Students at the University of Sydney are mourning Manning Bar after it was announced the bar would cease daytime trading this semester.
The bar was considered a cornerstone of student life, where students could grab a drink between classes and attend late-night gigs. It was also hosted countless emerging comedians and regular Theatresports events.
University of Sydney SRC President Liam Donohoe said on Facebook that the closure is a “devastating decision [that] not only says a lot about the death of campus/student life, but will actively contribute to it.” He stressed that the decision had nothing to do with the SRC.
The University of Sydney Union voted unanimously to close the bar in October, 2019. At its annual general meeting that year, the USU revealed that Manning Bar and Hermann’s operated at a combined loss of $245,000 in 2018 alone.
While Manning was once a favourite among students, its popularity waned in recent years. The USU tried to combat this with new events and dining options, to no avail.
“We set up a working group over six months to explore options, but all seemed unfeasible to bring it back,” board president Connor Wherrett told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Students took to Facebook to express dismay and mourn the iconic student haunt, with many fearful that its closure will greatly impact campus life.
One user commented: “Not fair for people who prefer: 1) day drinking 2) drinking before class.”
“Soooo, what do arts students do during the day now??” asked another student.
Another was more blunt: “Fuck this uni and every deliberate step its administration have made to kill campus life.”
Student Belinda Thomas went so far as to launch a Change.org petition.
“The death of Manning Bar would be the final nail in the coffin of the decline of student life on campus,” she wrote. “We demand that the USU properly invest in reviving and revitalising Manning so that it can be restored to its once lofty heights as a hub of student life.”
While the bar will still operate for live music and other evening events, the daytime closure means the bar will not be open when most students are on campus. However, the space will remain available to be booked by university clubs and societies.
Former USyd students also took to twitter to reminisce.
Without the opportunity to strut the stage at Manning Bar Theatresports on Thursday afternoons I would never have found the opportunity to create a career in the arts. I’d probably have superannuation.
Fuck Manning Bar.
— Jordan Raskopoulos (@JordanRasko) February 18, 2020
Manning Bar was great; Theatresports was great; drinking at 4 PM on a Tuesday was great. All of it was great. No amount of irony or discomfort with nostalgia will change that.
— Shaun Crowe (@shauncrowe) February 18, 2020
frantically messaging everyone I ever hooked up with at manning bar to see if this sad news can rekindle something !!!
— vic zerbst (@VZerbst) February 18, 2020
Image: Instagram / @manningbar