The value of college bars may diminish unless action is taken

For returning students this year, James College may look a tad different. Not only due to all the building taking place but the fact that the college bar, McQ’s, has vanished.

College life, as everyone knows, is more than just halls of residence. The sense of community so vital to them is fostered in things like sports teams, college events and college bars. They are a place for socials, quiet drinks with friends or as pre-drinking spots before a night out. Drinks deals mean that you can enjoy a pint of your choice for less than it costs to use one of the campus washing machines.
Some would cite the dwindling popularity and financial viability of bars like B-Henry’s, only open two nights a week now, as a reason for its closure. Other college bars like D Bar, host annual events like Big D are considered by many to be one of the highlights of the year and often sell out well in advance.

“It ramins to be seen whether this style of bar will be a hit with students”

McQ’s certainly did have its supporters. A Facebook group, set up back in March when plans were first thought to be of refurbishment, reflected the affection of a bar thought to have a ‘unique’ atmosphere with its pub-style quizzes, with some calling for increasing its capacity rather than increasing that of the Roger Kirk building itself.

Hopes for the Lounge Bar to lure students away from bars in town by offering cocktails and spirit deals not previously seen on campus, with food also on offer are ambitious. The logistics of the situation may seem odd: with food being biked over from Langwith due to a lack of a kitchen, you have to wonder whether student needs were fully thought through when it was being planned.

The question is whether it can really compete with the variety that town offers. It remains to be seen whether this style of bar will be a hit with students or whether it will just become another space to be rented out for conferences by Commercial Services. It does, however, provide a wakeup call.
For those who wish to save their college bars, it’s time to start encouraging people to make use of them to preserve the sense of individual college spirits. Perhaps it’s time for some sectors of the university to realise what a university is; first and foremost a place for its students, rather than a place of financial gain.

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