The 3,800 or so students that call St. Mary's University their alma mater have a new place to unwind after 25 years as a dry campus. And it's not open to just students, faculty, staff and Marianists, either.
Found in the same building at the Louis J. Blume Library at the heart of campus, The Pub At St. Mary's won't be a hot spot any time soon, but if you were to find yourself on the West Side and in the mood for collegiate mingling and with an alumni in tow, the bar provides a nice alternative.
Nice is really an understatement here — the décor was still being shipped in when I toured the $900,000 facility. The financing comes via an exclusive donation from alums Tom Contreras ('88) and Leti Contreras ('89), for the pub to nurture community and a sense of communal rattler-dom.
The space was added on one of the outdoor verandas alongside the library, beneath a staff lounge and next to a mechanical room that provides a comforting hum and doubles as a noise buffer for The Pub. The gift paid for not just the pub, its beer and wine license, energy-efficient lighting, automatic blinds and college-y furniture, but also for the addition of an outdoor stage and student lounge with more comfy Tetris-like furniture and flat screens.
They'll need the buffer when programming for the bar takes off. As of now, karaoke is scheduled for two nights a week, along with trivia and game-viewing parties complete with a full menu of bar snacks including Panini, pizzas and Bavarian pretzels.
For those worried about students drinking on campus, St. Mary's is playing the part of the cool mom in Mean Girls: "Because if you're going to drink I'd rather you do it in the house."
The university joins UTSA as the only other higher ed institution to serve alcohol on campus. Aramark, the food service provider in charge of staffing the joint, has hired non-students and everyone should definitely expect to pull out their ID if they want to order a pint of local beer on draft.
Though my informal poll yielded a mixed bag of results (confused and envious alumni, along with incredulous students eager to start using their dining dollars on beer), The Pub might be the best bet for longtime faculty tired of happy hour at Lisa's.
1 Camino Santa Maria St., 4-11pm Thu; 4-midnight Fri-Sat; 6-11pm Mon
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