Improvements On Tap
As he drove home from work one evening, Pat Barry, the new
manager of E-Level, the Homewood campus pub, was mulling over an
image from earlier that day: two pub employees grunting and
groaning while hoisting kegs of beer up flights of stairs to the
He wondered if he could somehow construct the taps to run from ground level up to the bar upstairs. And what if, he thought, he ran the taps in tubes up along the ceiling? By the time he drove into his driveway, Barry had mentally created "The Main Vein," taps of clear acrylic tubes filled with beer running along the ceiling and into the bar.
That week he ran his idea by an engineering undergraduate, and not long after that, the student had a go-ahead from her professor to design The Main Vein for credit. The Main Vein should be in full gurgle this spring. That's the beauty of working at Hopkins, Barry says; no idea is too "out there."
Last week, Barry--who many on this campus already know as a former sergeant in the Security Department--and his crew of student pub managers held the grand opening for the new, revamped E-Level, which includes changes beyond The Main Vein.
No doubt the biggest change to E-Level is its new adjoining coffee house called the Jay's Nest. Originally the billiards room, it is now a cozy coffee bar featuring Starbuck's coffee drinks, a small stage for jazz and readings and, coming soon, chessboards painted on its tables and bookshelves that will be filled with free books (Barry, by the way, is now offering a free cup of coffee for those who donate books).
There are other changes: new pool tables in the main bar, a new menu called the Dean's List with sandwiches like The Brody and The Benedict. Gone is the Pizza Hut stall and in its place, a DJ's booth. And since the booth's red and white ceramic tiles is somewhat reminiscent of a shower stall, Barry plans to wrap a shower curtain around it and install a shower nozzle that pumps out fog.
On the surface, it may seem odd for a campus security officer to switch gears and take on the role of pub manager. But actually, it is a perfect fit for Barry. He's already a favorite among the students_last year he was awarded The Gold Cup, an annual award given by the senior class to the Hopkins faculty or staff member who has contributed significantly to student life. And after years of running the 24-hour security escort service, few Hopkins staffers have such a firsthand sense as he for the need for a fun, safe place for students to hang out.
"I want to keep these students safe, I don't want them drinking and then getting behind the wheel of a car, or walking home from a bar that's several blocks away late at night and taking the risk of getting mugged," Barry says. "All our bartenders go through an intense training program where they learn when a customer has had too much to drink. And they've been taught to cut them off, in a professional, non-confrontational manner."
E-Level is open to students, faculty and staff on Mondays and Tuesdays, from 2 p.m. to midnight; Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and is closed on Sundays.
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