Hey there Tech About Towners!

I’m currently training for my first half-marathon — and enjoying all the perks: blackened toenails; the all-consuming need for post-workout protein; the fanny-pack water belt.

Every weekend for the past four months, my colleague Sam Clark and I (with guest stars from the startup community) go on our long runs. We start in downtown Kitchener, track the Iron Horse beside Belmont Village, lope past the silent machinery in Uptown Waterloo and push toward the universities before meeting up with Westmount Road and heading back to the Communitech Hub.

I’ve been able to intimately trace the urban latticework of roads — and build a budding romance with small businesses I’d otherwise drive past.

(In case you were wondering, the distance between the two city cores is miniscule, three kilometres that’s far easier to run past than to drive in this current Age of LRT: The Wreckoning.)

With #dtklove and #uptownwaterloo dancing cheek to cheek, there’s a decent amount of things to do nearby that you could bus, walk or Zipcar to. So if you’re looking for something new to amuse or entertain your team that’s also in-town, I’ve gathered some of Waterloo Region’s entertainment gems beloved in the tech community. You could in theory run to all of them!

My sample size is every tech worker who’d answer on Twitter, Facebook and Slack. This is very scientific.

From team meetings to all-hands, Tech About Town’s got the four best ways in Waterloo Region to hang with your fellow office drones.

4. You want to kick back with a team meal.
Farm to table. Southern BBQ. Vegan. These restaurants have locations that can be booked for private events. They cater; and are popular for their grub:

Gilt (305 King St. W., #102, Kitchener)
The Yeti Café (14 Eby St. N., Kitchener)
The Lancaster Smokehouse (574 Lancaster St. W., Kitchener)
Ellison’s Bistro (14 Charles St. W., Kitchener)
TWH Social (1 King St. W., Kitchener)
The Berlin (45 King St. W., Kitchener)
Taco Farm (8 Erb St. W., Waterloo)
Stark and Perri (56 King St. N., Waterloo)
Bauer Kitchen (187 King St., #102, Waterloo)
Red House (30 William St. W., Waterloo)

Bonus: Want to host a food-truck fest in your office parking lot? KW Food Trucks can help you figure out what’s available and how to contact them.

3. You want to get physical, physical.
Enter a licensed axe-throwing hall to face off against your cubicle clan. You’ll be able to book BATL Axe for groups as small as six-11 or as large as 35 people.
BATL (69 Agnes St., Kitchener)

There’s now an adult option to the bouncy castle. Get a private court dodgeball game going for up to 26 players at Sky Zone Trampoline Park.
Sky Zone (150 Gateway Park Dr., Kitchener)

Or strap on an inflatable plastic suit and unleash the fury of your inner hamster with Bubble Soccer, for up to 16 players. At least one person will eat turf.
Max’s Golf (800 King St. N., Waterloo)

Does your definition of team bonding include a light, 15-kilometre trail race? The Walter Bean Grand River Trail is a free preserve for walkers, joggers, and cyclists.

While not yet open, I’ve heard great things about The Clever Archer. Played like dodgeball, archery tag has players armed with bows shoot each other with foam-tipped arrows, while screaming pithy catchphrases. One of those things is not mandatory. Up to 20 players can partake.
The Clever Archer (3 Hoffman St., Kitchener)

2. You want to flex some mental muscle.
Whether you’re at The Adventurer’s Guild Café in downtown Kitchener, or Games on Tap, or Crossroads in Waterloo, expect a bar-bistro hybrid stocked wall to wall with 700-plus games. Wait staff will even recommend and teach you new ones to ruin your relationships.
Adventurer’s Guild Café (36 Ontario St. N., Kitchener)
Games on Tap (321 Weber St. N., Waterloo)
Crossroads Board Game Café (258 King St. N., Waterloo)

Are you cool under pressure? Two-to-21 can play at Adventure Rooms, which are filled with codes, puzzles and so, so much stress for an hour-long challenge to successfully break out of a locked room. The rooms boast about a 20 per cent success rate.
Adventure Room (283 Duke St. W., Unit 101, Kitchener)

1. You want to learn about esoteric things.
Learn brewing techniques, and coffee fundamentals at Coffee School with Settlement Co. Advance your knowledge of agave with Taco Farm’s Tequila School. Or hear from whisky ambassadors at DVLB. Private bookings are available for them all.

THEMUSEUM also has a public BEER+ series that combines ale with everything from ballroom dancing to screen-printing to dinosaurs.
Settlement Co. (23 King St. No., Waterloo)
Taco Farm (8 Erb St. W., Waterloo)
Death Valley’s Little Brother (84 King St. N., Waterloo)
THEMUSEUM (10 King St. W., Kitchener)

And if I missed your ultra-cool team bonding/trust fall venue, let me know.


This week, I see and hear online that …
The University of Waterloo’s departments of English and fine arts, and the Faculty of Engineering, will host a free double bill of digital art and technology. Public walk-in hours for their Techsthetic exhibit are April 6-9, noon-5 p.m.; and for the XDM exhibit, April 9-10, noon-5pm (at 44 Gaukel St., Kitchener). On Monday, April 11, HackerNext Kitchener-Waterloo invites you to hang with other UltraSmart™ people at their next social. (412 Albert St., Unit 100, Waterloo). And if you loved the 90’s, Drunk Feminist Films presents: SPICE WORLD at the Apollo Cinema on Friday, April 22. Bring your tearaway track pants and Dep styling gel.