If you were to walk through the Sakowich Campus Center on a Thursday night last April you would see a line of students lined down the staircase from a capacity-full Augie’s Pub. Flash forward six months and it is a different scenario as many 21+-year-old students now choose to go to The Claddagh Pub in Lawrence for Thursday night entertainment.
So how do students choose their Thursday night location?
According to Matt Hanson ’15, it’s a spontaneous decision. “Depends on my night. If a certain amount of people are going to the Claddagh, I’ll go there, but if no one wants to go out and spend a lot of money, I will go to Augie’s.”
“Augie’s because many of my friends go there. The drinks are much cheaper than going off campus and you don’t need to find a designated driver for the night,” Frankie Quinci ’15 commented.
There has been a significant change in the amount of students now choosing the pub in downtown Lawrence over the one on campus, but why has this shift happened with the new academic year?
Quinci argues, “I think this year the biggest thing is that the Claddagh doesn’t have a cover charge, so now many students are going there instead. As well as there is a DJ and you can get mixed drinks.”
In Hanson’s mind, it has to do more with space than cost. “There’s a lot more room. There’s more opportunities for more people to be there while Augie’s really eliminates the amount of people that can be there. I have heard of times where people have had to wait in line and have been turned away before.”
“I think it was very overcrowded at times last year so some people have just assumed to not go there so that just in case they are late, they will not have to wait in line,” Allie Pukala, the Director of the Office of Student Involvement noted.
Quinci believes that there are now approximately 30-40 students in Augie’s Pub each Thursday night, where last year there were 85 people—the occupancy cap—every Thursday night with more lined up waiting to get in.
An additional deciding factor between Augie’s and the Claddagh is safety. With going off campus, comes the responsibility of finding a designated driver for the evening. Having a pub on campus makes the returning commute easier, cheaper, and safer.
The cost of drinks is another faceoff.
Augie’s is noticeably cheaper with $2-$4 drafts for beers and other discounted beverages.
As for the Claddagh: “They are really cheap—I think it’s $6 for a fireball and ginger ale,” Hanson commented.
As with most hotspots on campus, as the college continues to grow, these spaces must be expanded and revised, which Augie’s Pub is no exception to.
Pukala noted that in order to have a larger pub on campus, the college would need to see that students are using it in order to see the need for a larger venue.
What else can students expect to see from Augie’s Pub and Augie’s Advisory Committee this year?
“There’s more of a focus this year on the programming in Augie’s and having more 21+ students on Augie’s Advisory Committee (AAC). We’ve started off the year by offering 21+ trivia on Friday’s,” noted Pukala.
As in the past, students continue to be able to choose which beers are on tap at their campus pub here. The variety of beers fluctuates each semester.
Pukala stated, “AAC actually gets to work on a beer tasting before each new batch of seasonal beers is purchased. Hopefully there’s some new programming coming down the pike based on what the AAC comes up with.”
“One thing that has come down in conversations is that we are hoping to institute a ‘Mug Club’, or a variation of a Mug Club with the AAC for this year and with all students eventually.” Pukala also commented that there might be some tournaments in the works, including a dart tournament.
However, students should not expect drinking-game tournaments any time soon, as that goes against college policies since drinking games are forbidden on campus.
In the past, neither hotspot has offered food options for Merrimack students, as the Claddagh stops serving food at 10pm while Augie’s previously required students to order food at the Warriors Den and then return to the pub afterwards.
According to Pukala, students are now able to order food in Augie’s Pub, including options such as burgers, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, and more. She noted that OSI will continue to work in collaboration with Sodexo to make sure that students are getting the most out of their experience in Augie’s.
“[Sodexo] oversees most of the operations. We are looking to see the student perspective in our office: student program ideas, beers, food, what you want to see—we want your feedback.”
To provide feedback on Augie’s Pub or join Augie’s Advisory Committee, student can e-mail OSI@merrimack.edu.