Bar owner tries to extend Unofficial by one more day

By Stephanie Gomes

The founder of Unofficial St. Patrick’s day and local bar owner, Scott Cochrane, is promoting Unofficial 2008 as a two-day event, for both Friday and Saturday.

Cochrane, who was not available to comment on his decision, owns several campus bars including The Clybourne, Firehaus and C.O. Daniels, which will welcome Unofficial celebrations on Saturday.

Not every campus bar is following Cochrane’s lead with a second day of green.

Kam’s Bar will operate in the same way as it does every weekend but with a larger security staff, said Eric Meyer, manager of Kam’s. The bar is not planning on Unofficial being a two-day event.

“We’re not opening our doors until after the start of the Iowa game Saturday,” he said. “(Cochrane’s) bars are the only bars that are attempting to open early.”

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Meyer added that he has no interest in making the event two days.

“I’ve been asked by the mayor and the chancellor to tone this event down,” he said. “We’re respecting those wishes.”

Transforming Unofficial into two days exploits the event, and there is no reason to further grow it, Meyer said.

“We want to have a very safe Unofficial day,” he said.

Kam’s is operating on a ‘no-tolerance’ policy and will not allow (visibly) intoxicated students into the business, Meyer said. The bar will also assist overly intoxicated students home.

“Our staff will be prepared,” he said.

Armando Acosta, assistant general manager of Brother’s Bar and Grill, said the business is not expecting Unofficial celebrations to occur on Saturday.

“We are just promoting this event for Friday,” he said.

Making Unofficial a two-day event encourages over-intoxication, Acosta added.

The bar will be in compliance with the emergency order from the city of Champaign, including having 21-year-olds working the door.

Bill Riley, chairman of the Champaign Liquor Advisory Commission, said he has had some conversations with Cochrane about Unofficial.

“He is marketing an opportunity to bring people to his establishments,” he said.

Riley added that making Unofficial a two-day event increases the number of criminal offenses.

Jon Doyle, president of Irish Illini on campus, said the organization does not plan to celebrate Unofficial as a two-day event either.

“We are just celebrating Friday,” Doyle said.

Irish Illini will begin their celebrations at Joe’s Brewery where the Irish dance group, IDentity, will perform, he added.

“I don’t see Saturday happening,” he said. “One day is enough.”