Dinkytown bar pours on competition

Just months ago, bars such as Blarney Pub and Grill and Burrito Loco dominated the Dinkytown bar scene.

But since its Dec. 30 opening, the Library has stirred up some competition and given students a new alternative. The bar celebrated its reopening this weekend.

The Library once was a popular Dinkytown bar, but the building had been closed since January 2005.

“We felt students needed something around here that was a step above,” Library co-owner Jon Schroeder said.

The fourth bar of its chain and the first outside Texas, the Library fills to its capacity of 561 nearly every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, Schroeder said.

The Library last reopened in September 2004. Because of reports of underage student-athlete drinking the club was renamed Club H20 to change the bar’s reputation, Schroeder said.

But students did not take to the reopening and the bar quickly folded.

Looking to open in the campus area, Schroeder said, he heard there used to be a bar in the building with the same name.

“I had heard some pretty bad stories about the old Library,” Schroeder said. “But we mainly figured that once people came in, they would see the difference.”

He said the Library is meant to give students a downtown bar atmosphere near campus.

On the corner of 13th Avenue and Fourth Street, the bar is garnished with 37 TVs and a staff of 75, Schroeder said.

“It’s exactly what Dinkytown needed,” said Craig Hirschey, applied economics junior. “It draws students back to Dinkytown instead of going downtown, and will lower the prices at the bars around campus.”

The new competition has already brought some changes at Blarney Pub and Grill.

Blarney manager Erin Murphy said the bar dropped the $3 cover charge, scheduled live bands three nights a week and unveiled new weekly drink specials featuring high-end drinks.

Murphy said Blarney prides itself on being a neighborhood bar where students can mingle and meet new friends.

Not all students buy into the novelty of having a new bar on campus and plan to keep going to their usual watering holes.

“I hate going to the Library and it being so packed that I can’t get a drink,” psychology senior Alex Timm said. “It seems like when I go to Blarney’s or Burrito Loco I know everyone there.”

Burrito Loco co-owner and University alumnus John Pillsbury said his business has increased and that more students seem to be walking around Dinkytown since the Library opened.

Pillsbury said Burrito Loco relies on its food and nightly specials to draw customers, but sees the opening of the Library as a positive addition to Dinkytown.

“If a couple more bars would open up, it would be more of a college campus instead of a campus inside the city,” Pillsbury said. “The more bars in the area, the less of a reason for students to go downtown.”

But for some students, the Dinkytown bar scene will never be appealing.

“It’s like the same group of college kids that all look and dress the same,” journalism junior Nick Frantzen said. “It seems like everyone is trying to hook up, but if they can’t, they are looking for a fight.”

The three bars agreed that more competition will lead to more customers and improve Dinkytown nightlife.

“Competition is always something you are concerned about,” Schroeder said. “But we go by the philosophy of, The more, the merrier.”

Freelance Editor Emily Kaiser welcomes comments at [email protected]