The Underground is the newest addition to the bar scene in Binghamton, bringing a club-like atmosphere to the State Street lineup.
The former layout of Scoreboard, two entrances into two distinct but connected sections of a basement bar — one a dark, clubby dancing area; the other a sports-bar-esque atmosphere — has been split in two. The club section is now called The Underground, and is for students only, as a valid license and Binghamton University ID are required for entrance.
The door that connects the two halves is now closed and monitored by a Scoreboard bouncer.
Reuben Pearlman, who has worked as a bouncer at Scoreboard since 2009 and has served as one of the managers for a year, said the main motivation behind the change was to bring back students by creating an environment that is only for them.
“We noticed at the end of the last semester that we were losing student business, so in order to facilitate bringing the students back, we wanted to create a place where they’d be comfortable and happy,” said Pearlman, a senior majoring in history.
The bar’s student-only atmosphere extends to their staff as well — according to The Underground’s Facebook page, the club will only hire student bartenders, bouncers, promoters and DJs.
Pearlman said that the bar already has a large student staff, so the change would be minimal.
Kyle Tillman, a bouncer at Scoreboard and a senior majoring in history, said the split was made to create a more student-friendly atmosphere.
“It’s nice because there’s never any cover and they have specials comparable to JT’s, like $1 pints on Tuesdays,” Tillman said.
Scoreboard is essentially made up of two separate bars.
“I think it’s weird that the door is guarded because it makes me feel uncomfortable,” said Emily Rellis, a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law.
Matthew Collins, a bouncer at The Underground and a senior majoring in chemistry, said he thinks the change is better for business and makes students feel safer.
“I think The Underground has stepped its game up and now is more competitive with other bars,” Collins said. “No cover, cheap drinks and girls don’t have to worry about a creepy townie grinding up on them … pretty sure it’s a no-brainer where it’s at on the weekends.”
Rellis said she likes the bars’ new look.
“I really like the new DJ booth setup,” Rellis said. “I like how it takes up more space so you’re able to see and talk to the DJ to request a song.”
Other students, like Amy Goldberg, a senior majoring in human development, think there is a noticeable difference in the bar’s atmosphere.
“The renewed energy of The Underground, the dance floor part of the bar, reminds me of the fun it is to go out with fellow students without the fear of fighting with townies,” Goldberg said.
Rellis added that there is a clear difference in the people at Scoreboard and the Underground.
“I went to the Scoreboard side before I went to the Underground and I could definitely tell the difference between demographics,” Rellis said. “I noticed the townies in the Scoreboard side and then all my friends were in the Underground side.”
Rellis said that the ambiance in The Underground this past weekend was especially “interesting” after the bars were raided.
“I thought it was a really unique situation because the bar was completely empty, besides this year’s seniors,” Rellis said. “It was weird, but nice.”
However, Pearlman said that while they are not as busy as they would like to be yet, he thinks students enjoy the atmosphere at The Underground.
“We’ve been busy, but we haven’t been crowded,” Pearlman said. “We think that the fact that there’s not a huge line and you can walk up to the bar without getting pushed around is good, but we’d like to be busier.”
The Underground considered getting a license that would allow students 18 and older to get in, but, according to Pearlman, they decided against it because they did not think it was worthwhile.
“We’d have to get a separate liquor license from the state in order to get people under 21 into the bar,” Pearlman said. “There are no plans in the immediate future to get this kind of license.”