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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Loud music and raucous atmosphere here to stay at college campus restaurants

In a normal area, restaurants that cultivate their atmosphere with loud music are just driving away business, but on a university campus that might just be the right thing to do. That’s the case for Frog & Firkin on University Boulevard.

Walking into the restaurant during its opening hours Saturday, the morning of the big ESPN College GameDay, I was overwhelmed by a large crowd and unbearably loud music. I didn’t even have to get close to the restaurant to determine they were open; the music could be heard from a block away. 

It’s hard to imagine how people are able to converse with each other with such a degree of noisiness. One would guess that yelling to one another would do the trick, but to people who just want to enjoy some great food in a great location, yelling is very unfavorable. If that’s the case, you may want to consider eating someplace else besides an upbeat college campus.

Even so, the demographic of this university restaurant is not just college students—Tucson adults are a large portion of those who enjoy having a casual drink here with friends. As hectic as college life can get on University Boulevard, people may not want a restaurant to match.

However, it seems that the energetic environment provided by the loud music is the new trend in dining out, and the execution can be very successful on college campuses.

The lack of traditional soundproofing and the large outdoor patio contribute to the large quantity of decibels output by the restaurant. This is part of restaurant efforts to modernize their looks from cozy and comfortable to modern and sleek. As part of this modernization, restaurants aim to bring a more youthful vibe to attract a broader demographic.

General manager and bartender Jonathan Graham noted the climate surrounding Frog’s location in discussing the noise. 

“Obviously on GameDay you get fun music, and on Wednesday you might get an acoustic player,” Graham said. “It’s not a certain format. GameDay is a party atmosphere. On College GameDay, nobody is complaining because the majority customers are all college students and ready to party.”

The restaurant is on a college campus and mainly attracts college students, especially for huge events like ESPN College GameDay. But this shouldn’t mean that Frog & Firkin should turn into a party zone instead of a functional restaurant, unless that is the aim. 

“We’re day by day, but on GameDay we want to be the main destination,” Graham said. “Last thing we want to do is run away business.”

I guess we can’t expect otherwise from a hot spot on campus. If college students are seeking a party destination where they can drink, be loud and listen to loud music, then any place on University Boulevard is the place to be, and those businesses do their best to accommodate that demographic. 

Most of the adults that are seen at these restaurants also don’t seem to mind this atmosphere. In fact, it’s the whole reason why they choose to eat or have a drink on campus; they love the college culture.

Unfortunately, this is here to stay; the music will continue to be loud, and we’ll undoubtedly continue to lose the quieter alternative eateries. If you’re a someone who doesn’t like yelling over music in order to have a conversation, you’re better off eating elsewhere or simply coming back another day when the college life isn’t so hectic. This noisy trend is strong on college campuses and won’t stop as long as customers continue to flock to the sound. 

Follow Justice Amarillas on Twitter.

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