The rush began around 10:30 p.m. A steady stream of customers had been in and out of the Hive since its 5 p.m. opening, but by peak hours all the tables were full, a crowd danced in front of the band, people lined the perimeter of the venue and the only way to talk was by shouting.

“There were many, many students and some faculty who stopped by on their way out to say how much they appreciate the pub and what a good time they had, and that’s exactly what we were hoping for,” Director of Dining Services Bill Myers said.

According to raffle tickets handed out at the door, about 950 people showed up for the Thursday inauguration. But the Hive’s opening night success did not extend throughout the rest of the weekend. Friday’s crowd was much sparser, Saturday the pub was closed for the Masquerade Ball and on Super Bowl Sunday, the party was elsewhere.

Last night also saw a dismal showing, with no more than four or five people in the pub at once.

“It’s going to take some time for the pub to work itself into the collective consciousness ? for people to say, ‘Oh gee, I could be going to the Hive,'” said Pub Committee co-chair Rob Rouzer, who is director of student activities and Wilson Commons.

If opening night’s turnout was any indication of future success, that may not take too long. On Thursday, 110 people came through the door in the first 20 minutes, junior and committee co-chair Lonny Mallach said.

“I wasn’t expecting all these people to come right at 5,” an overwhelmed Mallach said at about 6 p.m.

Administrators dressed in suits and ties jovially played pool and socialized with students. Regional Manager of Aramark Paul Palmer took pictures with his digital camera. Campus bands Who is Johnny Flavorjeans? and Energy 7 performed. The Trustees’ Alumni Council of the College bought free pizza for everyone. Yellow and blue balloons decorated the chairs. The committee gave away popcorn and prizes such as commemorative opening night glasses, hot dogs, hats and T-shirts.

The pub exceeded most students’ expectations.

“It’s better than I thought it would be,” junior Dave Dziedzic said. “I would come here on weekends before I go out.”

“This is perfect. This is exactly what we wanted,” sophomore Josh Fink said. “It brings the students back to having fun on campus.”

“I’m impressed. It’s a lot better than I expected,” sophomore Jen Hayes said. “It’s great for getting together with friends on campus when you don’t want to go out.”

“I like the lighting and the music’s good,” freshman Sameer Naik said. “It’s a really cool place to hang out.”

The biggest complaint was about having to pay for alcohol with cash.

“It would definitely be nice to have some sort of system to pay for alcohol with your ID card,” junior Seth Baum said.

“We should be able to pay for beer with declining and Flex,” senior Alec Shtromandel said. Shtromandel also noted that the pub serves no “normal” beers, such as Heineken or Guinness.

Other suggestions for the pub were sofas and a Foosball table.

So far, the most popular beer at the Hive is Honey Brown, with Old Speckled Hen coming in second, according to pub manager Mike Craig, a 2001 graduate of UR.

The pub’s music, which is chosen by the student working at the desk, has varied from jazz to alternative to hip-hop. VH1 usually plays on the large-screen television. The committee’s goal is to cater to diverse interests.

“Our plan is to be as varied an atmosphere as possible because we’re catering to the whole campus and we’re only one venue,” Mallach said.

Live entertainment, which will include bands, comedians and karaoke, promises to draw patrons to the pub.

“We saw quite a population change when the bands started playing [on opening night],” Myers said. “One band would come, and a whole crowd of people would come with them, and then the band would leave and all the people would leave. Then the next band would come and bring another crowd with them.”

“The key to making the pub succeed is to keep creative control in the customers’ hands,” Baum said. “It’s a good start, but we need to retain control of the food cost and entertainment. Keep it student-run ? that’s they key to not having a sterile place and making sure it never goes south.”

So far, there have been a couple of minor problems. One person was kicked out for buying alcohol for an underage student. Another was kicked out for drunkenness. Both people left quietly. A third person brought alcohol to the pub and was asked to throw it away.

“It’s illegal to bring your own beverages in,” Rouzer said. “If you brought alcohol into the Elmwood Inn, you would expect to get kicked out. But people did that Thursday night.”

In addition to pub committee administrators, a few professors showed up for the opening, including Dean of the College William Green and Associate Professor of Political Science Gerald Gamm.

“I can see going there once a week to meet an advisee or a student,” Gamm said.

However, Gamm said, the pub’s hours ? 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. ? may deter faculty who leave campus after their classes end.

“In terms of getting faculty there, I think it would help a lot if the pub opened an hour earlier,” he said.

It will take time to see if the Hive is a success. This weekend’s poor showing may have been due to factors such as the Masquerade Ball, the Super Bowl and poor advertising. But students overwhelmingly say they enjoy the ambience, and the pub shows promise to add to student life.

“My worst fear for the Hive is that it will be successful in that a lot of people will come, but that it will fail financially because no one is buying food and drinks,” Rouzer said. “But in the grand scheme of things, that’s okay.”

“It’s not even the alcohol,” Baum said. “There’s a lot of students under 21 here. It’s the atmosphere.”

Le can be reached at cle@campustimes.org.



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