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Better bars, better reputation

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | JULY 06, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa City is a party town. The massive number of bars that make up the downtown scene is a huge reason the binge-drinking culture is what it is — with some bars in particular having a reputation for PAULAs and underage drinking.

A number of other bars in the immediate area have served as the late-night home for many drunk University of Iowa students. Summit, for example, has even earned the nickname "Scummit" among the very students it serves.

It has been known as one of the top drink-to-get-drunk bars with its dance-club-like atmosphere, great deals such as $1-you-call-it nights, and the bar's ability to bring in hundreds of people on any given night.

But with the Summit's renovations and new ownership, we hope that this will signal other bars in Iowa City to clean up their acts and help better the reputation of Iowa City's nightlife.

Since the 21-ordinance was enacted, Summit and other big downtownbars have experienced shrinking attendance. Smaller crowds bring in less revenue, and less money can lower bars' standards of service and operation.

Summit is a prime example of how bars in the Iowa City downtown can change for the better. Summit's new management has the chance to improve the quality of the bar, leading to a better reputation, and hopefully putting the days of the "Scummit" behind.

As The Daily Iowan has reported, the Iowa City City Council awarded the new owner, Andrew White, a new Class C liquor license. He is now the current owner of the bar and restaurant. The bar has now seen three different owners at the reins over the past two years, with hardly any success in improving the restaurant's reputation.

Improving bars' reputations from being primarily an underclassmen drinking-hole will also help bars improve relations with the Iowa City police — Summit is the most inspected bar in Iowa City.

According to the police website, in the month of May, Summit was checked by police 18 nights during the month, second only to Brothers. In the past 12 months, Summit has been checked the most in the UI area; the bar was checked on 277 different occasions.

And, of course, the bar checks were successful — there have been 99 PAULAs written out at Summit in the past 12 months.

Being the bar with the most PAULAs in the past 12 months, Summit has been doing everything it can to decrease that number. With bars becoming less of the average nightlife scene, thanks to the 21-ordinance, this is the perfect opportunity for Summit to lower those PAULA numbers and keep the younger crowd out of its doors.

The bar is now going under renovations to improve its look, which will allow for a better clientele.

Because the bar is no longer 19 plus, Summit will hopefully be able to keep PAULAs to a minimum. The bar will not be able to take advantage of the six-month exception from the 21-ordinance, despite the change in ownership, as reported by the DI.

Kyle Steiger, a Summit employee who has worked at the bar for a year and a half, said he and the rest of the staff are excited to have the new management and get back to work.

"It's a good thing," he said. "It will improve our business and be a plus for everyone."

Summit is closed at present because of the new renovations being made; it is set to reopen before the school year commences. Although Steiger said he isn't sure on what all the new renovations will entail, he said he definitely thinks Summit will be a greater bar.

No doubt the Summit will be a greater bar with a better atmosphere — an example to the Iowa City community to improve its binge-drinking scene and tidy up for the students. With this, we hope the bar can improve its reputation, taking Iowa City with it.

However to completely disconnect from the "Scummit" past, you may just have to give the bar a whole new name. Something to consider, we suppose, with the renovations.


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