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Renovated Thirsty Ear Pub Boasts New Schedule of Events

By Austin Frakt
Staff Reporter

The Thirsty Ear Pub started this semester with a major $10,000 face-lift and a new schedule of weekly and monthly events.

The pub, located in the basement of Ashdown House, has served as a regular meeting place for members of the MIT community. It received a loan in the spring to make renovations and to add new entertainment equipment and furniture.

In addition, the pub has scheduled regular weekly and special monthly events, including weekly Monday Night Football parties and monthly wine tasting parties.

On Saturday, the pub will host its second wine tasting party of the semester. This month's theme is Italian wines and the price, $12 for students and $15 for non-students, includes dinner. The last wine tasting event of the semester will be held in December and will feature champagne.

In addition, the Thirsty Ear now holds a license to host live entertainment, which includes bands, comedians, and other live performers.

Plans slowed by ADA requirement

The Thirsty Ear executive committee began the process of planning a renovation for the pub in 1994. An architect was hired and a small-scale cardboard model of the changes was built.

A change in plans that required moving the main entrance slowed the renovation process. The original plans ended up being canceled because of the higher cost required to make the renovated pub compliant with the 1990 American with Disabilities Act.

"Ashdown House is not currently ADA compliant. However, all new construction or renovation work at MIT must be ADA compliant," said Yonald Chery G, chair of the committee. "That nearly tripled the cost of our renovations plan, making it way over budget."

As an alternative to structural renovation, the pub took out a $10,000 loan last spring to add new entertainment equipment and furniture and to make changes behind the bar.

About $6,500 went toward the purchase of a projection screen television, a home theater sound system, a VCR, tables, and chairs. The remaining $3,500 was spent on enlarging the area behind the bar, adding a dishwashing machine, and purchasing new glassware. The changes were completed over the summer.

"The original equipment was failing and we wanted to make some improvements," Chery said. "The housing office was extremely patient, amiable, and supportive throughout this whole process. In the interest of improving graduate life on this campus, they even sponsored the loan."

Pub complements Muddy Charles

The Thirsty often serves as a meeting place for MIT graduate students, staff, faculty, and others who enjoy the inexpensive drinks and friendly atmosphere at the pub.

"Its a good atmosphere where you can feel at home, and the drinks are cheap," said Joseph E. Nemec G.

"It's a good place to hang out. There are friendly people and a good atmosphere," said Myron L. Freeman, who works the department of electrical engineering and computer science. "A lot of staff come in Friday night to cap off the week."

The Thirsty Ear Pub opened in the early 1980s and its name is rumored to be a play on the name of a popular San Francisco club called the Hungry Eye.

The pub is open every weekday until 1 a.m. and reserves the weekends for special events. Campus groups may rent out the pub on weekends and now may have live music groups or other live entertainment.

The Thirsty Ear and the Muddy Charles, located in Walker Memorial, are the only two pubs on campus. However, the Thirsty does not view itself in competition with the Muddy.

"We try to complement, not compete with, the Muddy Charles," Chery said. "We strive to offer different kinds of events. Because they used to do jazz lunches, we haven't. Likewise, we do wine tastings since they haven't."