Additional reporting by Ashley Duong
UC Irvine’s on-campus pub, the Anthill Pub & Grille, is closing at the end of July. General manager Scott Winterstein announced the news on the pub’s Facebook page on Saturday, July 8.
According to Winterstein, UCI is not renewing the pub’s 10-year contract and a new pub is expected to take its place.
“I can’t fully explain the reasons for this because I honestly don’t know myself,” said Winterstein. “The university is obligated to put its contracts out to competitive bid, and they have every right to choose the bidder that submits what they think is the best proposal. I am not aware of any animus against us; we just didn’t win the contract.”
Students and members of the Irvine community responded with shock, anger, and sadness. Winterstein’s post has about 2,500 comments and 951 shares. People shared memories of celebrating 21st birthdays and grabbing a pint or two after finals with many calling the pub the best part of UCI.
“I’m so bummed that the pub is closing down, especially with such short notice,” said fourth-year Keegan Valdez. “The pub was a great place to spend time between classes with friends and relax. The bartenders were all great too and it was such a genuine pleasure to get to know them and spend many an afternoon talking about everything and nothing.”
Some accused UCI of choosing a chain or corporate business instead of the local, unique favorite Anthill.
“Honesty, the pub felt like one of the few places that felt genuine in a highly commercialized university,” said recent graduate Ruben Dorantes. “It was a place to destress and enjoy good food and drinks especially the ciders and the tots. Above all, I’m going to miss the tradition of heading to the pub as a reward for finishing midterms or finals. But overall it’s another instance where UCI has chosen money over the students.”
The pub will remain open as usual until it’s final day on Wednesday, July 26.