Going over the beneficiaries of a split-venue night-club


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The Library nightclub in downtown Iowa City has recently earned its buzz-worthy status by becoming the first bar in Iowa City to utilize part of the 21-ordinance that allows patrons under the age of 21 to stay past 10 p.m. if the bar is split into two sides, including one that doesn't serve alcohol. Tom Lenoch, the owner of the establishment, has taken advantage of his venue, which is equipped with two entrances, to make a split venue with an area for the under-21 crowd. 

The Library's introduction of an under-21 level is good news for freshmen, over-21 partiers, and the owner of the bar.

Let us first view this exciting new opportunity from the virgin eyes of the freshmen new to campus. We freshman are eager to experience the lifestyle associated with the Princeton Review's No. 4 "party-school." Our high expectations are crushed when we find ourselves getting booted from the bars at 10, just in time to give mom a call before she turns in for the night.

After 10, freshmen must half-wittedly find a party to stumble to. The true challenge comes when they realize the key is finding a party at which they are welcome. With the introduction of the under-21 level of the Library, freshmen can avoid the hassle of finding these parties. The split-venue bar will allow freshmen to get a taste of the almost mythical pre-21-ordinance Iowa City without breaking the law. Not only is this venue fun and refreshing for freshmen, it is also relatively safe compared with a house party.

So, who else benefits from the introduction of the split-level bar? Some over-21 patrons, the most mature and refined young men and women that Iowa City has to offer.

I had never thought of this group as one that would benefit from this change until I saw the smirks on the faces of my fellow staffers (all males and mostly upperclassmen) when discussing this topic. I had seen this look before, on the faces of the young men in the bars (before 10, of course). I knew what they were thinking — "fresh meat."

No shame, boys. In my mind, this only means you have two opportunities to strike out. If you can't get the numbers of the girls in the over-21 part of the bar, you can always move on to the under-21 area.

And for women and men, the new venue set-up provides an opportunity to mingle with underage friends. Greek and student organization outings will surely be made more fun when underclassmen can hang out at the bars with their upperclass friends.

Not only will the customers benefit from the change, it is quite possible that Lenoch will as well. If you ask Lenoch, he will coyly tell you that he is not sure what will happen on Thursday, when his 60-day trial of having the split-venue bar will begin, and he is not even sure whether there will be a large turnout.

I appreciate his humbleness but wholeheartedly believe he has the right to brag about his stroke of genius. He clearly has the keen mind of a businessman and knows an untapped market when he sees one. There is evidently a large demand for a bar that is friendly to the under-21 crowd, as proven by the extensive police blotters we all love to read on Monday morning, always sprinkled with a healthy dose of "presence in a bar after hours." It is apparent that Alex Bernstein, Haley Brady, Ashley Davidson, and Erika Diemer — all of whom were charged with "presence in a bar after hours" over the weekend — would appreciate the new bar that they could legally enjoy themselves in.

This split-level nightclub benefits all parties and is a great idea that will help bring business back downtown.

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