Bars and pubs often serve as go-to destinations for weary college students and faculty looking to socialize or relax after a long day of class and schoolwork. Since there hasn’t been such a destination on campus since basement coffeehouse The Buzz closed last spring, a new Falling Sky Brewery location aims to fill the vacancy.
When plans for the EMU renovation were made, its planning document proposed a new pub destination to “facilitate social gatherings” at the EMU and make it a central hub of activity on campus. After polling students and staff as to which local establishment they would most like to see at the EMU and reviewing proposals from several local breweries, Falling Sky Brewery was selected to open a new location, a pizzeria and pub, on campus.
The new pub was designed by several current and former UO professors, who also designed Falling Sky’s other two locations. Art professor Sylvan Lionni and sculpture professor Amanda Wojick served as aesthetic consultants in designing the pub’s colorful transparent entryway, as well as much of the interior aesthetic and color. Former UO architecture professors Glenn Wilcox and Anca Trandafirescu, both of whom now teach at the University of Michigan, helped design the pub’s unique light fixtures and its furniture, which was built by local craftsmen.
The biggest challenge the design team faced was how different the new space was compared to their previous two locations, which featured an open area and an abundance of natural light, as opposed to the current spot on the bottom floor of the EMU. To offset the pub’s confined location, the team used brightly colored panes of glass to go for a colorful and transparent aesthetic in an attempt to retain a warm and welcoming environment for patrons.
According to EMU Director, Laurie Woodward, the decision to include a pub in the building renovation was a response to students’ requests. One of the goals in mind for the restaurant is to keep students on campus and to provide a safe environment for them to drink and socialize. So far, the pub has received a positive reception from both students and faculty.
“Falling Sky is a place where students might have a beer or two with friends, folks will model responsible consumption, and the emphasis will be on food, entertainment and socialization,” said Woodward. “Everyone has been positive about the idea of a pub on campus, and I have every reason to believe that it will enhance our campus community.”
Falling Sky co-owner Rob Cohen decided that opening a place where students and faculty could get craft beers and pizza on campus would be a great opportunity and would complement Falling Sky’s other two spots in Eugene: a brewhouse in the Whiteaker district and a deli on Willamette Street. These locations specialize in craft beer and a variety of pub-friendly foods, such as pastrami and bread, respectively.
“They wanted someone who was beer-and-food focused, and we fit that niche pretty well.” said Cohen. “It means a lot in a university community to have this kind of meeting place where people can have good quality food, a beer or a soda and have a place to meet that isn’t just a university dining hall.”
The pub is currently open from 11 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the summer term and will expand its hours in the fall. Its opening is among a sequence of new eateries popping up in the new EMU expansion, with further plans to open up shops from local Eugene businesses Red Wagon Creamery and Townshend’s Teahouse.