THE University of Newcastle’s traditional student watering holes, the Bar On The Hill and the Godfrey Tanner Bar, could be under private management by the start of next year.
The University is seeking lessees for both licensed venues following an external review of their operations, which included consultation with student groups.
“UON plans to engage a new industry-focused lessee for both venues to inject new life into the service, facilitate student experience, and enhance on-campus culture and social interaction,” a UON spokeswoman said.
“UON is currently in a commercially-confidential period as we negotiate with the preferred proponent to operate the bars and cafes, which will generate a more vibrant, student-focused and sustainable operation.”
It is unknown whether a private operator will result in a change in prices or services.
In August UON ceased the sale of alcohol during the week at the Bar On The Hill, ending a long-held rite of passage of students enjoying a beer between or after lectures and tutorials.
The Bar On The Hill has continued to operate as a cafe and alcohol is still being sold at the Godfrey Tanner Bar on the Auchmuty side of the Callaghan Campus.
However, the UON spokesperson stressed the Bar On The Hill will continue to sell alcohol at special events and concerts, like Vera Blue’s sold-out show last Friday.
“UON is committed to ensuring that the Bar On The Hill and Godfrey Tanner Bar continue to be recognised as key social spaces for students, staff and the community to interact socially for a variety of activities,” the spokesperson said.
Mid-week alcohol sales could return to the Bar On The Hill next year if the approved lessee deems it financially viable.