At the beginning of winter break, staple GVSU spot Mully’s Bar and Grill closed its doors for good, with no notice to its staff or community. Mully’s Bar and Grill did not respond to comment regarding the reason for the hasty shutdown, preferring to text their employees days after what would be their final day. The aftermath of Mully’s closure left many shocked and confused, but maybe it shouldn’t have.
Any student who frequented the bar will say it was a dingy dive that was always full of friends. A majority of the shining memories of the bar lie in the friendships and memories made, not the bar itself. In fact, Mully’s owners were rarely the face of the establishment, it was more commonly the bar’s staff of students. The feeling of family was prominent at Mully’s, but its owners’ lack of accountability for the student patrons it cared for produces a more greedy, impersonal feeling. The bar had a history of violations in providing alcohol to minors and intoxicated persons which probably should have given it a poor reputation. Its shining reviews were not for its drinks, food or ambiance; they are from the sense of community there.
It’s hard to identify the owners of Mully’s because their presence was not always made to its patrons, if an owner was even present. A majority of responsibilities fell on the Mully’s staff, who seem to be the primary reason the bar even made it at all.
Now that the community has had time to process and mourn the loss of Mully’s, there should be a hope for improvement from the next establishment to move into the space. Preferably, a place that looks out for all of its patrons, not one that is only looking to make a profit.
Being GVSU’s college bar was a large title for Mully’s, and one that was often rooted more in its heavy drinking culture than in its dedication to the university. This culture and the owners’ preference of profit over patron well-being is what led to the several violations slapped onto the bar’s front door.
As an establishment only 25 yards from GVSU’s campus, student patrons are of the most frequent and often have the most skewed views of drinking responsibly thanks to years of binge drinking at almost every college party and event. A bar that primarily serves the student demographic needs to not only be on the lookout for minors, but also remain aware of how heavy drinking culture can alter a student’s understanding of responsible drinking. Just because there is a chance to make a profit off a binge-drinking patron does not mean an establishment should keep handing them alcohol.
Understanding how stress and drinking culture affect student patrons is essential to creating a safe bar space. Even an establishment that serves alcohol can promote responsible drinking. The next bar to fill Mully’s spot needs to be keeping these things in mind if they want to avoid the same mistakes and eventual downfall that plagues Mully’s Bar and Grill.