Senior Kari McGlynn thinks he has identified the major failing of the campus pub.

The people old enough to drink are predominantly seniors, but seniors don’t want to hang out at an on-campus bar.

“If you’re old enough to drink, old enough to hang out at a bar, that’s your ticket off campus,” said McGlynn, the DJ for Who is Johnny Flavorjeans?, a band that played at the pub’s opening. “We’ve been hanging out in Wilson Commons for three years, and now we’re kind of tired of it.”

McGlynn is just one student who is less than enchanted with the pub for which students and some administrators passionately lobbied for four years. After all that work, one might expect the venue to pack the customers in, but after one month of operation, the Hive seems to be struggling.

When there’s entertainment, such as last Thursday’s improv show or Friday’s salsa lessons, the pub draws a considerable crowd. But walk into the place on a random Wednesday or Sunday night and you’ll see five people, munching on chips and silently watching The Simpsons.

“We’ve had really good nights and we’ve had bad nights,” junior and Pub Committee co-chair Lonny Mallach said.

Mallach thinks the pub hasn’t been open long enough to get institutionalized in people’s minds. Once people realize they can hang out there, he says, the pub will slowly achieve success. But plenty of students have already formulated strong opinions about the Hive – and not all of them are good.

The most frequent complaint is that drinks are too expensive. At $2.75 and $3.75 for a 14-ounce cup, the price of beer displeases most potential pub patrons.

“The beer is way too expensive. It’s one of the most expensive bars there is,” senior Dan Carvell said.

“The prices definitely aren’t competitive,” senior Justyna Witczak said.

“People are very turned off by the price of beer,” junior Sam Haddad agreed.

“It’s expensive for the amount of beer that you get,” McGlynn said. “I wouldn’t mind drinking there except for that.”

The irony here is that pub planners didn’t intend it to be a place to get drunk. The Hive was supposed to be a venue where people could simply get together over a beer and enjoy hanging out on campus. But students say the pub’s only attraction is alcohol ? and it fails in that respect.

“It would be much more of an appeal if I could drink. You could just drink water and watch TV down here [in the coffeehouse],” sophomore Sean Barnes said.

Like McGlynn, even those over 21 don’t want to drink at the pub.

“If I want to drink, I’d go off campus. It’s not the right atmosphere for a night of alcohol,” senior John Nicewinter said.

“You’re still on campus and the whole point of going to a bar is to get off campus,” senior Michelle Melnick said.

Pub manager Mike Craig, a 2000 graduate of UR, admits that the pub’s emptiness is related to alcohol.

“It’s because three-fourths of the school can’t drink beer,” he said.

Some people have a problem with the physical atmosphere itself. Granted, many like the pool tables and large-screen TV. UR memorabilia will soon appear in the glass cases lining the wall. But in the meantime, many think the pub is sterile and uncomfortable. They recommend couches, softer chairs, wine glasses and darker lighting.

“It definitely still looks like the rec room. They should make it look more like a bar,” Barnes said.

“It’s too academic of an interior design,” Witczak said. “It’s not a very friendly atmosphere ? it’s square.”

“The essence of someplace cool is that you find it yourself ? it’s not manufactured by the administration,” McGlynn said.

And the Hive doesn’t exactly have a bar atmosphere. Sometimes, it’s the alternative to Rush Rhees.

“If you want to get work done, it’s usually quiet,” freshman Chaitra Gokul said. “Some people even hold review sessions there.”

In a way, the pub attendance problem is a catch-22. People don’t want to go because it’s so empty.

“I would go if it were more crowded,” senior Dan Carvell said. “No one goes because no one else does.”

It’s a collective action problem of sorts. If everyone went, it would become a cooler place to hang out. McGlynn thinks the pub needs some more time.

“It’s still got this kind of sanitized air about it, but you can’t create culture and atmosphere in a day,” he said. “It’s something that has to be built gradually.”

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