Mojo Main opens its doors to under-21 patrons, brings nightlife activity to underclassmen
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
A crowd of underage students lined up outside Mojo Main last Wednesday night in anticipation of experiencing the local bar scene at one of the few Main Street locations that allow underage patrons to enter.
Mojo’s Wednesday night dance parties have become especially well-liked among the university’s underclassmen, according to Mojo Main owner and General Manager Jamie McKay.
“The varsity lacrosse team started the Wednesday night tradition and, from there, it really blossomed into the whole college crowd,” McKay said. “I’d say 99 percent of people here on Wednesday night are college kids, and it’s by far our busiest night of the week.”
Sophomore Sal Ulloa, 19, said he is excited about the underage policy and plans to take advantage of it. He said he thinks every bar at the university should allow underage students to enter and not drink.
Ulloa said Mojo allowing underage people to enter gives more opportunities for nightlife activities.
“We usually just chill out and play video games on weeknights, but tonight we’re going to Mojo’s,” Ulloa said.
Some students 21 and older feel skeptical about Mojo’s policy, such as Senior Chelsea Allen, 22, who said Newark bars are already overcrowded on the weekends and allowing underage students into the bars would only make lines longer.
Allen also said she thinks this could make monumental occasions, such as birthdays, less special.
“Turning 21 and finally being allowed to experience the bar scene here is a rite of passage,” Allen said. “It makes the bars more exclusive and sure, it’s unfortunate that some of your friends can’t come yet, but it definitely makes your 21st birthday a lot more special.”
Some managers of busy bars in Newark are also skeptical about admitting underage students.
Emily Dryer, Grotto’s Pizza’s manager, said as a corporation, it would be too risky for Grotto’s to have a similar policy.
“Because of our larger size, the risks far outweigh the relatively small benefits of underage business,” Dryer said. “Since we haven’t been any less busy on Wednesday nights, there’s little incentive for us to shoulder that kind of liability.”
Klondike Kate’s Nighttime Manager Bob Baker said he is also reluctant to apply this policy to his business. He said the establishment discussed the idea but decided the possible hazards were too great.
Baker said Klondike Kate’s has formed great bonds over the years with the Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Newark Police Department and the university police and would not be willing to compromise those connections.
“Our liquor license is very important to us, and we neither want to jeopardize that nor our relationship with those organizations,” Baker said.
McKay said Mojo Main employees closely monitor underage customers through their zero-tolerance alcohol policy and in no way advocates underage alcohol consumption. Mojo’s patrons receive wrist bands indicating whether they are underage or over and are closely watched by employees to ensure there is no underage drinking.
But underage drinking will inevitably happen on a college campus regardless of his policy, he said.
“Underage drinking is something we deal with a lot, but we’re very on top of it,” McKay said. “Our number one priority is to control it, especially on Wednesday nights. We want everyone to be safe and have fun. Most people do just that, which makes for a great time here.”