A look behind the scenes of Last Resort

The exclusive college bar brings students and LR staff together on the famous ‘Thirsty Thursday’


Courtesy of Last Resort

The Last Resort includes both an indoor bar and nightclub dance floor, and an outdoor “tiki bar” and patio.

Elisabeth Rollins, Contributing Writer

Boom. Boom. Boom. You feel the bass rattling the second you step out of the Uber and you are immediately greeted by the muffled sound of “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame playing from inside the bar. You push through the crowd of excited college students and get in line. Before you know it, you’re at the front and it’s your turn to pay the cover; you hand the bouncer $20 as he draws a large X on each of your hands. After making it through the packed crowd of people on the patio—and taking a quintessential photo in the giant Last Resort chair—you make your way into the bar. You watch as someone grabs a $5 Truly fishbowl and then you’re off to the dance floor. You make your way toward the iconic cage and get ready for the perfect Thirsty Thursday.

Let’s face it, you’ve likely had an experience like this, and, if you haven’t, chances are you know someone who has. Whether you’re a freshman or you’ve been at Wake Forest for years, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone unfamiliar with the Thursday night hot spot. Last Resort, lovingly nicknamed LR by many Wake Forest students, is an eighteen-plus bar located only seven minutes from Reynolda Campus. 

We’re exclusive, we’re your bar. We’re the bar for the Deacs.

— Last Resort owner Kyle Agha

“We’re exclusive, we’re your bar. We’re the bar for the Deacs,” said Kyle Agha, one of LR’s two owners. 

First opened in 2010, the bar has been popular with Wake Forest students for the past twelve years. Despite being located on Wake Forest-owned property, the bar is operated by owners Agha and Kenneth Tucker. To ensure the safety, fun and comfort of students, the bar is limited to only Wake students, especially on Thursday nights. More than that, having the bar be filled with only Wake students allows the staff to form bonds with the Wake Forest community. 

“Whenever the Wake kids come in, they have fun with us, we have fun with them,” bartender Joe V said. 

Since Last Resort is an 18+ college bar, the crowd is different from what many bartenders are used to. 

“With a college crowd, they don’t come to see me, you know, they come to hang out with each other,” bartender Nicole C said. Despite this, the staff and students still form strong bonds that sometimes last decades. 

“This year I’ve had two or three couples that have said ‘hey, we met at Last Resort, we got married this weekend, thanks for the introduction,’” Agha said.

Joe and Nicole have been working together at the bar since it opened, and when asked why they’ve stayed, their answer came effortlessly. 

“The biggest thing that’s fortunate for us is that everybody who’s been here has been here for a long time, and we all enjoy working together—we’re all like a team, we’re all like a family,” said Nicole. 

For Joe, the appeal of LR is simple, “You can come out, have fun and be in college.”

Forming relationships with students is important to the bar, and they have created a myriad of traditions aimed at fostering special experiences that students will hold with them long after they graduate. 

“Knowing that you’re going to be here at homecoming after you graduate, ‘oh, this is where I used to hang out,’” Agha said. “These are memories that you guys will keep forever.”

One such tradition takes place once a year for a select group of seniors. Above the Last Resort bar is a balcony overlooking the dance floor. Similarly to how graduating seniors will sign their names in the Wait Chapel bell tower, select students can sign their names on the LR ceiling. 

“The last Thursday before graduation in May is the only time we take select people up there and they sign their names [and] put their years,” Agha said.

Co-owner Kyle Agha (left) stands behind a wall of fake identification cards that reads, ‘how good is your fake ID?’ (Courtesy of Last Resort)

Another way the bar and staff get involved with the Wake Forest community and student body is by hosting events and fundraisers.

“We’ve helped with a lot of events, as far as different sororities that want to sell pizza, or Wake’N’Shake,” said Kyle, “I think we’ve raised somewhere, since 2010, between $30,000 and $35,000 for all the groups that have come through to do things.”

Despite being open on game days, Last Resort is synonymous with Thursday nights in the minds of many students. The bar has always hosted college nights on Thursdays, but it was not until the last six years that “lrsday” (pronounced lurs-day) was born.

“It was a group of students, I think around 2015 or 2016 that started ‘lrsday,’ so that came from the students,” said Kyle. 

Last Resort is also known for its scary bouncers. They view this description as inaccurate. 

“People think we’re scary, I don’t know why,” said bouncer David. “If you’re not doing anything, I’m fine with you.” 

Bouncer Joey agreed, “It’s so loud back there, the only reason we’re yelling is because you can’t hear us if we don’t.”

 More than policing, the bouncers are often in charge of guaranteeing that students get home safely. 

“That’s mostly what we do, just making sure everyone is safe,” said David. For Last Resort, the safety of the students there is their first priority. “We’ll see students try to walk home and we’re like ‘y’all don’t need to walk home, let us get y’all an Uber and we’ll pay,’” Agha said.

The staff at LR puts a lot into creating the perfect Thursday night environment for students, and many appreciate it. 

“It’s a place you can go and catch up with people. As an upperclassman, it’s nice to see everyone and interact with them outside of the classroom or a Greek Life setting,” senior Angela Waszkiewicz said.

Junior Abby Gardner agrees, “I love LR because I get to see my friends from all different campus organizations.”

For Agha, his hope for Wake students coming to LR is simple; he wanted to create an environment where every student felt welcome, “hopefully they feel safe, have fun, and call it their own.”