This Thursday night there will be two competing Pub Nights: one MCAB-sponsored night at 51 Main featuring Reed Waddle and one non-MCAB-sponsored at The Grille featuring the student band, The Dead Jetsons Power Owl. After over a year, looks like The Grille and 51 Main are finally willing to go head-to-head and ratchet up the competition. Where will students go?
Last week, the Middlebury Campus called changes to the traditional MCAB Thursday Pub Nights a “renovation.” The article quotes Jamie Herther ’10, President of the Middlebury College Activities Board (MCAB) and Alex Revelas ’10, MCAB Concert Chair:
“We noticed a big lagging in attendance to Pub Nights,” said Herther. “We began to notice that we were really only servicing one group of students.” So this year, according to Herther, MCAB is going for “quality, not quantity.” They will host just two Pub Nights a month, on the first and third Thursdays, rather than on a weekly basis, as they have in the past. The first will be held at The Grille, as usual, while the third will be shifted downtown to 51 Main at the Bridge.
“Both The Grille and 51 Main are College institutions that need our support,” explained Revelas. “Also, we think we will service a very different crowd. It’s a great way to get off campus, and a great mingling space. People can even just pop over before heading to the bar.”
Ever since the opening of 51 Main, there has been a tension between the two college-owned establishments. Both have have help from the College and MCAB is trapped in the middle. MCAB helps subsidize drink specials and brings bands for students on Pub Nights. When MCAB moves Pub Nights down to 51 Main, The Grille/Juice Bar loses some business from sales of Grille food and drink. The Grille is going from four Pub Nights per month last year to one per month this year. Financially, it’s a murky situation because the College provides funding to not only The Grille and 51 Main separately, but also for MCAB itself.
In the end, though, it’s all still the College. Moreover, the two venues can probably support different audiences/customers even on the same night. Some students are too lazy to get to 51 Main on a Thursday night. And it should be noted that a lot of events occur simultaneously each week. But with limited resources (read: money), the mentality of trying to out-compete the other College-owned venue with the same type of event (remember, both events are named “Pub Night”) seems a little ridiculous. Let’s try some differentiation instead. Either way, we’ll find out this Thursday, if students turn out at both venues, one venue, or neither.