Drinks are on me

An inside look at Quinnipiac's open bar culture

By on April 16, 2019

The Merriam Webster definition for an open bar is “a bar (as at a wedding reception) at which drinks are served for free.” At Quinnipiac, the term ‘open bar’ takes on another meaning for students.

More often than not, it is not for free. When students are invited to an open bar, they are expected to pay anywhere from $20 to $30 for unlimited drinks for roughly two hours. It’s basically a beat the clock to get the most bang for your buck.

“Planning an open bar was very easy because my friend was a promoter for the bar and handled it all for me,” junior marketing major Jessie O’Keefe said. She had an open bar at 144 Temple in February to celebrate her 21st birthday.

Open bars are held at ultimately all of the popular bars around Quinnipiac, such as 144 Temple, Toad’s Place, Box 63 American Bar and Grill, Brother Jimmy’s and Andale’s, also known as Roberto’s to the Quinnipiac community. Planning an open bar is different at all the venues.

“It’s a lot of fun to attend open bars, however, it’s a little stressful having your own,” O’Keefe said. “You have to make sure everything goes right. There was no music playing at mine for the first 35 minutes.”

Underclassmen typically do not attend open bars until late sophomore or junior year, until they are 21.

“I’ve never been to an open bar actually,” sophomore journalism and public relations double major Jensen Coppa said. “Many of my friends aren’t 21 so no one I know has really ever had one that I could attend. I’m assuming going into junior year there will definitely be some to go.”

As O’Keefe mentioned, at 144 Temple, she went through a promoter to set up everything. At Toad’s, one would call Toad’s directly and a worker will help in planning one. The person hosting the open bar has to put down a deposit anywhere from $150 to $200 to reserve a bar area.

“I think open bars can be fun, but they can also be chaotic,” senior education major Rachel C. said. “It all depends on the location, how old everyone is, and how many people are being invited.”

The most common way to send out invites to an open bar is by making a Facebook event. That way, you are able to see who can and cannot attend. Hosts typically will invite a large number of people, thinking that not everyone will be able to make it.

However, going to multiple open bars throughout the school year can take a toll on students’ bank accounts.

“It gets tougher to go to ones at the end of the school year because my bank account is so low,” said Aidan Findlen, a criminal justice major. “I have to pick and choose the ones I really want to go to.”

Not all schools participate in open bars like Quinnipiac. At Sacred Heart University this is not common. Instead, some students choose to do bottle service for their birthdays instead of hosting an open bar. At Syracuse University, the bars there will sometimes offer free covers and drink deals, like a happy hour. At Endicott College, the students do not have anything like that.

“We mainly have house parties or will just go to bars in Salem for a night,” said Endicott student, Lainey Erwin. “It sounds like a fun idea though. I wish we had something like that.”

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