Students celebrate early with beer, eggs

By the time you read this, there will already be people knocking back green beer downtown.

It’s a St. Patrick’s Day ritual several bars have observed for years, with some opening as early as 6 a.m.

While Bowling Green Mayor John Quinn sent letters to bars discouraging them from opening early the last two years, he refrained from sending any this year.

“We think the letter had run its course,” he said. “Those who were gonna cooperate were going to, and those who weren’t gonna cooperate weren’t.”

The letters were sent out to prevent problems caused by the early drinkers during the day.

“In the middle of the day, you don’t expect to get knocked over by a drunk walking down the street,” Quinn said. “We’ve always felt there’s no socially redeeming value to serving alcohol at 5:30 in the morning.”

Despite the letters, some bars opened early last year. One of them was Campus Quarters Bar and Grill, which opens at 8 a.m. today.

Joe Kostelnik, the bar’s owner, said St. Patrick’s Day brings in a lot of business.

“A lot of the bars obliged [the city’s letters] and missed out on that business,” Kostelnik said of last year.

But Bob Everhart, owner of Ziggy Zoomba’s, is playing it safe – he opens his bar and grill at 11 a.m. today.

“I probably would open early if it wasn’t discouraged,” Everhart said. “But I’m not gonna be a bar that they get their attention on.”

He said other bars who open early are taking their chances of getting cited.

Ziggy Zoomba’s, which is normally open to all ages because it serves food, will be 21-and-up only today.

“I’m not gonna worry about Liquor Control getting their [undercover] underage person and trying to get me cited,” he said.

Kostelnik, whose bar is normally exclusive to 21-year-olds, is concerned with citations for serving excessively drunk customers.

“We’re very good about not over serving people, [we] make people drink water,” he said. “I’ll be here from open to close. It’s my business on the line.”

Agents from the Division of Liquor Control’s Investigative Services Unit inspected Bowling Green’s bars the last two years.

While Quinn asked Liquor Control to send agents again this year, he didn’t know yesterday if they would send anyone.

Either way, police will be beefed up for the day, he said.

Campus police Chief Jim Wiegand said campus rarely sees problems on St. Patrick’s Day.

“I don’t have more staff [on duty] but they’re cognizent that it’s a big party day,” Wiegand said.

He gave several suggestions to students who do drink today.

“Know your tolerance level; don’t drink to excess; don’t put yourself in a position that you don’t know who you’re with,” he said. “For females, keep your drink in your hand and don’t set it down.”

As for those who aren’t drinking today, Wiegand said tolerance of drinkers is important.

“Try to look after those people who can’t look after themselves,” he said.