The Editorial Board is an independent body and decides its opinions separately from the regular staff and editors of The Daily Princetonian. The Board answers only to its Co-Chairs, the Opinion Editor, and the Editor-in-Chief. It can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For far too long Princeton has been without its old watering hole, the campus pub. From 1973 through 1983, Princeton faculty and students commonly converged on the campus pub to socialize over a cold brew after a long day of class. Sadly, the campus pub’s run ended in 1984 when the University shut it down after New Jersey raised the legal drinking age to 21. Thirty years after the pub served its last drink, the conversation to bring back the campus pub began.
In 2010, the Working Group on Campus Social and Residential Life, a task force composed of undergraduates, faculty members, and various staff of the University including Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee ’69, was asked to investigate whether the University should reintroduce the campus pub. This task force unanimously recommended the campus pub be reestablished. Shortly after, a steering committee was formed, and in November 2012, the University sought a license from the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control for the project.
Nearly five years have passed with no further developments. During this time, the Editorial Board has continually supported the proposition of bringing back the campus pub and, as recently as two years ago, offered advice on reestablishing the pub. In light of the extended lull in conversation and the absence of further action, the Board feels it necessary to reaffirm our support for bringing back the campus pub.
We believe the campus pub should return to its original location where Chancellor Green Café now operates. This location is central enough on campus to accommodate all students, faculty, and staff while being far enough from the Street to discourage patrons from abusing the pub. The pub and café would operate at different times of the day, allowing for the cafe to maintain its usual operations. The pub would operate from 5 p.m. until around midnight while the café would maintain its current hours during the week, staying open until 4:30 p.m. at the latest. In order to accommodate the new dual role of the space and to create a pub-like atmosphere, a few minor renovations would need to occur to achieve the appropriate wood-paneled taproom feel.
A campus pub would bring many social benefits to the campus community and greatly aid in building a healthy atmosphere of academic discourse. The University is a community of scholars who crave intellectual engagement and can only engage with one another through personal interaction. A campus pub would provide the perfect venue for the University community to interact with one another over the shared experience of consuming refreshing drinks and delicious food. To remain inclusive to those under 21 and fulfill its purpose of fostering a sense of community, the campus pub would serve non-alcoholic beverages and pub food, along with alcoholic beverages for those over 21. Furthermore, a campus pub would provide graduate students with an additional social opportunity that would allow them to interact more with the campus as a whole, specifically undergraduates. An improved dialogue between the graduate college and the undergraduate student body would allow undergraduates to discuss career or academic issues with graduate students, helping bridge the divide between the two groups.
Opening the pub during the café’s off hours would restrict student groups’ ability to reserve the space. But there is a surplus of places on campus that students can reserve, and we believe the café would be better utilized if it were transformed into a pub that the entirety of the campus, rather than just a few, would be able to enjoy.
There are also worries that some students may abuse the pub by using it as a place to pregame or practice unsafe drinking behavior. In order to minimize possible abuse, the campus pub would be staffed by professional bartenders who would have the prerogative to stop serving overly intoxicated individuals. If the situation escalated after a patron was cut off from drinks, the pub would have a Public Safety officer positioned at its entrance to deal with any further rowdy behavior that occurred. The presence of Public Safety officers and the judgement of trained bartenders will effectively protect the friendly and social atmosphere of the pub in the unlikely event that people attempt to utilize the pub in a manner not conducive to community building.
With these checks in place, the campus pub would foster an environment modeling the responsible use of alcohol and, as a result, offer a healthy alternative to the high-risk drinking that occurs at pregames and on Prospect Avenue. As a place where all members of the campus community could come together to socialize and where the responsible consumption of alcohol is practiced, the campus pub would be a great addition to the University.
We hope the University will begin to take the necessary actions to make the campus pub a reality so we won’t have to write this editorial again in another two years.
Megan Armstrong ’19 abstained from the writing of this editorial.