Thirsty Scholar Pub management draw up a plan to turn ailing student bar around
The University of Windsor’s Thirsty Scholar Pub has been charged with changing the way it does business in order to maintain funding. The bar’s manager thinks he has the answer.
The pub served its last pint of the school year on Friday following a tumultuous year of headline splashing crime, concern over a mounting $1 million plus debt and dwindling student attendance.
“I very happy that we’ve been told [by the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance] that we need to come up with an overhaul plan, because now we’re being forced to do it,” said the Thirsty Scholar general manger Abraham Korney. “Otherwise, we would have just kept opening up year after year as we do now, and it’s just no good. This should have been done years ago.”
The bar will sit empty for the summer, save for a construction crew set to rebrand the basement pub if Korney has his way.
I very happy that we’ve been told that we need to come up with an overhaul plan … this should have been done years ago.
-Abraham Korney, The Thirsty Scholar, GM
“We’re looking at cutting out the area where the bar and booths are now and making that area two separate units that will hopefully be rented out to whoever,” said Korney, referencing figure 1. “I’m hoping that [the revenue generated from renting the proposed rooms] can go towards our deficit.”
According to Korney, who has worked various jobs at the pub for five years, each of the proposed spaces would be roughly 1,000 to 1,500 square feet.
Alternately, he said if a tenant wanted a large space the renovations could generate one large space. With an equally large vacancy just down the hall in room B-107, the former home of Travel Cuts, who left in 2011, it’s hard to say whether the proposed rooms would see occupancy any time soon.
One of the other major changes Korney sees for the student pub is turning the centre area of the room (presently the dance floor) into a “café lounge,” represented in figure 2. He plans to raise the area slightly to create dynamic, bring in comfortable chairs and couches and, most importantly, a coffee bar with baked goods.
“We had coffee last year; we had Far Coast,” said Korney, who lost the distribution when Far Coast’s owners, Coca-Cola, dropped the brand early in the academic year. According to Korney, this left him no time to sign a new distribution contract.
“It’s crazy that they don’t serve coffee here,” said Peter Wright, over a sandwich on the pub’s last day. “I’ve seen over 60 people in line upstairs (at Tim Horton’s) while no one is here other than bored looking staff. I mean, who wouldn’t rather walk down a flight of stairs than stand in that crazy line for Tim Horton’s? ”
The elephant in the room may still be the massive, dated sports style bar.
“The bar right now is way too large,” said Korney, who wants to downsize the bar and move it to the north-west wall adjacent to the patio, with dining tables in front, in what he hope to be more of a traditional pub atmosphere, where customers don’t feel like they are eating in a night club. “Only when we would host huge events would [the dining area] become a huge dance floor.”
If Korney has his way, the changes, currently without a price tag, will be ready for the pub’s opening in September. Since the bar remains closed during the summer, despite its patio and over hundreds of students and staff on campus, it’ll be another five months before the plan can become reality.
“I know this place better than most people,” said Korney, who has works as a bouncer, server, bartender and manager. “I know that the ideas I have will work and be beneficial to the campus.”