After two years of planning and false starts, the Bear’s Den –– an on-campus pub on the third floor of Willard Straight Hall that will be available to all students –– will open full-time on Sept. 5.
Plans for the pub began in Fall 2010 after a Student Assembly report found a need for late-night venues on campus.
“Changes to the Greek system, including greater regulation of fraternity parties, has underscored this need” for increased late-night programming, Susan Murphy ’73, vice president for student and academic services, told The Sun in October 2011.
However, the Bear’s Den’s full opening was met with a number of delays, as the pub struggled to obtain a liquor license from New York State.
But the Bear’s Den’s application was finally processed this summer, according to Rob Callahan ’14, pub director of the Student Union Board.
“There are very specific requirements [to get a liquor license],” he said. “There was a lot of red tape … but we’re excited it finally worked out.”
Callahan said the pub’s opening night, which falls on a Wednesday, will feature a Cornell trivia session hosted by Corey Ryan Earle ’07, associate director of student programs in the Office of Alumni Affairs. Earle also teaches a one-credit course on the history of the University.
The rest of the Bear’s Den’s opening weekend will be filled with promotional events, including raffles and giveaways, Callahan said.
The pub will be open from Wednesday to Saturday, Callahan said. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, it will be open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; on Fridays, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and on Saturdays, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
After the first weekend, the Bear’s Den has few events slated, though organizers hope to host activities suggested by a broad range of student organizations. While every Wednesday night will be trivia night, Callahan said he hopes to bring live music, a cappella groups and a variety of entertainers to the pub on other nights.
“We’re really building it as we go,” Callahan said.
Callahan said the pub is the result of student collaboration to improve programming on campus.
“[The Bear’s Den] is a testament to the fact that we as students can make a concrete difference” Callahan said.
Kent Hubbell ’69, dean of students, said the pub will serve as a way to bring a large number of students together.
“I think it’s great to have a venue where all students can gather and enjoy each others’ company,” Hubbell said Saturday in an interview with The Sun. “You don’t have that dividing line between those who are of age and those who are not.”
Callahan agreed, saying that the pub will provide a safe environment for both people of age and people under 21 to socialize.
“It’s a lot safer than a bar where under-21’s can run into trouble. I think students will realize that and be interested in what we’re offering,” he said.
But some students questioned whether the pub will prove as popular as organizers hope.
“I think the Collegetown party scene is so set that people [under 21] wouldn’t go to the pub,” said Priya Nambiar ’14. “They wouldn’t go to a place where they couldn’t drink.”
Andrew Ebanks ’13 said that the restriction of alcohol at the pub will discourage students under 21 from visiting it.
“It seems unlikely [people under 21 would go] since it has the aura of Cornell around it,” he said. “Unlike bars in Collegetown, people [under 21] can’t try to sneak in and drink.”
Still, Ebanks, who is 21, said he is interested in seeing what the Bear’s Den has to offer.
“Given the amount of bars in Collegetown dropping off, if this pub can offer something the Collegetown bars don’t, I’d be curious to check it out,” he said.