B Henry’s faces an uphill struggle

Facebook wants to know: do you want to join the group ‘Relaunching B Henry’s as a live acoustic venue’? I ponder for a second as I have no clue what B Henry’s is, but upon seeing that a substantial number of my friends have joined I duly accept the invitation and then promptly forget about it.

As I discovered a few days later, B Henry’s is actually the Alcuin College bar and not quite the achingly hip secret underground venue I’d hoped. Being a Jamesite, you will have to excuse my faux pas as simple college patriotism, and the plain fact that, for me, Alcuin is just too far away.

Despite my reservations though, and for the sake of journalism, I trekked all the way across campus in order to find this mythical place, and to find out why it is struggling to achieve its surely deserved popularity. You can imagine my disappointment upon reaching the other side of the universe, when I find that B Henry’s is closed. Apparently the bar is only open two nights a week; I couldn’t help but register a lack of surprise at the fact it is losing money. How many people are going to be frustrated by that alone?

I do realise that I am probably being somewhat harsh. Restricting opening hours and rebranding itself is B Henry’s attempt to justify remaining open in the future. But is there any hope left for the ailing establishment? Will a re-launch as a Friday night acoustic venue really work? Forgive me if I sound cynical, but I think it’s going to take a lot more than a bit of live music to remove its existing stigma. York students are rather fond of routine; Tuesday night Tru, Wednesday night Ziggy’s etc. It seems unlikely that a campus bar can break these ingrained habits, good or bad.

It would be unfair to say B Henry’s is suffering alone. No bar on campus, apart from The Courtyard, is close to being a hive of activity. The situation college bars are faced with isn’t exactly ideal. Why would the average student, for example, want to drag themselves down to the college bar for a drink they could very well do it cheaper in their kitchens? Or why would the same person want to ‘pre-lash’ at a college bar when places such as Nag’s do ‘Trebles for Singles’?

What is needed is more than just a redesign. What’s required is a serious anddrastic change in the attitudes and thinking of most people.

We must get behind our college bars as only we have the ability to change the negative outlook on them. After all, as much as we hate to admit it, students are rather like sheep – once a few of us decide that Friday night at B Henry’s is the place to be, the rest are soon sure to follow.

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