With a new name, Rider’s pub is finding new vision post pandemic

By Shaun Chornobroff

When Rider unveiled a redesigned pub alongside an overhauled design of Cranberry’s in the fall of 2019, the school hoped it’d be a gathering place for students. With an array of televisions, table service and the convenience of being on campus, The Pub was well on its way.

That was until COVID-19.

Pandemic-related restrictions strangled the original concept of how The Pub was supposed to operate, going from in-house seating and service to a grab- and-go setup. The bar became less crowded and as a whole, the hotbed of students The Pub brought in pre-pandemic was gone.

“As soon as we started to ramp up the semester ended. As soon as we got back, it started to ramp up, then [the pandemic] hit,” said Michael Reca, Rider’s vice president for facilities and university operations. “It never got into personality development. That’s the stuff we want to do now.”

With The Pub recently being renamed to Muller’s Pub after a $500,000 donation from the family of the namesake and the university starting to adjust to a new normal in a world that isn’t as paralyzed by the pandemic, the hope is that a rebrand can help the establishment become synonymous with students at the university.

Among the changes being discussed is a return to food being brought straight to customers, similar to the way The Pub operated before the pandemic, potentially giving those at Muller’s Pub more incentive to sit down and enjoy the experience the bar provides.

“I think that would be one way to get people to enjoy the space a bit more, if there was table service,” said Rider Pub Manager Timothy Trivisonno ‘10. “Ultimately, that’s something that we’re discussing, but it takes a process, it’s more easily said than done.”

Elise Spedding, a senior public relations major, is amidst her second year of being a bartender at Muller’s Pub.

Before the pandemic ravaged the end of her freshman year, she was a regular at Muller’s Pub and decided she wanted to get a job there since she enjoyed the environment and had positive experiences there.

“I literally have a video of a time when there were no tables open,” Spedding said. “It was really packed and people could go watch the games, have events there and that was part of the appeal.”

Even Spedding admits the dynamic of the bar she serves at now is distant from the one she knew in her first year as a college student.

“Less people actually order drinks now or sit at the bar portion of it,” Spedding explained. “Now people just kind of go and grab their food. The pub itself, the mechanics of it, minus the food, is the same. I think that people have changed.”

Muller’s Pub is routinely reserved for events held by school organizations, which Trivisonno said is
a strategy that has been successful in bringing in patrons.

When Trivisonno was a student at Rider, The Pub was much different than what students know today. But due to the workload he had, being a member of the wrestling team, he said he didn’t have the ability to spend a large amount of time at the eatery.

However, when he reminisces on the dive bar- esque establishment, with walls marked by years of collegiate recklessness, Trivisonno remembers the student body having nothing but adoration for The Pub of old.

“I think anybody that has been to the old pub talks fondly about it. No one ever said anything negative about the old pub,” Trivisonno said. “We still have alumni that come back and they’re like, ‘Oh, we missed the wooden walls where everything was carved into.”

Trying to rewire students, who have spent a large part of their college experience stuck indoors bounded by a global pandemic to spend time in Muller’s Pub instead of their dorm room is a formidable task. But for Trivisonno, he said he just wants to provide the safe haven of enjoyment his friends had when they were students.

“I think that’s what we want to continue building upon,” Trivisonno said. “Having a place where there’s familiarity and there’s comfortability, and it’s their main hang out.”

Related Articles

Back to top button