Students in favor of possible University Heights restaurant
Students unconcerned about underage drinking; don't want to lose drunk bus
University Heights residents are concerned about the possible opening of a new restaurant on Main Street called Main Place that will serve alcohol and host 18 and over events. UB students are excited about a potential new restaurant opening near campus, but recognize the potential for underage drinking and the repercussions that it can have on late night transportation.
The backlash from the community is due to concerns of underage drinking and noise complaints associated with college students partying.
Students however, feel responsibility lies more on the bar to keep a close eye on customers to make sure only those of legal drinking age are allowed to buy drinks.
Nicholas Pham, a sophomore biomedical engineering major and University Heights resident feels students are going to party on South Campus regardless. One more bar won’t be the deciding factor for students to party and get drunk, he said.
“I think that the business owner can do whatever he wants as long as it’s legal,” Pham said. “There’s a lot of people living on South [Campus] who are over 21 that already enjoy going to places like The Steer, and that seems to be fine. I think that another bar isn’t going to be the end of the world.”
Pham thinks the proposed security measures, which involve bracelets for patrons of legal drinking age, are not well thought out. He believes underage customers can easily find a way to order alcohol.
“Wristbands aren’t really effective, it’s very easy to squeeze out of your bracelet and trade with someone who’s older and already bought their drinks,” Pham said. “No one would like to do it, but it makes sense to require students show their ID every time you buy a drink.”
Mike Brown, a junior computer science and political science major and UB Council student representative, is not in favor of the bar and believes the potential negatives outweigh any positives in this situation. Brown has played a large role in the revitalization and maintenance of the University Heights area.
“Both residents and local businesses have been vocal in establishing that the bar is contrary to the vision of University Heights as a safe community,” Brown said. “I agree that creating a new bar in the neighborhood is a bad idea, especially since it risks all the progress we've made on protecting 24/7 transportation.”
Sarah Deceus, a senior economics major, echoes Brown’s sentiments about the risks of transportation. She fears that underage drinking violations and disturbances may result in the late night “drunk bus” being cut once again. The buses were recently reinstated after students complained about the cuts.
“Many people are affected here, all the residents who aren’t college students are disturbed by the actual realities of college kids partying,” Deceus said. “They just brought back the drunk bus and this could jeopardize everything that they’ve been working towards. You have to think that again, there’s not just drunk people riding the bus. People that have work need to use it to. It’d be unfair to take it away from them again.”
Deceus is excited about the potential of a new restaurant opening near her home, however. She believes Main Place will give people a place to go nearby and be safer than making a trip downtown.
“I’ve lived on South [Campus] for two out of my four years and it’s becoming an attraction for students to come and hang out, grab a bite to eat or go out and grab a drink,” Deceus said. “From a business perspective, this bar opening would be very beneficial because the traffic is heavy there. It’s conveniently placed by South Campus, so students won’t have to take an Uber to get to it, unlike other bars downtown.”
Morgan Henry, a junior electrical engineering major, believes that nothing will stop students from partying, but shares concerns over the late night bus.
“Kids are going to drink anyway. It’s an issue that is always going to occur and there’s really no way to control it,” Henry said. “If there’s a lot of issues with students drinking at the new bar, they might get rid of the bus again, which would be bad.”
Max Kalnitz is the senior features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org