After much anticipation, the arrival of alcohol at The Loop is certain to generate a buzz.
Last Wednesday, The Loop quietly opened its newly installed full bar, offering wine and beer that can be paid for on food points. The restaurant plans to serve an assortment of fruity cocktails alongside the essential staples as more experienced bartenders are trained.
“We didn’t have an announced opening—we wanted to keep things slow and get our feet wet," said The Loop Manager Owen Slomianyj. "This is our first full bar at the Loop, so it’s a little bit of a learning process."
Construction in the Bryan Center over the summer delayed the opening of the bar this Fall, said Director of Duke Dining Robert Coffey. Although The Loop had already obtained its liquor license, the bar could not operate without undergoing a lengthy approval process, which could not begin until the renovations were completed.
The Loop installed a bar to replace the void left by the Armadillo Grill's absence, Coffey said.
“When ‘Dillo chose not to renew their contract, we had a lot of calls and emails come in from students requesting that the same service be incorporated in the new part of the structure,” he said.
The types of beer and mixed drinks offered will depend on student suggestions, said The Loop Owner Dennis Lane.
“We’re very open to students’ feedback," said DUSDAC Co-chair Chris Taylor. "Can’t be free kegs of beer, but we want to give students what they want."
Although The Loop is currently serving only wine and beer, liquor should be available this weekend, Lane said.
The Loop’s renovated space will be outfitted with new seating and lighting, murals and a 70-inch screen TV for the patio, Lane said. The bar area plans to host trivia nights, karaoke and student music on a bi-weekly basis. The Loop also hopes to incorporate specials, beer and wine tastings, and games that utilize the patio.
“We want to make the bar a go-to place, not an afterthought,” Lane said.
The destination could become a central part of nightlife on campus, said junior Max Ramseyer, one of The Loop's new bartenders.
"What Duke needs more of is new, innovative places on campus to have fun—something outside of the same old cycle,” he said. “Here, you’re not going to get belligerent. It’s run by an official organization—people will sit down with food and have a 3-hour conversation.”
Lane said he intends to keep the atmosphere casual, affordable and less cave-feeling than ‘Dillo.
The Loop is expecting the majority of its traffic to occur on game days, Lane said, adding that there may be free pizza as part of a promotional special.
The anticipated impact on profit is minimal, as the Armadillo Grill generated only a small portion of its revenue from alcohol sales, Lane said.
“Eighty to 85 percent of people living on campus are not 21," Lane said. "If we could do 10 percent more than where we are now, that would be great, but you’re limited by the amount of people able to drink legally."
The Loop’s strict ID checking policy may deter underage students, but the bar promises non-alcoholic mixed drinks as well.
“Come for the mojitos,” Ramseyer said.