McPhail’s 2.0: Bring the Excitement Back to McPhail’s

by The Cowl Editor on April 11, 2019


Students getting milkshakes in McPhail's.
$2 milkshakes on Wednesdays are one of McPhail’s biggest draws, making Wednesday nights one of the busiest of the week. Photo courtesy of Providence College News.

One very unique aspect of Providence College is McPhail’s, the College’s very own on-campus bar where every student can hang out and 21+ students can even kick back and enjoy a beer without having to leave the campus.

Although an on-campus bar seems enticing to most college students, McPhail’s is, for the most part, relatively empty unless there is an organized event or gamewatch going on. PC students are lucky enough to have a place like McPhail’s on campus and should make an effort to hang out there and socialize with fellow students instead of hanging out in their residence halls  or off-campus houses.

Catherine Flugel ’20 explained, “I would totally go to McPhail’s more if people went there more frequently and if the scene was more exciting. But because not a lot of people go that often, I don’t usually go.”

A lot of students feel the same way as Flugel and only head over to McPhail’s for certain events such as BOP-sponsored events, other club events and meetings, fundraising activities, game watches organized by Student Activities, and more. But on a regular afternoon or evening, McPhail’s is almost completely empty and sometimes even quiet enough for students to study.

Established in 2002, McPhail’s was created as a place for students to casually drink and enjoy time with their friends and other classmates. However, current students are failing to help McPhail’s live up to its potential.

According to Tiffany Gaffney, assistant dean of students, “McPhail’s was designed to be a space for students. If students are not using McPhail’s consistently, it is wasted space and a wasted opportunity.”

Not only does McPhail’s serve alcoholic drinks ranging from $3-5 for 21+ students, but anyone can go to McPhail’s to enjoy some of their $3 specialty milkshakes with flavors ranging from classic vanilla to pumpkin spice and nutella. Along with that, McPhail’s is always serving free popcorn for everyone to come by and enjoy.

Elizabeth Connor ’20 says, “McPhail’s is honestly very underrated for how awesome a place it is. I love going to bingo on Thursday nights and now that I am 21, I love the fact that I can casually get a drink and make a night of it with my friends.”

McPhail’s also offers several other fun activities that are open to all students, such as a stage, multiple TVs, ping-pong tables, pool tables, shuffleboard, basketball, and more.

With all of these options at hand, it seems obvious that any college student would make McPhail’s their go-to spot on campus to hang out.

McPhail’s is also a safe place for students to enjoy a bar atmosphere without having to travel far. This removes the issue of spending money on Ubers or walking around unsafe areas at night time to get a drink.

Along with that, McPhail’s can become a place for students to socialize and feel a sense of community and Friar camaraderie right on campus. This will have a positive impact on campus culture if students make an effort to attend and make McPhail’s the place to be.

Working together, the College and the student body should make an effort to bring back the excitement of McPhail’s that existed when it was first brought to campus.

Luckily, PC has realized the lack of student presence in McPhail’s and has begun to take the necessary steps to improve it. During this academic year, the school has asked for student feedback and has been working to implement the suggestions.

They have started to expand the food and drink menu and have begun to use more marketing tactics to bring students in. Their ultimate goal is to also consider physical changes that they can apply to the space.

However, the most important aspect is student involvement. Dean Gaffney stresses this and states, “Student feedback and input is critical. We need to know what you want from McPhail’s.”

It is important that PC students recognize how great of an opportunity it is to have an on-campus bar and a place to socialize in a non-academic setting, and it should not be taken for granted. Do yourself and your classmates a favor and head over to McPhail’s and be sure to offer your feedback so the space can reach its fullest potential.