University awaiting state license to move forward with plans for campus pub
Plans for the construction of a campus pub, likely to be located in Cafe Vivian in the Frist Campus Center, are on hold. The Campus Center Association is currently waiting for a license of approval from the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, according to University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua.
In May 2011, the Working Group on Campus Social and Residential Life recommended the return of the campus pub, which had been located in the cafe area of Chancellor Green until 1982, when New Jersey raised the drinking age to 21. Last semester, a steering committee was formed to consider implementation of this recommendation.
Mbugua said the steering committee’s work is now done, after having recommended Cafe Viv as the ideal site for the pub. The CCA is currently in charge of holding the pub license and overseeing the pub’s operations once it is created.
However, Graduate Student Government president Chad Maisel GS, also a member of the CCA, said the CCA and the steering committee are still meeting concurrently to discuss the progress of the pub.
The CCA continues to consider the space in Cafe Viv as the future location of the pub because of its central location. Once the pub begins operating, Cafe Viv will continue its current function during the daytime until the pub opens later in the day, under this model.
The steering committee was led by executive director for campus services and planning in the Office of the Vice President for University Services Amy Campbell and also included representatives of the Department of Public Safety, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, Dining Services, the Office of the General Counsel, Community and Regional Affairs, Frist Campus Center, the graduate school and various events and scheduling offices.
Brendan Bertagnoll ’13 and molecular biology student Daniell Rowles GS also served on the steering committee.
When contacted in October, members of the committee deferred to Mbugua for all comments. Rowles indicated updates on the status of the campus pub would be presented at a public meeting of the CCA in November.
The CCA held a public meeting on Nov. 6, election day, to discuss the progress of the pub. Mbugua said the next CCA meeting regarding the pub will be held in the spring.
Since that meeting, there have been no significant developments. Mbugua said the process of obtaining approval from the state began before this academic year, though he declined to provide a specific date for when approval could be granted. Until approval is received, the CCA will not continue moving forward with the campus pub project.
“We cannot point to a specific time that the pub will open,” Mbugua said. “That would depend on the schedule following the approval and renovation processes.”
University Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee ’69 told The Daily Princetonian in March the uncertain timetable of the construction process could also delay the creation of the pub.
According to Mbugua, the necessary renovations will be made to Cafe Viv at a time when they will be least disruptive to students spending time in Frist.
Mbugua said he was confident the pub would receive adequate funding. He declined to name a specific source of funding or to state exactly how much money would be necessary for the project.
“When the project goes to the next level, there will be funding, just as similar projects like renovations or upgrades would be included in the University’s budget," Mbugua said.
Maisel said, while he does not know when the campus pub will be complete, he looks forward to its completion because he believes it will unite the University community.
"I think as grad students we are always looking for more opportunities to be integrated into overall campus life," Maisel said. “We work with students in precepts and sometimes in clubs, but there aren't that many opportunities to work with undergraduates, staff and faculty in a common campus space. The pub would facilitate more interactions."
Correction: Due to editing errors, a previous version of this article incorrectly stated the status of the campus pub's state license. The application was submitted before the start of this school year, but University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua declined to provide an anticipated date for approval. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Nov. 6 campus pub meeting was not open to the public. In fact, the meeting was open to the public. The 'Prince' regrets the errors.