Ever tried going for a drink at the Blind Duck Pub on a Friday night? If so, you probably peered through the bars at the Student Centre entrance and realized there would be no drinks there that night.
In a letter to the editor titled “Rage against the campus”, Sami Karaman, a fourth-year student, pointed to the pub’s limited hours as one of UTM’s flaws. “What kind of restaurant and bar […] closes at eight Mondays through Thursdays?” he wrote. “Well, it’s not that bad. I mean, it’s probably open to midnight or something on Fridays, right? Wrong. The Blind Duck, that beautiful student sanctuary where I can forget about midterms and essays and have a nice, cold beer, closes at four in the afternoon on Fridays.”
According to the Blind Duck’s page on UTMSU’s website, the pub closes at 5 p.m. on Fridays. (Monday through Thursday, the pub closes at 7 or 8 p.m., though.)
Karaman has a point. It seems kind of strange that the campus’s only alcohol-serving venue should close so early on a Friday. His letter leads us to ask: why are pub hours implemented the way they are?
“When I started running the pub, the hours were only nine to five p.m.,” said Shane Madhani, the Blind Duck’s manager. After being appointed manager, Madhani extended the pub’s hours. But the pub’s management says there tends to be less business on Fridays in general, so extending hours into the night would probably be a loss.
“We have 40 staff members employed and we don’t lack the manpower to do it, if needed,” Madhani added. “The only times when the pub does stay open past its usual hours [are] during pub events held on Thursdays and Fridays.”
“Extending pub hours past 8 p.m. would not work, as it wouldn’t be beneficial for the pub,” commented Raymond Noronha, UTMSU’s VP internal and services. “With classes ending at 9 p.m., most students would be catching buses home.”
But doesn’t the need to leave campus the minute classes are over reflect on UTM’s campus culture? And what about the people who call this campus home?
Some residence students said they would go to the pub on Friday nights if it were open. Obaid Said, a third-year political science student and campus resident, says that “proper lighting and the right atmosphere” would bring him to the pub on Friday nights. The appeal? It’s a few minutes by foot and you’re already with your friends, he said.
Aside from the convenience, another residence student, Timothy Daniels, says the food is just better. He says he’d come to the pub on Friday nights just because he prefers the food selection to off-campus pubs.
The other question is, why are students who don’t live on campus so eager to flee as soon as their classes are over?
“There are already pub nights on Thursdays that extend into the night,” said Noronha. “Most students would prefer to go out to outside pubs and clubs, and this creates a better balance between school friends and friends outside.”
But if that were the case for students outside of UTM, then why are other campus pubs open later than ours? For example, Ram in the Rye, Ryerson’s campus pub, stays open until 2 a.m. on both Thursdays and Fridays. York’s Cock and Bull pub does the same. Is it because we’re not in the city? Don’t UTM students like to hang at pubs and bars? Somehow, it doesn’t seem like that’s the case, especially when we’re just talking about being able to have a beer and nachos with your friends on Friday nights.
At present, the pub holds club and society events on Friday nights after it’s officially closed. And it seems like the decision to keep limiting the pub to private events on Fridays isn’t really a decision made by management—in a way, it’s really a decision made by the students.
Then again, in an informal survey of 10 students, eight said they would go out to the pub on Fridays if it were open.
For now, though, when there are no special club events, the pub is officially closed at 5 p.m. on Friday. And unless something changes in campus culture, or unless more people speak up, it’s going to stay that way.