Monte B’s enforces new cover charge

By Amanda Eakin

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It was a very bitter time in many Ashland University students’ lives when they discovered the new cover charge being implemented at their favorite local bar.

Monte B’s, a popular bar where students go to unwind in downtown Ashland, began charging 18- to 20-year-olds $3 for admission, starting in late August. As always, 21-year-olds get in for free.

“I think that it’s a bad business move because a lot of the people that are underage are not going to pay $3 to go to a townie bar,” Heather Spacek, 19, said. She also stated that because of the fee, she is more likely to go to a friend’s house for socializing.

Monte Bowman, the co-owner of the self-named bar, explained his reasons for creating a cover charge.

“We were afraid of having underage [customers] in here because of the law,” Bowman said. “We thought of having people come in with an ID and $3 because underage [people] can’t drink, so [they] can’t buy anything.”

According to Richard Wolfe, the director of law for Ashland, the consequences for serving underage individuals can be severe. The bar itself may lose its license to sell alcohol, and the person who directly sells it to minors can be fined up to $1,000. The seller may also be imprisoned for up to six months.

With this in mind, Bowman put the cover charge into effect to deter the underage people who flock to Monte B’s in hopes of getting alcohol.

In regards to the individuals who simply want to take advantage of the DJ and dance floor Thursday nights, Bowman also mentioned the decision had partly to do with profits.

“If we get 500 people underage in here, we’re not making any money,” he said. “That’s pretty much regular now.”

As of right now, the cover charge will only be put into effect Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

These are the nights that most college kids go out to socialize. Although Bowman is happy to see new faces and provide them a place to have a good time, he will not serve minors.

“Jeff (the co-owner) and I were out front. This one college kid came out – he was feeling pretty good – he said, ‘I just love this bar. But those two owners, I just can’t get anything from those guys,'” Bowman said with a grin. “He didn’t know who we were, he just kept going and going. Jeff and I said, ‘Yeah, those owners are just a couple of jerks.'”

Bowman’s hope is that the good rapport established between the bar staff and college students will keep people coming back.

“What we want to do is get the college down here,” he said. “Have them come down here, have a good time, have them dance.”

However, it has been rumored that Monte B’s was busted several times in the past.

Bowman immediately denied this.

“They come in because I call them,” he said. “I have them do walkthroughs.”

Bowman added that he is prompted to call the cops if he sees the bar getting out of hand, or if a fight is about to ensue.

“I do it for the protection of the girls, the bartenders, plus the customers,” he said.

Bowman said he has seen plenty of action, especially Thursday nights. Sometimes, things tend to edge towards too wild.

“These people need to see a badge,” Bowman said, referring to people who start fights. “We have a policy: If you punch, we prosecute.”

Bowman said that although the bar gets the most crowded after 11:30 p.m., cops usually start patrolling the area after 2 in the morning.

Aside from the cops, Bowman insists on clearing students out of Monte B’s after 2 a.m. because the “townies” start wandering out of other bars soon after.

Bowman said there is a “friction” between this group and college students, and he wants to avoid conflict as much as possible.

If one wants to go to Monte B’s without paying the cover charge, Bowman recommends Wednesday night.

“Wednesday nights, AU Jazz Band comes here,” he said. Plus, nights other than the ones in the typical college weekend – Thursdays through Sundays – are a lot less busy, giving one a chance to relax without straining to hear what a friend is shouting across the table.

Despite the cover charge, Bowman said he feels college students will continue to choose Monte B’s as their favorite hangout spot.

 

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