The Union main bar has finally re-opened after the redevelopment that saw it closed for most of last year. The bar itself now sits proudly in the middle of the space when you walk in, and looks wonderfully shiny and new. Some have argued that it has forfeited space for style. Now that the scrum of Freshers’ Week is over, however, I’m sure the bar space will be an ideal venue for a standard Friday night out. There are plenty of tables and Rule-esque booths dotted around that are infinitely more stylish and comfortable than the old metal stools and worn sofas that oc-cupied the bar before.
Sandy’s Bar is an excellent addition to the Union, allowing for a more relaxed, chilled-out space with large comfy sofas arranged in such a way that large groups can relax without feeling cramped. I can foresee this place becoming very popular for a quiet, cheap midweek pint or two, whilst the main bar will I’m sure be rammed at weekends.
One thing that I think didn’t impress anyone coming to the Union during Freshers’ Week, however, was the fact that after midnight you needed to pay £2 entry just to get
into the building. I have never heard of any union at any university where you have to pay entry to get in. We may expect to pay a few quid when we go to The Vic or The Lizard as they are privately owned and operated. But with a student body largely
paying between £9,000 and £15,000 a year to be here, and flush with cash from the 600th anniversary, it seems utterly ridiculous that the University couldn’t stretch to an extra few hundred quid each night, if that.
I am assured that the charge was simply due to reduced capacity during Freshers’ Week, and will be dropped from now on. But something tells me that the aim of the £2 entry after midnight was to make sure students came and spent money in the union bars rather than simply turning up after midnight for a drunken dance at the Bop. Hopefully the issue won’t raise its ugly head again.
The next stage of the redevelopment looks set to improve the Venue 1 space, and turn it into a flexible performing, music and club area. Given the sterling job they did with the main bar redesign, I’m personally really excited to see what they do with it. I may be in 4th year by the time it is completed, but I will be sure to make extensive use of it before I leave.
At last, the Union building is waking up to the 21st century. Hopefully, when the skips are removed and the scaffolding packed up, we will finally have a Union that matches our university’s high academic standards