Hopped Up: The Quarter Club

By Shelby Nesheim

Finding reasons to drink is an unwritten obligation of being a college student. From bar-hopping in Newport on Saturday, to “Wastey Wednesday” and “12-Pack Tuesday” themed drinking during the week, there’s no shortage of opportunities to get your drink on. Therefore, the popularity of The Anthill Pub and Grille’s infamous Quarter Club comes as no surprise.
Want an excuse to drink every day? Then the Quarter Club is the thing for you. Beginning on the first day of each quarter, and lasting until the end of 10th week, students brave enough to sign up for the club attempt to have at least one alcoholic beverage at the Pub every weekday on which pub is open. The staff at the pub is understanding and allows you to miss up to four days, so long as you make them up on either Saturdays or during finals week. Perks of completing this alcoholic endeavor include having your name added to the “Wall of Fame” with all other Quarter Club veterans, an engraved glass personalized with your name and quarter and most appealing for some, up to four pints for the price of a quarter on the final Friday of finals week.
The Quarter Club first started in 2008.
“A couple of customers were tossing around ideas and they told me about wanting to come in every day and have it signed off at the end of the quarter,” said Scott Winterstein, pub manager. “At first I was like that is a stupid idea, and then I was like no, wait, that is a fantastic idea. People are always telling me about promotional ideas and most are really bad, but this made a lot of sense because it would promote more customers. Also, people are more likely to space out their drinking if they are doing it every day, so it made sense.”
Thus, UCI’s Quarter Club was created.
Personally, it’s my last quarter at UCI and completing the quarter club seemed like almost a rite of passage. Having my name forever showcased on the “Wall of Fame” seemed like a great way to permanently make myself a part of UCI, in a small way at least. Plus, it didn’t seem that difficult. Showing up every day and having one pint is easy … or so I thought.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the UCI pub, it has delicious food, excellent drinks and is a great place to hang out. But, in reality it is pretty difficult to order just one pint. It starts with a pitcher to share, and then a second, and pretty soon your mundane Monday has gotten a little more alcoholic than you intended.
Luckily for my wallet and liver, after a rough start on my first week, I began to understand the dedication and more importantly control, needed to make the most of my Quarter Club experience. While the obvious point of this club seems to be drinking, after talking to the staff at the Anthill Pub and Grill, I realized that there is much more to this group than just spending money and getting tipsy.
According to Thomas Mcenrae, a pub employee, “Quarter Club is a good idea because it promotes the culture we want here at the pub: coming in regularly and drinking moderately.”
As demonstrated by the list of rules displayed to every person who signs up for Quarter Club, the emphasis is on breaking out of one’s comfort zone and being social. Quarter Club allows all participants to get to know both the Pub staff and fellow quarter clubbers. Furthermore, all Quarter Club participants are encouraged to try as many beers as possible during their daily visits to the pub. Instead of sticking to the common classics, students are encouraged to take advantage of the Pub’s selection of high-quality beers on tap. Some of the most recent additions include Dogfish Head Aprihop and Pizza Port Middle Man IPA.
Thomas suggests Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA.
“That is kind of a pub favorite here. We are a bunch of hop heads and that is a very good IPA.”
All of the ciders and beers on tap, with the exclusion of the “strong ales” which are served in 10-oz. glasses, can be purchased in either a single-serving pint glass or in a pitcher (the equivalent of three pints). Although these beers and ciders are priced well for the quality, a valid concern of every Quarter Club participant seems to be the overall price. Drinking even one pint every day can add up very quickly. However, the Pub offers happy hour every day from 4-7 p.m., during which pints may be purchased at $1 off, and pitchers are sold for $3 off.
Aubrey Bayoneta, a first-time participant and senior at UCI says “[Quarter Club] has been really fun. I made a Google calendar with my friend so we can schedule our drinking. For the most part I really like it because I have always been to the Pub before for food but now that I am 21 it is a very different experience, I just want to live up my last quarter here in college.”
Although centered around alcohol, choosing to participate in Quarter Club means a lot more than just drinking. Kevin Leonard, another Anthill Pub employee, gives advice to participating students.
“If you are going to try Quarter Club, you should try something new, get out of your comfort zone, and learn God damn it.”
So next time you go to the pub, whether participating in Quarter Club or not, remember to talk to the staff, make some new friends, and be adventurous.