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The Lanche

lanche.jpg“For more than 60 years, The ‘Lanche was more than a staple to the Marquette community – it was home; the final bar stop; the place where students met the locals and all drank cheap “blues.” When it closed on April 24, 1997, news reports said The Avalanche closed because of problems with rowdy patrons and vandalism, but we know that MU wanted the space for university use. And even though many a professor (and countless former students) will admit to doing a naked beer slide or two in his or her days, The ‘Lanche was just one of those old-school, beer drinking, dingy bars that didn’t fit on the newly spiffed up campus. As the saying goes: “Get your degree at Marquette, but get your education at The ‘Lanche.” –

Naked Beer Slide

The Naked Beer Slide generally occurred close to closing time. Typically, an inebriated individual would remove their clothing while the crowd chanted “SLIDE! SLIDE! SLIDE!” The crowd was also responsible for pouring their cheap beer on the floor, lubricating it for the slider. Easily the most disgusting part was that the slider, upon being soaked in beer and whatever dirt was on the floor, then had to put their clothes back on.

The Naked Beer Slide was mostly performed by men, however, one early morning in June, 1991, a female participated in the ritual. Unfortunately, police were near-by, and issued her and the bar owner tickets. Shortly thereafter, a notice was placed at the front door that Naked Beer Slides were against house rules.

Red, White & Blue

redwhiteblue_copy.jpgThe 'Lanche and Red, White & Blue were synonymous with each other throughout the bar's existence. “Gimme a blue” was all one had to say to be served the “award-winning” brew. Unfortunately, the tradition of slamming bottles of Blue against walls and against the floor was ended in the mid- to late 80's and bottled Blue was available only after being expertly poured into clear plastic cups. Taste aside, the beer's popularity was most likely due to being the cheapest drink in the house. Sadly, the Red, White and Blue Brand is no longer in production. In 1984 we (4th floor of Schroeder Hall guys) were offered the first import night on campus. One of the owners, Mitch, offered us $1 imports on Thursday night if we came in every Thursday for the rest of the year. We did, and import night spread to the Ardmore from there.


Remember the old curmudgeon at the end of the bar on the television show, Cheers? Well, The Lanche' had its own curmudgeon and his name was Gordy. Only Gordy wouldn't get up to use the restroom when nature called. Needless to say, he always had a barstool with his name on it.

The Sign

While owners came and went, the red, lightbulb studded sign always remained the same. When The Lanche' closed in 1997, it was rumored that the sign was stored in the basement of McCormick Hall, however that rumor was untrue. Since its removal it has always been stashed in a storage room in the Facilities Services Building. There is at least one Alumni willing to forgo retirement for this tear inducing piece of nostalgia.



Ode to the Avalanche

Lines written in Washington DC a few months after graduation.

In DC I stand Too many a mile From where beer is served cold With a slide and a smile.

Instead of loud music And students without books, I'm surrounded by lawyers and political crooks.

I pay too much money, And I can't understand, People here don't socialize With a beer in each hand.

Drinks here are imported, They are premium brews, But they don't quench my thirst Like a dozen cold Blues.

Rick isn't here Dressed in tube socks and shorts. Mitch can't be heard Lending wise-ass retorts.

I can't find a Dan Solemnly guarding bar doors, Kicking punks to the street Claiming “This ID ain't yours.”

Where are the foul smells, Sticky floors, plastic cups? The bouncers out here Kick me out if I throw up!

I long to return To that greatest of spots And quaff dirt-cheap beer And drink hideous shots.

How long will it be? What suffers is my condition. I can imagine myself In only one quaint position.

With my elbow on the bar top, A Blue in my hand, Watching people stream into A bar already jammed.

I'm chugging cold beers With my friends, and we all Will continue to drink Until Rick gives last call.

Then we'll hit after-bars, Or walk home for the night, Or go to Real Chili And start a food-fight.

But our thoughts will be tuned To the next time we make haste To the tavern whose misfits Don't feel out-of-place.

I need a night now, I've too much getting and spending. A tap has my name; My sanity's pending.

This drought must surcease, Throw miles to the winds, I can see that red arrow As it slowly descends

Taking me to the door Behind which lies the lair With the solitary table And nary a chair.

My dissonance will end As I enter the place, But my liver will purr At a furious pace.

The night won't cost much; This bar's not out for wealth, But when you enter you Can't be much concerned about health

Since the bathrooms aren't clean, And the air has the smack Of a billowing dark cloud From an industrial smoke-stack.

I will not give two thoughts To fashion or attire; My clothes will repel All the muck and the mire.

Euphoria will be found, No face will be dour. With just a couple of bucks I'll wile away untold hours

With good cheer and fine drink. Contentment is not far From a stool near the tap At the Avalanche Bar.

