Pub Lease Uncertain as Year Ends

    University Centers will accept proposals from local pubs and nightclubs to lease the space currently occupied by Porter’s Pub when its lease expires this November.

    Arash Keshmirian/Guardian
    Employee Beau Cornell may lose his job if the university decides to lease the Porter’s Pub space to a different business next year.

    Though the pub will submit a proposal to renew its lease, the university is exploring other options.

    The University Centers Advisory Board, which controls the leases of central university spaces, will request an inquiry into other options whenever a University Centers lease expires, UCAB Director Gary R. Ratcliff stated in an e-mail. Although Porter’s Pub itself could be gone after next year, Ratcliff said that UCAB wants to preserve the pub’s “funky noninstitutional atmosphere.”

    The space, which includes a stage, will still be rented to a business that will book shows with bands and DJs, Ratcliff stated.

    Researching other possibilities for the space is a “common” practice for the board, according to Ratcliff.

    “Their goal is to have more activities on campus on a regular basis for students,” he stated.

    Porter’s Manager Tim Mills said that the university is aiming to transform the pub’s environment.

    “I think they want to turn [the Student Center] into Price Center junior; make it more corporate,” Mills said.

    Ratcliff, however, was adamant that the ambience of the pub — and the sale of alcohol — would be included in the new lease.

    Rob Porter, a UCSD graduate and owner of the pub that bears his name, said that Ratcliff had given him the impression that the lease would be made exclusively available to Porter’s Pub. Porter added that he has not had contact with student representatives on the board for years, and has only communicated with Ratcliff.

    “Even as recently as just before my current lease option was exercised, he gave me the impression that I would be offered a new lease after this one under certain circumstances,” Porter stated in an e-mail.

    The conditions concerned a “sizeable investment in equipment … to fill in a planned expansion of the kitchen area that the university was to complete,” he stated.

    Porter said the expansion had been discussed “a number of times over the past five years,” and reported he was finalizing plans in winter and spring of this year to bring in more capital when he learned that his lease might not be renewed.

    “I feel that Porter’s is a great part of UCSD,” Porter said. “It’s really a shame.”

    In March, Porter said, Ratcliff informed pub officials that there would be no lease offered to Porter’s Pub, and rather a “request for proposal” process would begin.

    “I told him then that after being a part of the community for 13 years, this didn’t seem like an appropriate outcome, nor an appropriate way to tell me,” said Porter, who also accused Ratcliff and his department of hampering the pub’s activities.

    “Over recent years, the University Centers has discouraged me from promoting shows at all,” he said. “I cannot even officially reserve the stage room in the pub.”

    Both Mills and Porter said that the uniqueness of the pub brings a different feel to campus.

    “Porter’s has a different spirit, and it brings in a different clientele,” Mills said.

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