As far as running a bar goes during Ohio University’s Homecoming Weekend, Crystal manager John Oberlin summed up the sentiments of a lot of uptown bar staffs: “It’s a whole ordeal.”
In preparation for the large influx of former Bobcats and current students, Athens uptown bars stock up on beer and spirits far ahead of time.
Jackie O’s prepares for the alumni by doubling up on their unique brews.
“The past few Homecomings, we’ve really stocked up,” Liam McDonald, a Jackie O’s Brewery staff member, said.
Bruce Reede, manager of Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery, said the bar will stock 10 extra kegs for each of its two locations on West Union Street to satisfy cravings of OU alumni who can’t purchase the stouts and IPAs in their hometowns.
“We definitely do get a lot more alumni,” Reede said. “We’re their favorite craft beer.”
But for Jackie O’s, stocking up isn’t a huge problem. All it takes is an extra run down to Campbell Street.
“We’re a brewery so we don’t really have to buy more beer here,” Reede said.
On top of selling barrel-loads of classic Jackie O’s brews such as Razz Wheat, Reede said the bar will stock up with two extra cases of vodka and various other liquors, adding that Jameson is a popular choice.
Though Jackie O’s focuses more on stocking up on beer, other popular bars shift their focuses to stronger spirits.
Oberlin said though alumni would rather sit down and enjoy a beer, the student population is more partial to stronger mixed cocktails.
To keep up with Homecoming festivities, Oberlin said the Crystal stocked up with five extra cases of vodka and 20 extra kegs.
The extensive orders help keep up with the early bar-goers out to celebrate festivities, he said.
“(Alumni) will show up more towards noon,” Oberlin said, adding that current students are more likely to show up closer to 6 p.m.
“It’s a fun time though,” he said.
Eric Moss, the owner and operator of the Overhang, said the bar buys nearly four times the amount of alcohol than normal because so many people return to Athens.
“It’s standing room only, like all the bars,” Moss said. “It’s really tough to move around.”
For some bars, Bobcat family shenanigans aren’t the only issue.
Cat’s Eye bartender Andy Brinck said the bar sees so many patrons and sales that the cooler has to be kept to capacity.
“You sell so much stuff, it’s hard to keep it all cold,” Brinck said.
As of last weekend, the bar’s cooler was stocked floor to ceiling with nearly no walking room for employees.
As a result, employees often have to venture into other storage locations and bring up warm beer for the cooler as soon as space becomes available, Brinck said.
“Come Friday, you sell so much … that’s the real challenge,” he said.
Normally though, Brinck maintained, bartenders focus on keeping commonly ordered beverages, such as Bud Light, cold and ready for patrons.
Brinck didn’t know the exact numbers of excess alcohol purchased, but he said it’s “a lot.” Regardless, he added that the bar sometimes runs out of choice drinks.
“Usually, if we run out of something, it’s something smaller,” Brinck said.