Well, not really odd, as some of these places were (or currently are) way popular…well, some for a few years, at least. At any rate, any of the below could potentially spin-off into its own dedicated chapter, so contribute away, and we’ll see what material we collect up. On with it...
Café Sbarro was a legitimately big Thursday night drinking destination (before heading over to the Balloon), and a Saturday night place as well. Let me backup: Sbarro’s -- yes the pizza joint -- opened in 1986 at 93 East Main Street…where GrassRoots is now. Sbarro’s originally shared the space with Hillary’s Gourmet Ice Cream and Coffee, but then Hillary’s left in '87, and Sbarro’s was able to get a liquor license. Their Fall 1991 drink specials on Saturdays were $1.25 import bottles, 50 cent drafts, and $3 for 64 oz pitchers of house beer. Sbarro’s then closed on June 8th, 1992 (I dug up an article in The Review about it); they just weren’t able to pay the bills…but yes, I also heard they were particularly lax on IDing. Cut forward to early 1994: Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant opens in Sbarro’s old space…only to close that same fall!
Mako's was a physically large surf / Caribbean motif bar in the Newark Shopping Center. It had a big boat thing outside in the parking lot. I think it opened in May '95, as I remember going there absolutely ONE time, soon before graduation. It was a cool place, but didn’t last long…was eventually replaced by La Tolteca for a stretch…
…speaking of Mexican, my crew occasionally headed to El Sombrero on Elkton Road, and absolutely on Cinco de Mayo. It closed in 1997…to reopen after four years of downtime as Lipsmackers! Now it’s Pat’s MVP.
Home Grown Café is among the classier places on Main Street; they added their bar in 2001, and one of the co-owners said in The Review’s November 2nd, 2001 edition that “It will not be a ‘get smashed’ environment.” Okay, so, maybe a “get a little toasty” environment? Anyway, Home Grown at this point is a Main Street mainstay, very popular.
Catherine Rooney’s opened on Main Street in 2010. Possibly diluting the pub contingent on Main Street, competing with Kate’s and Kildare’s? Or an absolute drinking destination?
Per Chelsey R, UD '14, “As of 2014, Rooney's beats out Kate's on Thursday nights. Their drink specials are pretty standard, $3.00 rail drinks, but the atmosphere is good for everyone. Downstairs they have a DJ and dancing, and upstairs they have a live band where it's much more relaxed but with music that you can still dance to. Think ‘80s and ‘90s hits up here, and some pretty horrible karaoke if a cute girl decides she wants to sing.”
Timothy’s opened in the Summer of 2001, as that White Clay Creek area was being developed. I had initially heard it was an “MBNA place,” meaning, it was geared more towards the UD grad crowd. I heard though circa 2005 it became big for a while on Fridays with current UD kids, and I’d totally understand stumbling over there (and back) if you lived on North Chapel or that end of East Cleveland.
Over by College Square, there was of course Bennigan’s, where UD students were known to put down a beer or three, but more so in the mid to late '80s. But wait, actually in College Square -- 461 to be exact -- was Players Restaurant and Saloon. They’d have Larry Roney on Tuesdays (he’d be at the East End on Wednesdays), and your usual competitive drink specials throughout the week. It then became Shooters circa 1993, and as John, UD '95 recalls, “Shooters was the best. They always played Blazing Saddles on a big screen in the back, and shots were only like 50 cents! Me and my friends would send shots out all over the bar, and do Mind Erasers until we were numb.”
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