THE DEATH OF THE CAMPUS PUB

In Arts & Life /

By Jessica Lewis

Visit Mick E. Fynn’s on a Thursday night and it would be hard to believe that any pub near campus would be losing money. The lines at the door extend down the block. But the students all wait patiently, kind of, to get plastered amongst the royally wasted.

At the same time, campus pubs across Canada are losing money on alcohol sales. At Ryerson, with clubs and pubs all around, there plenty of places for a student to lose their money. They’re just not losing it at the Ram.

And it doesn’t seem to mind. This year, it has updated its menu with specials like $2.50 drinks on weekday afternoons, a Saturday all day breakfast menu, and Thursday pub nights. The Ram also hosts events for student groups. And above all, sales in food have gone up 48 per cent since September of last year.

But why would alcohol sales decrease if there is so much going on?

Jeff Dockeray, executive director of the Campus Hospitality Managers Association says the decrease of alcohol sales in campus pubs across Canada is due to more students being concerned with their studies, money and health. “[Campus pubs are] not beer halls anymore. We were twenty years ago, he said. “There’s a much more interactive environment in student centres and pubs now.”

Mike Verticchio, the executive director of operations and services at Ryerson, thinks it’s the loss of Grade 13 in Ontario propelling underage students into university.

“I think the stereotype that people go to university just to get wasted all year long isn’t necessarily true,” he said. “I think it is reflected in our sales. I don’t necessarily want students drinking more, I want them in the pub buying food and having a good time.”

In Verticchio’s General Manager’s Report, he says that the Ram never intended to make money, but it focuses on reducing its loss as much as it can.

“We don’t want to make money off of students,” he said. “We want to provide them with the service.”

Second-year psychology student, Andrew Power analyzes his university pub experience.

“When I think of the Ram, I think of chicken fingers and fries,” he said. “But when I think of Fynn’s, I think of being drunk.”

Fran Wdowczyk, Executive Director of the Student Life Education Co. said the alcohol commission keeps a closer eye on campus pubs.

“Off campus establishments are not as highly regulated as on-campus establishments, so they are often able to entice people with things we would never do,” she said. “Things that are illegal or unethical.”

Laurel Carter, a second-year arts and contemporary studies student, is legal now but reminisces back to the old days of being under-age.

“It’s easier for minors to drink at places that aren’t the Ram in the Rye,” she said. “The Ram is stricter, and they give you those wristbands.”

From the pub’s perspective, it’s easy to see why campus pubs try to be strict. This month Oliver’s, Carleton University’s campus pub, had it’s liquor license suspended for 40 days. They stand to lose around $42, 000.

Although Alison Blais has loyalty to her workplace, the Imperial Pub on Dundas St. she has her own opinion on where students should drink. “If I was a student at Ryerson and I wanted to go get drunk somewhere, I probably wouldn’t go to the campus pub,” she says. “I wouldn’t want all of my fellow students seeing me getting smashed.”

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