The Bryce Jordan Center is like anyone newly able to have access to alcohol.
There are concerns. Will they know how to handle it? Will they get out of hand?
On Friday night, Penn State’s premier concert venue tried on its newly acquired liquor license with a major event, Garth Brooks’ comeback world tour.
With two more concerts scheduled back to back on Saturday night and three more next weekend, it is probably too early to critique the performance, but from the floor of the Jordan Center, everything seemed to go well.
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While Brooks sang “Friends in Low Places” with the whole crowd rocking raucously to the barroom ode, if there were problems, they weren’t obvious. There were adults with aluminum bottles of beer in hand here and there, but it wasn’t every fan. In my row, just two people took advantage of the new access to libations. Both just had one bottle.
Another man who did pick up a bottle was confident that there wouldn’t be many problems because of the price.
“Who can afford to get drunk at $8 a bottle?” he said.
At the concession stands, the beer was discreetly offered, in a countertop sign rather than on the menu boards. Guidebooks to reading Pennsylvania driver licenses were prominently displayed by the registers. At the stand I visited, there was more interest in walking tacos.
But in the parking lot afterward, it was clear that at least a couple of people probably had pushed the limits. There were some of the kind of overly loud conversations that tend to come after a couple of drinks. To be honest, though, despite the previous ban on alcohol, I’ve heard similar exchanges, or worse, leaving other concerts at the Jordan Center.
So while no one got two pina coladas, one for each hand, drinks were had, and they won’t be the last.
The key to keeping adult beverages on the menu is probably going to be making sure that people can keep acting like adults while drinking them.