Tradition and merry-making: The Pub turns 35

By Jeremia Schrock and Amber Sandlin
Sun Star Reporters

Pub manager, Heather Kraemer prepares the birthday cake for the Pub's 35th birthday celebration friday, Nov 5. JR Ancheta / Sun Star

For 35 years, The Pub has tried its best to be just that. A pub. Not a bar. The difference between the two is the environment, said Bill La Rue, The Pub’s first manager. Before it opened, La Rue stated that he hoped The Pub would provide “entertainment with alcohol rather than alcohol with entertainment.”

Since La Rue’s time, The Pub has done its best to honor that creed. While The Pub’s persona has evolved from that of a coffee house with weekly cribbage matches (1975) to a beer hall with a weekly dart league (2010), the one thing that has stayed the same is the vibe.

Josh Campbell, a senior in biological sciences, came to The Pub Friday night with a sweet tooth. “I thought there would be cake,” he said. He was told there was and checked for himself. “[I] thought it would be bigger,” he replied jokingly.

Campbell has always felt The Pub to be a “pretty chill environment” that “always has a good vibe.”

That is just what current Pub manager Heather Kraemer wants the place to feel like. “The Pub has a mellow vibe,” Kraemer said. “Students can have a beer with their professors or come in and do their homework in a relaxed setting.”

Noah Looper-Friedman, a psychology student, was this year’s Pub Patron. The title of Pub Patron is given to the individual who frequents The Pub most often throughout the year. While the criteria for determining the winner is partially a case of how much time is spent at The Pub and how many friends you get to go with you, for Looper-Friedman it’s something more. “You love The Pub,” he said.

Daniel Strange, who has known Looper-Friedman for almost seven years, said that if he ever needed to find Noah, there was just one place to look. “If I wanted to find him, I’d come to The Pub.” he said.

For Looper-Friedman, The Pub is the best sort of place to be. “There’s no assholes and no booze (hard liquor),” he said, adding that he hardly ever goes to any other bar in town. He cited the good people and the good music that one can always find at The Pub.

Speaking of good music, Pub favorite Sweating Honey played the establishment’s birthday party. “[They’re] used to The Pub and have been around our community almost 10 years,” Kraemer said. “It just made sense they would play.”

And play they did. Sweating Honey’s diverse sound (bouncing between Motown, blues, folk and Big Band) is one of their trademarks. However, to peg them into any particular genre would be a disservice. According to the band’s official website, “Every month or so their sound changes. It’s no wonder with half the year cruel darkness and bitter cold, the other half constant daylight and endless vibrant energy.” Whenever Sweating Honey took to the stage, the dance floor was instantly flooded with dozens of people seemingly swept up by that same energy.

“It’s nice to have somewhere to go at the end of the week; it’s always a good time,” said Tessa Johnson, a senior biology student. “It’s been pretty lively [tonight].”

The Pub was lively enough that Kraemer was forced to open the Pub’s side bar. Jordan Rogers, a Pub employee, tabled it, handing out pints of beer as fast as she could. “We only open [the side bar] when it’s busy,” Rogers said. Busy, like during The Pub’s birthday or the recent Halloween Bash, when they tiptoe along the line of maximum occupancy.

One inebriated patron, who requested his name not be printed, summed up what The Pub has really been all about. “The Pub doesn’t represent drinking and drunkenness,” he said.  “It represents 35 years of tradition, celebration and merry making.”

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1 Response

  1. Joni G. McNutt says:

    Nice to see the Pub still thriving and serving as a gathering place for students. I guess things haven’t changed that much in the 18 years since I was there.

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