Pub to Provide Students with Social Space and Alcoholic Beverages

Following discussions last semester surrounding ways to create more social spaces on campus, a currently-unnamed pub will open on Sept. 13 in the Schwemm’s and Grab-N-Go space.

On weekday nights, it will continue to serve late-night food, but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the space will be converted into a pub that will serve food, alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages. Although students who are under 21 will be allowed in to the pub, only students who are of legal drinking age will be able to purchase alcohol from a bar run by TIPS-certified bartenders, according to Director of Dining Services Joe Flueckiger.

This summer, Flueckiger revamped the current Schwemm’s menu to include more pub-style food. “We’ve come up with a new menu that really is just pub food,” he said. “We’ll still have fries and chicken tenders and stuff like that, but we’ll also probably have pulled pork sandwiches, tacos and more pub food.”

The pub will also serve a variety of locally-brewed beers and a selection of wines. “We’ll have a couple of beers on tap that will be from local microbreweries, and we’ll have bottled beverages from a variety of different brewhouses,” Flueckiger said. “Wine will probably be your standard merlot, shiraz, cabernet, chardonnay, that kind of thing.”

Non-alcoholic drinks like kombucha, coffee, tea, soda and non-alcoholic beer will also be available for purchase by students.

Although the pub will still occupy a space that many students are familiar with, a new floor has been added throughout the space and new furniture will decorate the area.

“It’s a relaxed, slightly rustic look” Flueckiger said. “I think people are going to like it. It’s got a hip look to it.”

The creation of the pub follows conversations during the 2018 spring semester around party policy and social life on campus.

Director of Student Activities Paul Gallegos, who worked with Flueckiger to design the pub, hopes that it will provide another choice for students on weekend nights.

“In no way is it a panacea for the discussions and issues that were brought up last year, but I think these are efforts towards more opportunities for students to feel like they have social options on campus,” Gallegos said.

On-campus pubs are not unusual at liberal arts colleges. Hamilton, Bowdoin and Dartmouth, among others, all have spaces on campus that serve alcoholic beverages, according to Flueckiger and Gallegos.

“A lot of schools pulled away from having alcohol on campus, and then they have gone back to it because they see the value in keeping students on campus and providing a space where, hopefully, people can drink responsibly,” Flueckiger said.

Last semester, students were asked for feedback on the appearance of the space and were encouraged to submit ideas. Gallegos and Flueckiger hope that student involvement will continue in opportunities for name suggestions and wall art.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to solicit more student artists submissions, so we have another space on campus to showcase all the great artists we have at Amherst,” Gallegos said.

Later this semester, they will ask students for suggestions on the name of the new space.

“It will have to incorporate ‘Schwemm’s,’” Gallegos said, “but if we can put a spin on it that feels like the student’s own creation, that’s kind of what we’re hoping for over the course of the next semester.”

During the day, the space will still serve Grab-N-Go, but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights it will transition into the pub space with a counter and stools that fit into the Grab-N-Go alcove.

Flueckiger and Gallegos hope that in the future the pub will become a place where students can host events and steward the direction of the space.

“We would love to see it become a place where people get excited about Thursday nights or Friday nights and where they’re looking forward to events and they’re making suggestions about things that we can do there,” Flueckiger said. “We would love students to be a really critical part in creating a fun atmosphere and have a sense of ownership.”