By Jilleen Barrett, Managing Editor/Features Editor
Fenwicks Pub will now host “college nights,” a revival to the rule that was enacted last spring that said only Manhattan College students could enter the bar on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between the hours of 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.
This rule was developed in February after a fight broke out between two groups of people, none of which were students. Essentially, someone in one group had put enough money in the jukebox to skip over someone from the other group’s selected song and play a different song instead.
This semester, however, students can expect to see non-Manhattan College students in the bar again — but only if they have an ID from a different college.
“I’d love to open it up to other colleges in the area — mostly Mount St. Vincent and Fordham University students,” Rich Puentes, the owner of Fenwicks, told The Quadrangle. “I think that we might just open it up to them as well.”
Nicole Leone, a senior at Manhattan, wanted to go into Fenwicks with her sister last spring, when bouncers only admitted those with Manhattan College student IDs. Her sister, who attends a different college, was not able to get in that night.
Leone said this may influence where she takes her sister if she ever visits her in the Bronx again.
“Honestly I think it probably is for the better because of the incident with the gun, they want to keep it safe which is understandable,” Leone wrote in a message to The Quadrangle. “However, next time she comes I probably won’t bring her because there are other bars we can go to without her having a student ID.”
Despite the checking of many young person’s student IDs at the door, some students have noticed that a usual crowd of non-MC students, or those who do not look “college-aged”, have been admitted to the bar. These customers, Puentes told The Quadrangle, are locals of the Riverdale area.
Puentes feels strongly that certain locals who have spent a lot of time and money at Fenwicks — especially during the pandemic — should be allowed into the bar, as long as they arrive before 8 p.m., on the nights that are designated to college students.
“They’re family, they’ve always come here and there’s no way that I could deny entry to the locals that come here and spend money every single day,” Puentes said. “The college kids have to understand that … I’ve also just set up a specific slot for them to come and enjoy the time as well. So I try my best to kind of keep both crowds happy.”
Jessica, a psychology major at the college who chose not to reveal her last name, frequents Fenwicks and feels this poses a challenge for college-aged women when they go out with their friends.
“I mean, most of them are harmless, I would say, but it’s a little creepy when there’s the older men hanging around, and they approach you and you just don’t really want to be in that situation,” Jessica said.
Jessica added that she only feels safe in Fenwicks because she usually goes with a group of both men and women. Having male friends who can intervene, she said, is important to her as she has witnessed women in Fenwicks who have had to face those situations alone.
“It’s very frustrating,” she said. “As a young girl … you can be taken advantage of, even if they just want to talk to a young girl and flirt with them. It’s still uncomfortable and you don’t want to be in that situation, and it feels like you don’t have control.”
In response to this concern, Puentes told The Quadrangle if there is ever a situation where someone is made to feel uncomfortable, they should report it to security or a bartender so he can look at the security cameras and evaluate the issue himself.
“This is a tough situation because I can’t really do anything with hearsay situations like this,” Puentes wrote in an email. “I also can’t do much if a patron is ‘hitting’ on another patron. It’s a public space … I’m sorry that some feel like that but there isn’t much I can do unless I have more information.”
Puentes said he has also attempted to address safety for students after they leave Fenwicks. Citing that “nothing great happens after 2 a.m.” in any bar, Puentes said he will be closing Fenwicks at 2 a.m. every night in an effort to keep his clients out of unsafe situations. Previously, Fenwicks stayed open until 4 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
“I’ve spoken to students and people who are upset [about Fenwicks closing at 2 a.m.] because college students like to party all night long,” Puentes said. “The flip side of that is that crazy people are also out at that time … I’d rather everybody be safe and I think that two o’clock is a strong cut off time.”
Puentes said he wants his patrons to know that if they have any issues in Fenwicks, especially relating to safety, they should direct message the bar’s Instagram account @fenwickspub or email him at email@example.com.
In addition to the new rules, Puentes is also finishing up the Fenwicks app, which he has been planning since the incident last spring. The app, which he hopes will be accessible by the end of September, will include a flash pass to skip the line to get in, a feature to earn points by spending money and a messaging system to communicate with Rich directly.
“It’s my hope that people will download the app and that’s another place where we can communicate in another open space. People can share pictures, videos, people can spend their money and get credit. And in this way, Fens (Fenwicks) is also giving back in that way,” Puentes said.
Puentes said that his main goal in Fenwicks is to provide a space where college students can enjoy their weekends and feel safe while doing so.
“I try to do things to get people in right away, because once you’re in here, you’re safe,” Puentes said. “Once you’re in here, you’re having a good time.”