By Ryan Connelly
During the course of summer 2019, the pub, a campus staple with countless memories within its walls, is being renovated.
On all of the panels currently in the pub, there are thousands of names carved into the wood. Names which belong to past alumni who shared memories in the pub together. Those wooden panels mean so much to the alumni of Rider that they are being preserved.
“I’m going to miss the memories of it,” said Nick Barbati, assistant director of campus life for activities and student engagement. “There are so many times working at Rider that you attach memories to a major event. I can honestly say from overseeing the pub, some of my favorite nights ever were just walking downstairs and seeing some of our pub bartenders and talking with them. It’s definitely something I hold in my heart.”
On April 12, there was an event held in the pub for alumni to come back one last time and enjoy each other’s company before the renovations began this summer. It just so happened to fall on the same night as Rider Rock Fest, which made the pub packed like it used to be.
“Alumni are going to have a lot of sentimental views, I was kind of expecting a lot of people to be bummed about the change,” said Barbati. “Personally, I didn’t hear a lot of that. In fact, when we had this event, there was just a lot of great energy to it.”
Barbati has been in charge of the Pub since September 2007. It was one of his first roles when he was hired at Rider. He had a huge part to do with planning the new layout, alongside his graduate assistant Chris Johnson and senior international business major Kevin Burns.
“Nick Barbati has been so influential in this process. His experience, his knowledge and his ear to the students about what they want has been pivotal,” said Michael Reca, vice president for facilities and university operations. “It has been so helpful to have him this deeply engaged.”
Roughly 20 people pooled their minds together to help design the new layout for the pub. They worked closely with architects to complete their vision of what the new pub should look like.
“We’re going to make it a brighter space,” said Reca. “The wall panels are coming off, we’re adding more windows, brighter lighting and different flooring. [There’s] going to be new seats, a new bar, table service for ordering food, beer and wine, but it will be like a sports bar. Out of the total project, [it’s going to cost] between $1 million and $1.5 million.”
On the new walls, they plan to have many Rider logos spread across the bar along with TVs everywhere. On the menu, they plan to have finger foods, sandwich baskets and chef-made meals, as well. There is going to be a host to seat people when they arrive, plus waiters and waitresses to serve at tables. The pub will be open throughout the day but only serve alcohol within a certain time frame that has not been decided yet.
“With students now, they all need a vibrant space to go to and I think the pub is going to produce that,” said Barbati. “It’s going to have a new feel to it, so we’re going to have a venue where students can go any day of the week. I think this will be much more in line with what students want.”