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Bars vie to fill Fish Co. void

Olives on North Main St. — Brielle Friedman

It is 10 minutes to midnight and Olives, one of the newest hotspots for Wednesday night partygoers, is in full swing. Students are crowded by the bar sipping beers, flirting and scoping out the already sweaty dancers shaking their stuff on the jam-packed floor. The lyrics to "Put Your Hands Up" by Fatman Scoop stream through the speakers.

Olives features an elevated stage much larger than that of the Fish Company, students' former midweek party destination, and both men and women are allowed to dance on it — unlike Fish Co.'s strict women-only policy.

"I think the dance floor is one of the best things about it," said Blaine Grinna '11, who created a Facebook event advertising the first Brown Night at the bar starting Jan. 26. The venue also has two bars, a feature Grinna said makes getting drinks easier and more accessible. "At Fish Co. it was very congested," he said.

Olives allows entry to anyone 21 years old and up and employs a strict identification-checking policy. It prices its shots at $3 and mixed drinks at $6. Last week, the bar offered two drinks for the price of one before 11 p.m., which it plans to do again tonight.

"I worked at Fish Co. on and off my whole four years," Grinna said, and when the bar closed down last year, he and some friends started to look into a new location for Wednesday nights. Members of Theta Delta Chi contacted Olives' manager, Dave Tapalian '97, about throwing a party there last year. At the time, Tapalian expressed interest in organizing a consistent Brown Night at the club, Grinna said.

"He was really excited to get the Brown crowd in there because it's a crowd he was part of himself," Grinna said. He added that Tapalian has been great about working with him to make Wednesday nights accessible to students. Grinna said he asked the bar's management to lower the usual $10 entrance fee to $4, the same amount Fish Co. charged students, and it obliged. "I told him, ‘This is what students are used to paying. Is there any way we can match this?'" Grinna said.

Grinna said he likes Olives a lot. "Distance wise, it's perfect. It's a half-mile from campus, so there is the option of walking. Otherwise it's a $5 cab ride," he said. The bar also offers a $1 coat check. "We've hit capacity each week," he said.

Last Wednesday Tess Kostiner '12.5 went to Olives for the first time. "I like the music," she said while waiting for a drink at the bar.

"It's much nicer than Fish Co.," said Jim Borelli '13, though he said he disliked the openness and visibility of the elevated stage.

DJ Meatball controlled the music, which included Pitbull's "Hotel Room Service" and Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight." Grinna said he spoke with Meatball — who used to work at Fish Co. and said he has worked at students' Wednesday nights for the last six years — about making the switch to Olives after Fish Co. closed down last year.

Meatball said the new location adds a different flavor to the crowd. "With the students who have been coming out this year, it's more of a chunkier, dancier feel," he said.

"I love you guys. You come in here and ask for songs that are European-based," Meatball added, referring to songs from genres such as tech house, trance and dubstep. "I couldn't ask for a better crowd," he said.     

Other than scattered complaints of bright lighting and a lack of outside patio space for smokers or dancers looking to cool off, students expressed mostly positive sentiments about Olives' suitability as a Wednesday night destination.

"It's (expletive) great," Borelli said.

Colosseum on Pine St. — Claire Gianotti

The displaced Fish Company crowd may have found a new home for its midweek shenanigans — the Colosseum, located on Pine Street in downtown Providence, now hosts Brown Night every Wednesday and is open to anyone over 18.

The past two Wednesdays, the Colosseum filled up not just with Fish Co. regulars, but also with many students new to the Providence club scene.

The lower age requirement has attracted a more varied crowd.

The Colosseum has three distinct social areas — the bar, the lounge and the dance floor. Last Wednesday, larger groups dominated the secluded lounge areas, talking and drinking, while couples lingered in the dance floor and bar area.

The club offers a stage about three times bigger than that of Fish Co. and a very lively dance floor. The DJ plays a broad range of music, including the latest mash-ups and a number of throwbacks, such as Usher's "Yeah!"

"It is an actual club space, not just a bar with a stage" like Fish Co. was, said Julio Reyes '12.

He added that drinks are "great and pretty cheap." Shots cost $2, and most mixed drinks are priced at around $4 or $5.

Students at the Colosseum confirmed that bouncers are very strict about valid identifications and underage drinking. The club employs 17 bouncers who promise to take drinks away from patrons without bracelets. A second offense will result in expulsion from the club, as will sharing a drink with an underage friend.

The Colosseum also has a stricter security policy than Fish Co. — bouncers check bags and pat down male patrons and will confiscate any alcohol or illegal substances. The club offers a coat check for $1, an option that many students took advantage of. Many students who did not check their jackets had trouble finding them later.

The club opens at 10 p.m., and before 10:30 p.m., patrons can enter for free without waiting too long in line. But last week, the club remained relatively empty and the dance floor was abandoned until the bar became packed at 11 p.m. The sleepy dance floor caught up around 11:30 p.m. when it came alive in full force. The week before, at least 200 people arrived before 10:30 p.m., and the dance floor was full at 11 p.m.

Partygoers who started their nights later had difficulty getting in. Resourceful students stuck in line entered at the ground level and moved up to the second floor, where Brown Night takes place.

The life of a Wednesday night is short — the Colosseum began to clear out at around 12:45 a.m. As Brown students left, Providence locals trickled in.

There seemed to be little nostalgia for Fish Co. for the students at the Colosseum. Sarah Grossman '12 said the Colosseum is "10 times better than Fish Co.," classifying the clientele as "underclassmen fratties" as opposed to the "hipsters and upperclassman fratties" at Olives.


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