Editorial | Don’t wine about it

With The Clybourne and Firehaus closing Sept. 4, the number of University bars is dwindling. But don’t worry, we still have plenty of spots that can make up for the loss.

Campustown is in the midst of a possible cultural shift, the likes of which the University has not seen in years. At the moment, four campus bars are either closing, reopening or going through changes in management.

Some of these bars attract hundreds of students with weekly specials. Others are staples for alumni and locals. Wednesday Night Karaoke and Tuesday Night half-priced Sharkbowls were Firehaus’ main points of attraction, while Cly’s had Tuesday Wine Night. All of these events saw good turnout, especially with Karaoke and Wine Night — so much that these turnouts rivaled The Red Lion in some instances.

But at the same time, these events were the only times Cly’s and Firehaus were more or less packed. Every other day for these bars just didn’t compare to the other party bars on campus.

Campustown consists of three party bars, not including Cly’s: Joe’s Brewery, The Red Lion and KAM’s. Brothers is really in its own category, and the three sports bars — Legends, Murphy’s and the newly remodeled Illini Inn — round the total count to seven bars, all within walking distance here on campus.

Students at the University are fortunate to have an above average bar scene, so we shouldn’t be too disappointed about the upcoming changes. Along with the handful of options and atmospheres, campus bar age policies help make going out even better for students who are 19 and older.

Neighboring schools such as Purdue University, Illinois State University and Indiana University have dealt with 21 and up policies for years. The University of Iowa has a good selection of bars that students can enter at 18, but those under 21 have to leave by 10 p.m.

But for us, the bar policy is actually an oddity among other schools. We are one of the only campuses that allow 19-year-olds to get in and stay until closing.

Being able to experience the bar scene by the second half of your freshman year here seems normal, because it is. But when you put this in perspective, most undergraduates elsewhere won’t get that experience until they’re well into their junior year.

This changes the culture so much between us and other universities. While other schools resort to apartment and house parties for those under 21, we have the option to decide between them at the age of 19.

It’s disappointing to see two more bars join the graveyard that is White Horse and C.O. Daniels, but we need to be grateful for the unique bar scene that remains.