The Keg of Evanston is dead.
Not to bump down a fantastic football breakdown from MountainTiger, a roundup of weekend sports by Herman, and a spectacular piece on Bill Carmody's production at the center position by Loretta - this is ostensibly a sports blog - but I have to post on this front.
Evanston mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl decided to revoke The Keg's liquor license today,and I'm disappointed, for two reasons, both of which I will explain.
I. This is monumentally stupid.
Mayor Tisdahl, you are in charge of a city with many things in it, including a prestigious research university. You removed the liquor license of a bar which frequently serves that student body's populace for serving underage drinkers, in hopes of preventing them from doing so.
As long as there is a college with a large percentage of 17-20 year olds in your city, with the exception of BYU, and probably not even there, there will be underage people drinking alcohol. This isn't me being rebellious, this is fact. No matter what, young adults below the legal drinking age will somehow find a way to come into contact with alcohol, whether it be from their friends, through using a fake ID, or random parties. You cannot underage drinking from happening.
One of two things is going to happen, in fact, most likely, both are going to happen. Instead of going to the Keg - since you closed it - people will drink under the age of 21 somewhere else. What happened Monday and Saturday nights at the Keg will just happen at some other establishment in your city. I'm over the age of 21, but I'm confident that someone with a good fake and some credit cards can get served at every damn bar and restaurant in Evanston, even the ones that "card hard". There's a place a we go pretty routinely in downtown Evanston where the waitresses don't ask for my friend's ID anymore because we're there every week, and he's not 21. The Keg was not the only offender, could never be the only offender, and unless you plan on closing every business in your town, this is being picky. Sure, the extent to which underage people drank at the Keg might have been higher, but I predict another place takes its title, quicker than you think. (This doesn't even take into account that most underage drinking in Evanston doesn't happen at bars, or the fact that fakes work at liquor stores.)
Secondly, although you can't stop underage drinking, you can make it more difficult, and making underage drinking more difficult makes it more dangerous. By closing the Keg, you are taking an establishment where underage drinking could easily have been policed and monitored to make sure everybody is safe and asking people to do it elsewhere. If this plan works, and what happened above doesn't happen, and bars become so strict that they don't allow people under 21 to drink there, people under 21 will drink in private. A bartender can tell someone they've had too much, and someone who has had too much in a crowd of 500 people will get sent to the hospital. Someone in a dorm room or off-campus apartment might not know when someone has had too much, and someone with three of their friends worried about not getting in trouble for underage drinking might not send someone who has had too much to the hospital. A controlled environment for underage drinkers isn't something to be abolished, its something to keep an eye on so underage drinkers only make dumb decisions and not fatal ones.
Closing the Keg will not stop underage drinking. It will, however, make it riskier. And that's awful policy.
II: I will dearly miss The Keg.
To be honest, I didn't really go to the Keg as a freshman or even in the early part of my sophomore year. I never owned a fake ID, but occasionally used others' to go. I'm not going to act like I was the biggest frequenter of the Keg. And now I'm 21, so my go-to for Mondays is Nevin's first.
But, damn, I really liked that place. I've never been a big bar guy, mainly because I'm cheap and can drink just as much with my friends for less. (Exception: McGee's, my favorite place in the world.) But you didn't go to the Keg to drink. First off, you had already been at a pre-game or mixer or just drinking - side note, people drank underage at the Keg, but did anybody ever go sober? I'm pretty sure I never did. Hint, underage people drank elsewhere! - you went to the Keg because everybody else at Northwestern was going there. Sure, you got a Big Cup, but you went there to see everybody. For better or worse, the Keg was the one place where you could guarantee you would see a decent amount of people you wanted to talk to, hook up with, or just say hey to on any given Monday or Saturday. I'm not sure where that place will be now.
Northwestern, we'll remember telling a guy who just almost beat Ohio State that at least he had less forehead wrinkles than Jared Sullinger, and congratulating every damn guy who somehow managed to get from beating Nebraska in Lincoln to Evanston in just about four hours. (This sentence is here so I can justify this post on a sports site, not because anybody cares.) We'll remember seeing those people we hadn't seen in forever. I'll remember successful and unsuccessful hookups. We'll remember cheesy popcorn and big cups.
But what's most important, Northwestern, is all the stuff we won't remember. For the things that were told to us the next day, and the girls/guys who you texted us their number last night whose name you've never even seen before.
Thanks, The Keg of Evanston, for the memories, but also for the ones we don't have. For all this, we'll miss you.
But yo: every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.