Phoenix Grille Applies for Permit to Serve Alcohol to Thirsty

The beloved Anthill Pub has been included in the plans for the renovated Student Center, set to re-open in fall 2007. Whether students knew about it or not, these plans have always been public information.
At the request of the university, Aramark recently applied for a new liquor license in order to sell bottled beer and wine at the Phoenix Grille, and sales are slated to begin Spring 2006.
This raised many questions about whether the pub was gone for good but, according to Michael Shafae, executive vice president of financial affairs for the Associated Graduate Students, a new and improved Anthill was a priority from the start, with the full cooperation of the UC Irvine administration.
‘It was always in the plans,’ Shafae said. ‘When they were drafting the Student Center, [former CEO] Mark Tuchman, the pub manager Scott [Winterstein] and a consultant were onboard. The kitchen was designed by them and AGS was never out of the loop.’
According to Interim Executive Director of Student Affairs Dan Dooros, the provision of alcoholic beverages at Phoenix Grille will be discontinued once the pub re-opens, but in the meantime, Vice Chancellor Manuel Gomez and the Division of Student Affairs wanted to provide older students with a place to purchase beer and wine on campus.
‘Historically, UCI has had a stellar reputation of serving alcohol responsibly on campus for many years,’ Dooros said. ‘Operated correctly and responsibly, the serving of beer and wine can add to social interaction and a more vibrant campus life.’
Shafae agrees, believing that it is important for graduate students to have a social gathering place on campus. Additionally, the pub was a valuable source of revenue for AGS and will continue to benefit the students once it reopens.
‘It is our right as an unincorporated association to do business and that is one of the very important things about AGS,’ Shafae said. ‘We need sources of revenue and we need ways to further the graduate student’s cause, to create a place for socializing.’
Students at UC Irvine were disappointed last winter when the Student Center, which housed the pub, was closed for reconstruction. Discussions to set up an interim location for the pub were conducted by AGS and the Associated Students of UC Irvine, but it was decided that serving beer and wine in an existing location until the pub reopened would be more efficient.
Shafae realizes that the pub was appreciated by far more than just the graduate students and is aware of the fact that undergraduates will also benefit from its return.
‘This is a public university. There’s no public place on this campus that you could bar somebody from. … We can’t create a space on this campus that says, ‘No, you have to be 21 and over and a graduate student to enter,” Shafae said. ‘I don’t think the grad students would want it that way. They want to create a place where we could bring undergrads, staff, faculty and administrators in and create a comfortable, relaxed place to meet.’
According to Dooros, there has been no opposition to the resumption of alcohol sales by the campus community, but the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union did recently file a protest for unknown reasons against the new liquor license that has already been disallowed by Alcohol and Beverage Control, a state department that provides all liquor licenses. Thus, Aramark is moving forward with their plans for Phoenix Grille.
Anteaters can now disregard the rumors and rest assured that the Anthill Pub will be back in 2007.