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‘O’ Brady’s brings beer back

It’s been more than 10 years since the University provided a place in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center where students could consume alcohol. But with the addition of a Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant to the new student union, now known as the Marshall Student Center, students can stop by for a drink before, after or even between classes.

Aramark, the University’s dining services provider, has a liquor license and provides professionally-trained servers for the alcohol, said Guy Conway, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

He said he sees no issue with serving alcohol in the new restaurant because it operates like any other Beef ‘O’ Brady’s location and enforces all the same drinking laws.

Some students see the new Beef ‘O’ Brady’s as a positive change for the University.

“It lessens the chance of drunk driving because we have something on campus and there will be no need to drive off campus,” said Wendy Moats, a junior majoring in English.

Students have wanted a sports grill since the 1990s, said Joseph Synovec, director of the Marshall Student Center.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s offered USF the option of incorporating University programming within the restaurant, such as events with the University’s radio station, WBUL. The restaurant’s flexibility was one reason it was selected for the new student union.

“We have great students. They are mature students. It’s on a campus environment and (the alcohol) will be served by professionals,” Synovec said.

While some students are pleased with having a place to drink on campus, others worry about the consequences.

Jonathan Fernandes, a senior majoring in social science and religious studies, said he doesn’t agree with serving alcohol on campus.

“Most college students are not very aware of the effects of alcohol on themselves,” Fernandes said. “So having a place in the center of campus where students can drink might destroy the image of the University, and that’s not good for the student body as a whole.”

“We’re here for education, not for entertainment,” said Sarah Johnstone, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences. “It sends mixed messages because we’re striving for a higher level of thinking here, and a lot of gross human qualities are brought out in people when they drink, especially when it’s not done in moderation.”

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s will be open for business at 11 a.m. and closes at midnight.

The first facility that served alcohol on campus, the Empty Keg, opened in the 1970s when the Phyllis P. Marshall Center was known as the University Center. It shut down in the 1990s after a renovation of the center relocated it to the lower level and soon put it out of business.

Debbie Lum of the Office of Special Events and Ceremonies said the Empty Keg was a great place for students to gather. She hopes Beef ‘O’ Brady’s will reclaim the social qualities of the Empty Keg, she said.

“The beer and the alcohol is a part of it, but that’s not everything,” said Lum, an alumna who enjoyed the Empty Keg as a student. “Just having a place where faculty feel welcome — along with the undergraduate and graduate students — that’s the whole key. I hope that the new Beef’s can pull that off. I think they will.”

Some students believe the presence of alcohol won’t be an issue as long as students remain mature.

“I think it’s fine as long as people realize they are still at school,” saId Josef Rios, a junior majoring in psychology. “If they’re stupid about drinking, they have to realize it’s going to affect all of us.”