The trusting college bar: A special breed of dive with an average life expectancy of one raucus, vomit-y year. A haven for the under-21 crowd and a hellhole for everyone else.
Sigma Burger Pie was the archetypical Bar-That-Turned-A-Blind-Eye. Any Thursday night would find the bar crawling with underclassmen. Fraternity brothers packed themselves around its scarred beer pong table. “Sigma Burger Pie Welcomes All NYU Students,” read a Bud Light Banner on the wall. This was a nice summary of the bar’s carding policy. This is also the alleged reason Sigma Burger Pie was recently shut down.
In the twilight months before the bar’s closing, it was not uncommon to find a bouncer slouched outside the entrance on West 3rd and LaGuardia. Sigma had become too well known as “that place where they’ll serve anyone, bro!” But the bouncer was only for appearances and, after a moment of uncomfortable eye-contact, he would accept your NYU 2016 card as identification before waving you in.
Once inside, you were able to use Campus Cash to open your bar tab.
That’s right, one of NYU’s Campus Cash merchants was allegedly shut down for serving alcohol to minors. When we called NYU Campus Cash Office, administrators were unaware of the bar’s closing. “I don’t know anything about that at all,” an unnamed official said. As of Monday, Sigma still appeared on NYU’s map of Campus Cash Merchant Locations.
While NYU administration catches up, the underage student body looks back on Sigma Burger Pie in fondness and disgust. Because Sigma was a terrible place, really. It was crowded and smelly and served wine in plastic cups. Yelp reviews accused its burgers of smelling “like either someone peed on it or they had to use such strong ammonia to treat sick meats.” It had the aforementioned beer pong table.
But it was our place; the place where we underclassmen pretended to be upperclassmen. The place where we drummed our fingers nervously on the bar and practiced looking older, the place where we tried our first sangria (horrible) and ventured inside our first NYC bar bathroom (even worse).
[Image via Danielle Zolit]