Campus bar changes direction from a dance club to a cozy pub
This past summer, Mount Allison’s campus bar, the Pond, went through some major changes. Students may remember the Pond for its murals, sticky floors and poor lighting, but the Pond has an updated rustic pub look with brand new tables, booths, a pool table and a fresh paint job.
“Students were not coming to the pub,” said Andy Hebert, manager of ancillary operations, who led the renovations. “We started doing focus groups, we started doing surveys to find out why people didn’t like the space. We were trying to be a dance club and it was just too small. People didn’t feel comfortable in the space – it was too hot, too dark.”
The changes were first proposed by former MASU president Ryan LeBreton in the summer of 2016. The University took a year to consult students and gather feedback. Over this past summer, the University funded the changes and the MASU collaborated to help shape the new direction of the bar.
Eduardo Bracho, a Mt. A student who works for Event Services, described the new vibe as “pub-feeling.” The bar is now open for lunch and dinner, and is in the process of expanding its menu.
Eva Gourdji, a fourth-year student and bartender, mentioned the increased lighting. “It was very poorly lit as well as kind of dark which made it feel unsafe, so we definitely have way more lights,” Gourdji said. “It’s more of a social space than a party room.”
The Pond’s changes aim to bring a larger and more diverse crowd to the bar.
Gourdji has already noticed a difference in clientele. “[It was an] exclusive space where only certain people would go on certain dates, and this year on the Wednesday and Thursday nights it’s been crowded but with such a mix of people,” she said.
Fourth-year student Shaelee Mitchinson, a Pond regular, likes the new changes to the campus bar and described the new ambience as “an intimate vibe” and “cozier.”
The Pond now has an entertainment committee that will help shape its new direction. MASU President Sara Camus said that the changes were guided by feedback from students that focused on the need for the bar to be a getaway from the stress of university life.
“The aesthetic that was chosen was to be an escape – a warmer rustic tone,” Camus said. ”I really like that it’s a casual space now, where students are encouraged to not have their sole focus of their night be drink specials and dancing.”
While the Pond may have a fresh new look, only time will tell whether students embrace the changes.