The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Campus bar revenue sinks by £350k

Campus bars net revenue appears to be in terminal decline

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Campus bars’ net revenue appear to be in terminal decline, dropping by over £358,000 in five years.

Figures released to The Mancunion following a Freedom of Information request shows that between the 2006/07 and 2010/11 academic terms, the Bars on Campus net revenue dropped from £830,742 to £472,224.

Bars on Campus are responsible for the Owens Park Bar, Grovel Bar, Squirrels, Arpy’s Bar, Nellies, Buttery, and Woolton Hall Bar.

The university accommodation website describe their bars as “a great place to meet and socialise with other students.”

It also boasts the “competitive prices and events planned throughout the year from quiz nights to karaoke.”

Squirrels draw significant crowds for Premier League games and sometimes host stand-up comedians. Owens Park bar meanwhile hold regular ‘pre-drink’ nights for The BOP, POUT, and Athletics’ Union socials. But the year on year fall in revenue suggests first years are branching out to the huge array of bars in the Fallowfield area.

Expenditure has also reduced to account for the drop in demand, falling from £757,573 to £519.605.

A spokesperson for the University cited the recession and the 2007 smoking ban when defending the disappointing figures.

They added that the “The availability of cheap alcohol from supermarkets and the trend for students to drink in their common rooms and go out later continues to hit our bars significantly.”

Part of the loss may also be explained by the demand by the University to move The BOP off campus in 2009, resulting in the Owens Park Residents’ Association handing over the event to Social Junkies and Jabez Clegg. Former Owens Park resident Tom Hickman said: “I chose Owens Park Tower because of the reputation The BOP had given the Fallowfield bars. But when I arrived, The BOP was gone and the bar was dead every night.”

While the drop has been a year on year decline, the bar took its biggest hit between 2006/7 and 2007/8, falling almost £180,000 in one year. Zedi Thomas worked at the bar in her first year and told The Mancunion: “When AU Social was on it was always really busy. But then there were nights where we were being paid to literally stand for hours at an empty bar.”