Many returning Quinnipiac students remember that fateful Saturday night last semester when Toad’s Place in New Haven, a popular college night spot, was raided. More than 90 underage students were found inside consuming alcohol provided by the nightclub.
One year after New Haven police made this discovery, Connecticut’s Liquor Control Division announced that negotiations are still underway with Toad’s Place representatives, and the outcome is not looking positive for Toad’s.
According to the New Haven Register, “on Sept. 26, the state Liquor Control Commission rejected a proposal for a 70-day suspension of Toad’s liquor permit and a $70,000 fine.”
The offer came directly from Toad’s Place, which conveniently scheduled the 70-day suspension for the time when undergraduate students from Yale, the University of New Haven and Quinnipiac University are on summer vacation. However, in a broadcast from WTNH Channel 8 which aired the same day, “the state’s Liquor Control Division says three months isn’t nearly enough to penalize the landmark rock club after investigators discovered nearly 90 under-age drinkers there last November.”
Interviews with on campus students revealed mixed reactions to the news that Toad’s Place may lose its liquor license.
“It was bound to happen,” senior Megan Goodhand said.
Goodhand went on to say that her favorite part about Toad’s was the easy experience she had getting admittance to the club while she was under the legal age of 21.
“It’s crazy they were able to stay open as long as they did,” she said.
Junior Charles Gottlieb, 20, said that sometimes he would use a fake ID, and sometimes he did not even have to.
“You can just go in the back door,” Gottlieb said.
A general consensus of students interviewed revealed that to the over-21 crowd, Toad’s Place is not considered as glorious as it once was.
“I don’t really care [about Toad’s losing its license], now that I am going to be 21 soon, it has lost it’s flare,” Gottlieb said.
Senior Jordan Gale agreed. He does not attend the club regularly, and said he really does not like the legendary hangout. When asked his favorite part about Toad’s, Gale responded, “nothing.”
Lou Restifo, also a senior, attended Toad’s “primarily for a good concert with a couple friends, nothing overly habitual.” And when informed that the nightclub might be losing its liquor license for a long period of time, Restifo added, “it affects me because I’ll no longer be able to drink there even though I’m legal, which sucks.”
Underclassmen are just as affected by the situation, according to sophomore Liz Scipione.
“Me and my friends attend Toad’s almost every Saturday night and have the time of our lives,” she said. “It really is annoying to know that we won’t have that place to go to anymore. It takes away what we had to look forward to, and it’s disappointing to know that future QU classes might not have the same awesome times that we did.”
Quinnipiac students are not the only ones who recognize Toad’s Place as one of the hottest spots in New Haven. Journalism professor Jodi Amatulli, a long time resident of the area, recalled the transcending appeal of Toad’s through the generations.
“Toad’s always had mass appeal drawing audiences from a range of ages,” she said. “I remember when the rumor started circulating one night that the (Rolling) Stones were going to be at Toad’s for an unannounced jam session and my friends, then in their late thirties, who were lucky enough to be inside, still recall that evening with dazzled eyes. When a performer such as Dick Dale would play, the audience was a sea of young faces to folks in their sixties.”
It appears evident that the nightclub and concert hall that once housed legendary bands such as the Rolling Stones, U2 and R.E.M has become a staple in the New Haven area. The possibility that its liquor license may soon be suspended for an undisclosed amount of time is a hot-topic in surrounding areas, especially at Quinnipiac.
Representatives from Toad’s Place did not return phone calls to WTNH or the New Haven Register. However, a Toad’s Place representative who wished to remain anonymous explained that no employees of the club are allowed to comment due to pending hearings, and thanked Quinnipiac University students for their cooperation.