Almost six years after the last campus bar for undergraduate students closed, a new University-operated pub is on the horizon. Planned as a place where undergraduates, graduate students and faculty can share a few drinks, the bar will be opened in the Chancellor Green Cafe next week.
But the proposed pub is only a temporary measure, meant to test the feasibility of a permanent campus bar and the possibility of serving alcohol at other University-sponsored events open to undergraduates.
"We anticipate it will be a setting which might bring faculty, staff and students together for conversation, while enjoying beer or wine, something to eat and good music," Amy Campbell, special assistant to the vice president for campus life, said in an email.
Four "pub nights" are scheduled on Friday nights from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. The first night will be April 14, with additional events planned for April 28, May 12 and May 19, depending on the approval of the Pub Committee at a meeting on Wednesday, Campbell said.
The pub will be open to members of the University community aged 21 or older, and Dining Services will provide food and drinks.
The success of these four nights could allow for a fully operational pub to open on campus in the future, committee member and U-Councilor Sandy Gibson '06 said. "The nights are to test out the possibility in a way that's a lot more effective than a survey ... to see the feasibility [and] viability of a bar."
Gibson said that each night will be themed. The first will be "opening night" and the second will focus on Hispanic culture. Bottled beer, glasses of wine and classic pub food like nachos will be served, along with themed food and drinks, Gibson said. He added that cocktails will probably be served. Prices will be determined Wednesday.
The campaign for a campus pub dates back to last spring, when Gibson and former U-Councilor Xiuhui Lim '05 approached Vice President for Campus Life Janet Dickerson. Lim was an independent student who wanted a social venue outside the eating clubs that served affordable alcohol. She organized a few wine tastings in Chancellor Green on Friday evenings last spring. USG Senator Andrea Pasinetti '08 is now working with Gibson.
So far, the University's alcohol committee has given groups permission to serve alcohol to students of age on an event-by-event basis. Beside the wine tastings, the committee also approved serving alcohol to students over 21 at an Academy Awards ceremony-watching party March 5.
In the period between 1948 and 2000, when Chancellor Green served as the student center, it housed several campus pubs that closed because of insufficient interest. In 1973, $1 pitchers of beer and $3 large pizzas with "everything" could not keep the campus pub afloat, The Daily Princetonian reported at the time.
There were discussions about selling alcohol at Frist Campus Center as it was being constructed, but concerns about alcohol abuse, public drinking and age requirements discouraged officials from seriously pursuing the possibility, former Frist director Paul Breitman told the 'Prince' in 2001.
The new pub
Though access to the campus pub is limited to members of the University community over the age of 21, the pub is meant to be a place where undergraduates can interact with graduate students and faculty members in a social atmosphere, as well as providing an alternative to the eating clubs.
"The Street, by nature, is fairly divided," Gibson said, but the campus pub "is a place for everyone on campus to interact and to meet new people who they wouldn't meet without going to a different club."
USG Vice President Rob Biederman '08 said, "From my perspective, the campus bar will create rich and new interactions between faculty, staff, grad students and, most especially, of-age undergrads."
By planning the pub nights for Fridays, the committee hopes to maximize interest from students and faculty.
Thursday and Saturday are the nights undergraduates typically go to room parties, special events and eating clubs, Gibson added, making them more available to frequent the pub on Fridays.
At the same time, faculty and graduate students would generally choose to go out on Fridays and Saturdays. "Having the bar open on Fridays will allow for a diverse group of people from campus to come," he said.
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