Sandy can’t rain on the bars’ parade as hurricane specials rule the weekend
Student Life Editor
As the east coast flooded with rain from Hurricane Sandy, Keene State College students drowned themselves in booze when the Keene bar scene embraced the superstorm with their own “hurricane specials.”
Cobblestone Ale House manager Keith Coll said he was surprised to walk into his bar Sunday, Oct. 28 to find a full house of college students. Coll explained Sunday and Monday nights at Cobblestone tend to be slow in business.
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“By eight or nine [p.m.] it kind of tails off,” Coll explained, “But due to the hurricane and classes being cancelled Sunday night, I got called in at 10 [p.m.] and I walked into my bar with about 70 kids in here, all partying and having a good time. For a regular Sunday it was just way beyond what I ever expected.”
And Sunday wasn’t the end of it. KSC administration announced the following night the college would not resume classes until noon the next day, prompting of age students to flock to the bars once again.
Coll said Cobblestone may have tripled in business due to a second day of class cancellations. He explained, “There was just a huge party in here, probably from about [2 p.m.] until we closed at 1 a.m. the following morning. So really, it doubled, maybe even tripled our business. It was a good time, the kids were well behaved and we all had fun.”
Cobblestone bartender Trevor O’Brien worked the Monday night and served a $2.50 ‘Soco Hurricane’ in respect to the Hurricane.
O’Brien said, “People were definitely far more intoxicated because of the storm—they found it to be a reason to party a little more,” he continued, “A lot of people were very excited like they had never seen a storm like this before and people were chanting ‘SANDY, SANDY, SANDY!’ so that was different.”
Coll said the “Grease” soundtrack blared through the jukebox as students laughed off the storm. Coll said he heard, “Tunes like ‘Sandy tunes’ from ‘Grease.’”
He said, “It was a little out of the ordinary.”
O’Brien commented on the rowdy crowd and said he wasn’t surprised by the turnout.
He said, “Were we prepared for an outrageous night? Yeah, we knew it— we’ve seen you guys in action before on snow days, and we had everything we needed,” O’Brien continued, “I don’t know how prepared we were in case anything happened like the power went out but as far as business wise we were prepared.”
Chris Gruner, a KSC senior, made his way to Cobblestone on Monday.
“I went to the bar because my only class the next day was cancelled. I live across the street from Cobblestone and there was a hurricane drink special and I knew that the bar would be poppin’. What else is there to do when it’s pouring rain outside and you have no classes? I figured if the hurricane was going to be bad I might as well have enjoyed my last drink with all of my wonderful friends!”
Senior, Emma Schwartz, had a similar mindset to Gruner’s. “I went to the bar Sunday night because I was expecting to not have school the next day,” she said. Schwartz said she found out classes were cancelled while drinking at Cobblestone, and explained that once the word spread, pandemonium ensued.
“While I was at the bar one of my friends got a text from Campus Safety saying that school was cancelled the next day. That’s when everyone went nuts and started screaming.” Schwartz said that while she had a fun night, she was aware that for others, the storm was not bringing a fun night out.
Senior Matt Shinske said that while he went to Cobblestone Monday night he was thinking about his parents in New Jersey who were without power.
Shinske said he went to Cobblestone because Cobblestone was “just down the street.”
He said he tried the bar’s special called “Hurricane.”
“It was tasty,” he said, “I had never had it before.”
Shinske said he wasn’t surprised to see the bar packed despite the storm.
“We’re college kinds. I would expect it,” he said.
Cobblestone wasn’t the only bar in town offering drink specials specifically for the Hurricane.
The Pour House offered $3 “Dark and Stormies,” “Perfect Storms” and “Hurricanes,” which manager Marty Griffin said coordinated with the storm theme quiet well.
Griffin said, “We were busy from about 4-7:30 p.m. and then we saw it starting to die off as the wind really started to pick up and the rain started to come down.”
Griffin explained his clientele as “more of a young professional crowd,” and said they didn’t see much of the younger college crowd.
Griffin explained, “I’ve noticed with bad weather, the crowd stays down on the South end of town at Cobblestone or Lab n’ Lager. It seemed the night of the hurricane everyone was over at Cobblestone.”
Although some bars had great business due to the hurricane, McCue’s Billiards and Sports Lounge owner Thomas Nephew said Sandy had no effect on business that day.
“If I look at the amount of business we had that night it was consistent with the amount of business we have every Monday night. There wasn’t any impact on us for the hurricane,” Nephew said.
Nephew said that college students at KSC actually only represent about 15 percent of his overall business.
He stated he is “shocked” that students don’t take advantage of the bar’s specials more often. He explained most of his college clientele comes in on Thursdays.
“It shocks me that they don’t come here for our happy hour special which is from 3-7 [p.m.] everyday offering .99 cent pizza slices and .99 cent sliders. It shocks me that students don’t come here more and take advantage of our specials.”
While the Keene bar scene flourished thanks to class cancellations, most places were not so lucky.
Locals did not drink their nights away in New England and even New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.
The New York City bar scene struggled the most with most of lower Manhattan without power.
Many restaurants returned to serving customers just last weekend.
The Red Barn in Manhattan shared on the New York edition of Eater.com that they were open to serve hungry customers, but with a limited menu.
Many other bars and restaurants echoed Red Barn on Eater.com as the site turned into a guide to eating out amidst a distraught, shutdown city.
Eater.com monitored the status of the most popular New York restaurants and bars for the past several weeks.
Their “Hurricane Sandy Wire” reported the damage done to many bars, including The Rusty Knot, which they reported had a foot and a half of flooding during Hurricane Sandy.
Eater.com also shared “Where to Eat for Sandy Relief in New York City,” providing a map of all restaurants and bars that are raising money for hurricane relief.
While students in New Hampshire either got comfy in their beds or went out and sang “Grease” tunes at the bar, MSNBC reported over six and a half million homes and businesses lost power.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement in which he compared the devistation in the borough of Queens to that of a war zone.
MSNBC reported Bloomberg said, “To describe it as looking like pictures we’ve seen of the end of World War II is not overstating it.”
At least 46 casualties in the United States have been stated, with 68 deaths in the Caribbean—all blamed on Sandy.
Approximately 18,000 flights were cancelled and or delayed.
KSC students may not be able to enjoy these hurricane specials again anytime soon.
Those extra few dollars students saved on drinks could be put to good use helping hurricaine victims.
The Red Cross reported they’ve raised over 23 million dollars in relief funds. But with millions still without power, the road to recovery has only just begun.
While enjoying a discounted drink is never a bad thing, the bigger picture remains something to consider.
Efforts to rebuild after Sandy are bound to last longer than the buzz of a good beer.
Julie Conlon can be contacted at
Megan Markus can be contacted at