Nothing good ever happens after 2 am. This old saying seems to be correct concerning nightlife in Maastricht, if you believe the group of UM students who are gathered on the market on this Saturday night. The café they have visited this evening, has just closed since it is 3 am, but what to do now? “Let’s just go to the Alla”, one of them suggests in a not so exciting tone. “Not again”, another retorts and rolls his eyes, “the music is bad, the people are lame and I always leave way too much money there.” His friend definitely disagrees: “It is not that bad, the music could be better, but we have always had a lot of fun there together, no?” The group does not seem convinced and they start looking around the market square and at the cafés and bars aligning it. “Don’t even think about the Feesfebrik”, one of them warns, “we are not Dutch!” The others laugh and one of the girls reminds them that it is usually way too crowded there anyway, “you can’t even reach the bathroom, and you can’t dance either because those who do try to reach the bathrooms keep pushing you around.”
Suddenly one of the group startles: “Wait, didn’t the Meta reopen?” Unsure mumbling is the answer; nobody has seen any promotion or has been to the Meta since it closed down about a year ago for remodelling purposes. But since they are already in the area, they make their way to the other side of the plaza to the entrance of the in fact open club. At the door, the bouncers give them a peculiar glance, waving a few of them through without a comment, but then remind the latter ones “next time, better shoes please!” With this reminder, they expect a dense crowd inside, after all, why else would they try to seem exclusive? Inside however, one thing that awaits the group is a lot of free space. “It looks nice”, one comments, reminiscing about how it used to look, way back when “it was more like a pub, a lot darker and improvised!” Now, it indeed looks like a club, including a fancy lightshow and a cozy smoking area. The only thing missing are the people. The group settles at one of the tables aligning the sides of the dance floor. “It really has potential” one of them exclaims over the music, “but where are the people?” After all, Maastricht has more of a café and bar culture, and people are not used to fancy clubs like this anymore.