Beer Gardens. The very mention of those words is enough to make any university student’s mouth water. It’s quite simple: section off a space outside and sell alcohol to students. Add some thumping live music and a general party atmosphere, and you’ve got a guaranteed crowd pleaser. It seems like a no-brainer way to make money off students, but this year’s beer gardens festivities were pathetic — a sad glimpse of what could have been.
The most obvious blunder of the beer gardens was that they closed at 6:30p.m. every day — with last call happening at 5:30. Why the event planners thought it would be a good idea to cut the beer flow off then is anyone’s guess. Besides, it doesn’t take anyone an hour to finish one cup of shitty beer.
It’s somewhat understandable that the beer gardens would have an early closing time on Wednesday and Thursday. A large majority of students are not likely to get drunk when they have class the next morning. But closing at 6:30? That’s a little much. It’s doubtful that anyone — especially university students — has a bedtime that early. It makes sense to assume that if the gardens stayed open a few hours later, many students would still attend and make the event a financial success. Selling alcohol is a definite moneymaker.
Perhaps the most egregious part of the beer gardens was that they closed at their regular time on a Friday — one of the few days of the week designated for partying. If there’s any day or time a student is going to look for a chance to cast off the worries of school and maybe have a few drinks, it’s going to be a Friday evening.
Well, they were supposed to close at their regular time. Some friends and I tried to enter the beer gardens on Friday at 5:15, long before last call, but we were quite rudely sent away by a security guard whose condescending explanation was simply: “We’re done.”
Well no, we weren’t done. We weren’t even started. Not only that, but a performer was still on stage and the inside, so cruelly denied to us, was full of happy students with drinks aplenty. So instead of throwing our money away on campus, we were forced to visit a bar off campus — because hell if we’re going to try RATT on the first Friday of classes. If the people working an event aren’t going to work for it, and make it seem like they’re happy to see us and accept our money, then we aren’t going to give it to them.
Of course, this sour experience was courtesy of only a small group of employees working the event and whoever made the decision to close off the entrance. I’m positive that most staff and volunteers helping to put on the event were quite pleasant and more than happy to deal with customers. A shame: it only takes one person to ruin someone’s experience.
If we want the beer gardens to be an event worth attending, the organizers need to assess their clientele and adjust their business model accordingly.
It’s great the beer gardens opened early at 11a.m. Students have varying schedules so it’s helpful to have hours that cater to their differing hours. But that sentiment goes both ways. Some students don’t get off class that early, and others work or have other commitments.
And think of all those brave student group volunteers who, instead of getting smashed after class at 3 p.m. each day, dutifully sat at a table until 5 p.m. in the name of that most holy student ideal: involvement.
It’s hardly too much to ask that the gardens stay open a few hours later into the night so students can unwind. Especially on a Friday.
The remnants of chivalry still linger today, especially in the dating world.