Max’s Tavern has a new message for its patrons: Stand down, “Sweet Caroline” singers.
Max’s Tavern is no longer allowing people to stand on the benches during its 2 a.m. tradition of singing “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond — a tradition commonly called “closing Max’s.” The tavern also announced it will stop letting patrons in between 1:15 and 1:30 a.m. to control crowd sizes for the singalong.
According to a Wednesday-morning post on the bar’s Facebook page, the ban on bench standing comes after an incident in which a patron was knocked unconscious by a piece of glassware. Eugene Police said authorities were unable to locate the perpetrator and one 21-year-old victim was transported to the hospital due to a head injury.
Max’s owner, Ward Fairbairn, said standing on benches is “always been a situation where something can go wrong.”
“It has gotten ugly the last few seasons and it’s time to stop,” he said.
Ward said if customers tried to stand on the benches and sing, it would be shut down quickly.
“First of all, we stop all the music, stop serving alcohol and say, ‘Knock it off,’” he said.
Dispatch information obtained from the Eugene Police Department Log shows that Max’s had 24 instances of disputes, assaults and fights since the start of 2015.
But Max’s isn’t the only bar that can be rowdy. Taylor’s had 46 instances of the same offenses over the same time period. Webfoot, located down the street from Taylor’s, only had 11 instances. The dispatch data showed that other campus bars, such as Rennie’s, Agate Alley and Fathom’s, had no notable incidents.
The bench-standing ban comes as Max’s is facing a $3.7 million lawsuit after a guitarist cut his hand on a shattered pint glass.
Wednesday’s announcement caused a stir among current and former patrons of the bar. Samer Barghouti, an alumnus from the class of 2014, said standing on the benches for the singalong was one of the things he enjoyed the most about Max’s.
“The only thing I ever enjoyed about Max’s was getting up and signing at the end of the night.” he said. “It was a great way to cap a night out on 13th… but I totally understand their safety concerns. It’s just unfortunate.”