Shooters Saloon is now a members-only venue.
Starting today, students must have $1 membership or come with a member to get into Shooters. The saloon’s owner Kim Cates recently doubled the cover charge for students under 21 because they were destroying property, tearing things up and trying to get in with fake IDs, and the problem has only gotten worse. She hopes the membership policy, which comes with a card and can be bought at the door, will make students feel that they have a bigger stake in the club.
“I’m hoping that... signing up to be a member will make [students] feel like a part of Shooters now,” Cates said. “Maybe they’ll respect this place a little bit more.”
The cover charge has been lowered again for underage members, allowing them to pay $5 for entry instead of $10.
When asked if membership would exclusively be offered to Duke students, Cates declined to comment.
Shooters is a “private club,” she noted. According to state regulation of alcoholic beverages, private clubs must charge clients for membership. But, up until now, Cates said she had not been doing this.
“For the most part, everybody was getting in,” Cates said. “I was letting just Duke students in—I wasn’t really doing what I was supposed to.”
The new policy was announced Monday evening on club owner Kim Cates’ Facebook page, with a headline reading “ATTN: Duke Students.” Cates said she does not plan to further publicize this policy other than through word of mouth.
“If we all work together, we can all accomplish one goal and that is to get along and do what’s right and enjoy ourselves,” Cates said.
Students have mixed views on what this means for their Shooters experience.
Sophomore Katlyn Walther said that this only perpetuates the stereotype that Duke students and Durhamites do not mix.
“This could come off negatively,” Walther said. “It’s not a good thing [to] reinforce our culture. You’ve got to think about kids who came from Durham.”
Junior Kevin Nikolaus said public reaction will not be so harsh to the new policy because it comes on the heels of the raised underage cover charge. In fact, it could actually encourage students discouraged by the fee to return to Shooters, he added.
“It might slightly irritate [students] but mainly it’s making up for the fact that they have raised the fee,” Nikolaus said. “Most of the bad response it would have received was already received for the raising of the door price.”
Walther said she does not think the policy will not change much in the way of Shooters attendance. She added that Shooters is really the only place where all Duke students can see each other without the respective divisions of their affiliations.
“[With] the novelty of going to Shooters, [people who don’t go often] will tack on with somebody or cave and get the membership,” Walther said. “I’ll probably get the membership, it just makes sense. Where else do we all go? Where else do we congregate? The merging happens at Shooters.”