated directly below the 4-star Sydney’s and occupies the former Branigan’s space. The fresh theme of Beachcombers and its optimistic management got the restaurant off to a hot start as the hip downtown crowd and weekend partiers embraced the laid back atmosphere, bold colours, and anything-goes attitude of the staff. In recent years, the colours have faded, the management has become disenchanted, and the staff wear black. In a recent visit only a handful of patrons were visible and most were more interested in the beverage menu than the higher margin food menu. Beachcombers seems destined to the same fate as Branigan’s under Prairie Oyster in the late 1990’s. Perhaps the gravity of an increasingly serious world is squeezing out the 90’s era demand for the carefree atmosphere of a beach themed restaurant. Perhaps that same gravity is squeezing out demand for a beach themed guy like Beerdo.
Beerdo was at the height of the VB windsurfing boom at the start of the Millennium. Indeed, he was a pioneer member of Elk-Ida. An impressive quiver of the latest gear, a sweet beach cruiser bicycle, awesome shades, and the most fashion forward haircut around had Beerdo on top of the VB game. Women swooned when Beerdo buzzed the tower in the footstraps while the rest of the early Elk-Ida members struggled to maintain a plane. At some point (some say around the time Beachcombers discontinued the 2-4-1 Marguerita special) Beerdo began to be seen less often at VB and on the water even more seldom. As the rest of the Elk-Ida members stepped their windsurfing skills up, Beerdo’s skills no longer shone. Rumour has it he once turned down a cold beer. He even sold the VW Rabbit convertible. It was a tough time for fellow Elk-Ida members as they saw their good buddy Beerdo slip away.
On the other hand, maybe Beerdo was just chamesing with the times. Maybe he should never have been questioned. He’s all of a sudden looking pretty darn good – university degree, late model Mini, and a pretty girlfriend. He’s even earned his level 1 Windsurfing accreditation and was seen on the water more than a few times last summer. He's always at all the hottest jams. Come to think of it, maybe Beerdo never really lost it. Perhaps Beachcombers should take a long look at Beerdo and his Constant Struggle for relevance – they could use some tips.