The Closing

Articles from Marquette Tribune

All tapped out: 'Lanche closes

Thursday, April 24, was the last day of operation for the Avalanche Bar, according to Bob Nenno, senior media relations specialist for Office of Communication. The property the 'Lanche is on, located at 1504 W. Wells St., is owned by the university, Nenno said. As of now, the university is looking for tenants to fill the vacancy. There have been no offers at this time, Nenno said. “We don't know who it will be,” Nenno said. “I guess it is pretty much wide open at this time.” There are no immediate plans to tear the building down, according to Nenno. The building is open for applicants and the university would consider any applications, Nenno said. Jerry Cohen, manager of the bar, was unavailable for comment. Students are upset about the closing of the bar and suspect a fight that broke out last week ultimately prompted the bar's closing. “The closing of the bar is kind of sad for Marquette because it was more than a bar - it was a tradition,” said Dan Cary, a senior who has frequented the bar for three years. “I can remember going there in the summers to find it packed with alumni who seem to stay away from the nicer bars on campus and would go to the 'Lanche for old time's sake.” John Riordan, an off-campus Marquette University Student Government senator, said MUSG has written a proposal to the Marquette administration which will be presented on Thursday in response to the high student reaction to the bar's closing. MUSG recommends that the university seek a new tenant for the Avalanche Bar that retains its original status as a social establishment for students of a legal drinking age. “Everyone's so broken up about this that we are hoping for a possible university response,” Riordan said. Junior Terry Davey said the Avalanche closing is a disappointment. “This is a real disappointment to me,” Davy said. “The 'Lanche has been a staple to the Marquette community for over 60 years. “I think this is another attempt by the administration to strip away all of the good traditions Marquette has to offer,” he added. “The 'Lanche is truly a Marquette tradition.”

MU response to `Lanche inquiry leaves senator `flabbergasted'

After a second inquiry filed by MUSG senators in November, university administration decided to inform senators Jan. 16 that it will continue “to investigate alternatives” for the building that formerly housed the Avalanche Bar, 1504 W. Wells St.

Its response came nearly two months after senators sent a second letter of inquiry - Recomen-dation 8 - as to why the bar was shut down in April 1997. The first inquiry was sent to the administration shortly after the bar's closure.

According to John Riordan, a senior off-campus senator, MUSG only received a verbal response to the first inquiry and the senators were seeking more information about the closing.

“We felt we needed something in writing so we re-issued the inquiry in November, specifically asking for a response within seven to 10 working days,” Riordan said. “We got this response two months later.”

The response, written by Ken Smits, vice president of Finance and Administrative Services, said that “the property in question requires extensive rehabilitation to extend its useful life.”

According to sophomore Jake Punzenberger, a College of Communication senator, who was involved in drafting the original inquiry, Smits' response was not specific enough.

“I am not satisfied with the response,” he said. “I want to know what they're (the university administration) doing with the building. It's a historical site and it would benefit the university if something was done with it.”

Riordan agreed that the response was not satisfactory.

“Everyone says `Why don't you tackle the issues?'” he said. “As an off-campus senator, this is one of the questions I get asked all the time. How are we supposed to do our jobs when we can't get a real response?”

Handled poorly
Riordan said that the administration handled the situation poorly.

“We went through all the proper channels,” he said. “We were more than patient while waiting for a response, and we received nothing substantial to bring back to the students we represent. We are just trying to do our jobs.”

Terry Davey, a junior off-campus senator, said the response was an “insult.”

“Let's get serious here,” he said. “They aren't doing anything with that building. I'd rather hear that it's getting torn down next week then be told it's being investigated. That response isn't fooling anyone.”

According to Riordan, he and Davey made repeated calls to Smits' office to check on the status of the response only to be told by the administrative staff that the site was “being researched.”

In addition, he said he was told that the university administration was seeking “outside input” on the future development of the site.

Better reply expected
In light of that information, he said he expected a more in-depth reply.

“I expected a lengthy study or some more research,” he said. “This is the same thing they said last year and there is no reason we couldn't have a gotten that response within a week if that was the situation.”

Punzenberger agreed that the length of time the response required was not necessary.

“One-and-a-half months is a little long to tell us there is nothing really going on,” he said.

Senior Evan Bural, an off-campus senator was also disappointed with the lengthy response time.

“I'm a little disappointed that it took this long to get an answer considering that the initial request was last year,” Bural said.

Davey said the administration's treatment of the situation was “flabbergasting.”

“I am extremely frustrated with the situation,” Davey said. “I have gotten over the fact that the bar was shut down, but I can't believe we had to wait for this. They made no formal response to our first inquiry and this answer is a response by definition only.”

He added that even though the inquiry didn't ask for specifics, he expected better from the administration.

“I guess if you get technical, we never specified that it had to be a good response,” Davey said. “Still, it's frustrating.”

Despite the statements of others to the contrary, Legislative Vice President Brad Lochowicz, a senior, said Smits and the administration have been cooperative and forth-coming with information.

“Mr. Smits has been more than helpful with this,” Lochowicz said. “He has assured us that he will inform us of any progress made on the situation.”

Smits declined to comment to the Tribune on the situation at this time.

bars/avalanche_super_bar.txt · Last modified: 2020/12/07 16:49 (external edit)