Bar transitions a University rite of passage
August 27, 2018
Who would’ve thought news that broke three weeks ago could create such a divisive campus debate? On Aug. 10 it was announced that two of the main student bars, The Clybourne and Firehaus, would close their doors after Labor Day weekend.
This news came as especially disheartening because it broke just days after KAM’s, a family-run bar that built its reputation over 30 years, was being bought out by none other than Scott Cochrane. For many, including those who worked for these establishments, this came as a huge shock. Although some may argue another Cochrane bar, The Red Lion, is considered the most popular bar on campus, there’s no denying The Clybourne — endearingly nicknamed Cly’s by its fanbase — hosts bar battles and Wine Nights whose attendance challenges other bars’.
The glory of campus nightlife is held in bars whose entrance age is 19. Although you’d expect there to be little to no difference in personality within them, each is unique in ways other than drink deals. People have their favorite, whether it’s because of the DJs hired, friends who work there, themed nights or lack of stench. Because of these personalities, seasoned bar-goers know exactly who they’ll run into and the tone of the night before they leave their homes.
Although there’s a real fear of the University transitioning from a bar school to a house party school, the brunt of student discontent with this closure stems from insecurity around change. Are we equipped to make this transition? Where will all our friends work after they’re displaced?
These are all important questions, but I urge you to remember why these bars are successful in the first place. Yes, they have a 19 entrance age and hopefully always will, but, no matter how our social environment changes, our strong Greek life and long-standing reputation to master rigorous academics with a party hard attitude is what really makes this University.
Cochrane has given us plenty of opportunities to have a good time for years now, and we can only hope he has our best interest at heart as he decides what to do with this space. And while I’d like to reassure you that I know he’ll make the right choice, I have more confidence in our student body.
Although inconvenient for us, generations of students before have had to adapt to abrupt transitions. Ever hear an alumni talk about C.O. Daniel’s? This paradigm shift is simply a University rite of passage, and it’s up to us to uphold our balanced reputation.
Jamie is a junior in Media.