The campus watering hole, Wiseguys, is no more, leaving many students without their favorite hangout.
Wiseguys was closed after the holders of the lounge’s liquor licence, the Bison Football Alumni and Friends Association, decided to cancel the licence.
As a result, the lounge’s lease has been terminated by the university, and they will not be reopening on campus.
A representative from the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) confirmed that the licence had not been revoked by the MLCC, but cancelled on request of the licensee.
MLCC communications co-ordinator Susan Harrison explained that because Wiseguys was licensed as a private club, their liquor licence must be held by a non-profit organization.
“There are certainly other licences available to them, they just can’t hold the licence that they held because they are not a non-profit organization,” said Harrison.
University spokesperson John Danakas said that the university will be assessing the possible uses of the space where the lounge was located, considering it is prime space in University Centre, but in the meantime will be working with student groups to provide other alternatives for holding events on campus.
“If there are elements of the student experience connected to that kind of environment, that kind of experience, we’ll work with student groups in trying to provide it in a reasonable manner,” said Danakas.
Danakas also pointed out that the Degrees restaurant also holds a liquor licence, and that it is expected that there will be a more public lounge experience once the building of the new Blue Bombers stadium is complete.
Still, many students are still grieving the loss of their beloved campus pub.
“Where are we supposed to drink during school hours?” lamented University of Manitoba faculty of engineering student Taylor McIntyre.
Jared Bruce, a student in the faculty of science, felt the closure was a huge setback for faculty associations and student groups, who frequently used the lounge as a location for events.
“For me, that’s the biggest thing. They put a lot of time into that,” said Bruce.
Grayson Wells, a student in the faculty of kinesiology and recreation management, said he was disappointed with the closure because it was a great place to meet new people on campus, especially for students living in residence.
“I’ve been to other universities around Canada playing football and every campus has a place you can go sit down and have drinks,” said Wells.
“The University of Alberta has three places you can go, and now with the U of M you’re going to be going to places off campus where there could be more incidents, where it’s not just students.”
Owners of Wiseguys and members of the Bison Football Alumni and Friends Association were not available for comment.