The official opening date of The Bear’s Den, a recently-named pub planned for the Ivy Room in Willard Straight Hall, has been postponed from this spring until fall 2012 because of delays in obtaining a liquor license, according to University administrators and students.
The opening has been postponed several times throughout the past year, often due to the difficulty of obtaining a liquor license. Despite the setback, The Bear’s Den will be open four times during the spring semester for special events run by Cornell Catering.
Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67 said that the events in the spring will serve as a trial run for the pub’s opening in the fall. Its name, “The Bear’s Den,” was announced in December following a vote by the student body.
“Currently, the way things are working, the spring semester will be kind of a test semester where we will do a number of events that will be programmed by students,” Hubbell said. “It’s a phase in which we will prove the concept and take care of logistical details that are coming forward.”
He added that although the delay is unfortunate, it was not entirely unexpected.
“It takes a long time for [the application for a liquor license] to make its way through state and governmental agencies that are in charge of granting licenses,” he said. “I would have hoped that we could have moved more quickly … but given the realities of the situation, it’s not surprising.”
The pub will partner with Cornell Catering to receive a temporary liquor license for the four events in the spring, according to Student Assembly President Natalie Raps ’12.
“The first [event] will be the Super Bowl, with big-screen TVs set up,” Raps said. “Cornell Dining will be testing out its new menu with foods like wings and fries ... beer, wine and sangria will also be served.”
Raps added that the three other events will be held in March and April.
“Their themes haven’t necessarily been decided yet, but they will be co-sponsored by other organizations,” she said.
The trial events will allow the pub to identify problems in its operation, according to Robert Callahan ’14, pub director of the Student Union Board.
“We will be using this semester to test crowd management procedures, concerns we have with event layout, issues with speaker systems and anything else that comes up,” he said.
Callahan also explained how the pub’s new name was chosen.
“We had an event on Ho Plaza where we gave away root beer and anyone could suggest a name,” Callahan said. “We had a few hundred submissions, and we brought them down to a list of 15.”
Callahan said this list was then emailed to all undergraduates. Of nearly 13,000 responses, the name “The Bear’s Den” received 6,822 votes, he added.
“[The Bear’s Den] had twice as many votes as the second-place choice,” Callahan said.
Despite the delay, Raps spoke optimistically about the future of The Bear’s Den.
“I think it’s going along schedule,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that have to be accomplished before you can do something of this magnitude.”
Hubbell echoed her sentiments.
“It’s a big change, and it’s not surprising that it will take some time,” he said.