VR attendance declining

Micah Paisner

If you’re of age to spend an evening at the VR, then you’ve probably noticed the sharp decline in attendance this year. I turned 21 last year, and I was eagerly looking forward to attending the VR on a semi-regular basis. That same sentiment does not seemed to be shared by many Lawrentians this year.
While most of the booths, as well as the long tables, would generally be full last year, only few booths are usually full this year. It is even hard to find the VR half full on Wednesday nights, which are Senior Nights. I try to go every week, even for just a drink, and there seem to be fewer people there every week.
Senior bartender Mike McCain is equally as surprised by this decline in attendance: “I do understand that Lawrence students don’t always have money to spend, but the Viking Room does have the lowest drink prices around.”
He’s right. Being from Chicago, I’ve come to love the cheap prices the VR has to offer. My favorite drink, gin and tonic, costs only $3 at the VR. In Chicago, the same drink costs nearly twice as much. While it is true that many college students do not like to spend a lot of money, the VR is really not too much more expensive than buying alcohol from a liquor store such as Flannigans. And it is much more affordable than spending an evening down College Ave.
The way things are going, it is reasonable to assume that the VR may not be around for too much longer. Lawrence students are taking this wonderful establishment for granted. Most people I meet outside of Lawrence are surprised and jealous that our school has a campus bar. It really is not a common college campus feature.
The VR is more than just a bar. McCain shares this sentiment, saying, “The VR has been around since 1969 and is an intricate part of Lawrence. The VR is a great place to come hang out with friends after an intense day in the Mudd.”
Not only is it a place to hang out with friends, it is also a place for students and faculty to have discussions outside of class during Happy Hour or Senior Night.
The VR won’t go down without a fight, though. The bar has many new enticing additions. To replace the old outdated TVs there are now brand new flat screens that show a variety of programs, such as sports and sitcoms. Also, the VR now has food. No longer do students have to grab food from the Campus Center to bring over. Like the drinks, the food is very affordable. This is a welcome addition.
Like any other bar, the VR has plenty of signature cocktails, such as the Blue Viking. One other addition is live music, which you can catch every few weeks. What all of this really says is that the VR wants your support.
Lawrentians need to make more of an effort to keep the VR running. Losing such a place would be disastrous. So next time you’re drinking in your room, pop over to the VR for a nightcap. Offering a final word, McCain says: “Come down to the Viking Room and order a Watertower and see what we are all about!