Pop-up pub opens in Reis Hall, offers food and alcohol


Thebar at the Sycamore in Reis Hall featured several varieties of beer and wine for students older than 21 and faculty and staff members on Friday, Sept. 17. The Sycamore will open once per month.

“Legend has it that Timothy Alden himself planted the great sycamore in front of Bentley Hall in 1822 under the classical belief that certain trees planted at the southwest corner of a building would bring prosperity to the building’s inhabitants.”

This quote could be found on many signs that advertised The Sycamore, a pop-up pub in Reis Hall that had it’s opening on 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. on  Sept. 17. The event offered live music, food and drink — both alcoholic and nonalcoholic — for the attendees. Attendance was a mixture of administrators and other faculty members as well as students.

“(Reis Hall) is one of the most beautiful and historical buildings on Campus,” President Hilary Link said.“We have a vision for how it will, down the road, be renovated, but we also know that we have many other building and renovation priorities that are more student-centered and student-focused before we will get to Reis. In the meantime, it felt like a pity not to have people get to see it and use it and experience it.”

Students of all ages were welcomed to the event, but only those over 21 were served alcohol. Allegheny ID was required for entry into Reis Hall and a driver’s license or some other form of age affirming identification was required to drink.

The location for The Sycamore generated a lot of interest since Reis Hall, which used to be the library, had been closed to the campus community for the past three years. It was used as storage for the Bentley Hall renovations for a period of time as well as serving other functions. It was built in 1902 through a combined effort of Allegheny’s President at the time, William Henry Crawford, and various donors and designers, including W.E. Reis, whose donation funded the project but was kept private for some time. For years the Reis Hall Library hosted one of the largest collections of any college or university in the country.

President Hillary Link speaks with faculty members at The Sycamore.

The Sycamore is only one part of the plan that President Link and the college have been working on to bring the campus community back together following the socially stifling, but life saving protections caused by the pandemic.

According to Daisy Rundio, the marketing director for Parkhurst at Allegheny College, The Sycamore will be open again. The idea is to have The Sycamore open in Reis Hall at the same time approximately once a month, while also debuting and establishing new events to bring the community together.

“(The Sycamore)’s going to hopefully take off after this first event,” Rundio said.  “We really hope students and faculty enjoy it so that we can explore other avenues in the future.”

There was a large investment of time, money, and resources into making The Sycamore’s debut a successful one, presumably to justify its continuation in the future. For example the multitude of posters and placards that appeared all over campus in the days leading up to the opening which Courtney Hild, who works in the Financial Aid Office and was on the committee for the Sycamore says, was meant to “pique people’s interest.”

The advertising campaign was made to make up for the relative lack of information on The Sycamore and Reis Hall, with some community members not knowing what the event was going to be about, or that there was going to be alcohol available. The posters and placards gave information about the time and location for the event as well as some additional information like the menu of what food The Sycamore was offering.

A point of interest for The Sycamore that generated a buzz around campus was how it would be serving alcohol. However, the serving of alcohol was not a large focus during the planning of the event, but just a way to further facilitate the greater goal of bringing the campus community together. According to Link, the college and Parkhurst Dining worked together to acquire a liquor license that allows the college to serve drinks at events like The Sycamore and at home football games; despite this, the college is not trying to compete with local Meadville establishments that students of age can already go to.