As students, we face our fair share of academic adversity. In the face of this adversity, I feel it's best to follow one simple rule: When things get tough, just go bowling. Hopefully this is exactly what Michael Hierl was thinking when he proposed his plan to remodel the puzzlingly popular nightclub Madison Avenue as a very trendy restaurant and bowling alley.
Emphatically defined mostly by hearsay, Mad Ave is known as that place where your affable but nocturnal roommate would spend most of his Saturday nights. With its dance floor lit solely by glow sticks and no real enforcement of an alcohol policy, Mad Ave had its license suspended in July, and it's amazing that the city hasn't forced the nightclub to close its doors sooner because of underage drinking concerns. While I am skeptical of Hierl's ambition to build an acceptably tacky bowling alley, the whole project holds a lot of promise for student nightlife in Madison.
Don't get me wrong, Hierl's project, suavely titled ""Segredo,"" definitely sounds like it will be way kitschier than a great bowling alley is tacky. The name means ""secret"" in Portuguese and leeches off Madison's cosmopolitan reputation with its proposed menu of crispy rock shrimp tacos and ice-cream based ""mocktails.""
It also is only slightly a bowling alley, complete with four scaled-down lanes that put most of the restaurant's focus on the trendy atmosphere rather than official lane length. This is disappointing because there is still a ten-pin void left over from the demolition of Union South, and the new Union doesn't appear to have bowling in its long-term plans. Most headlines have stated that Mad Ave will be replaced by bowling, which is a bit misleading.
The fact that Segredo will not be strictly a bowling alley immediately takes the excitement out of it, but did you really think that someone wanted to build just a normal bowling alley downtown with a name like Segredo? Bowling alleys have names like ""Rolling Lanes"" and ""Lucky Strike."" They are attached to smoky diners with wood paneling, Christmas lights that they never take down and burnt coffee.
But still, try to look past that and think of it as a revolution in how entertainment is marketed in Madison. Hierl could have just as quickly presented an idea for Segredo that would have kept Mad Ave's reputation as an underage drinking hotspot. But he chose to try something new that will also help to curb some underage drinking issues on campus.
The focus of Segredo seems to be on an intimate setting, a laid-back place to connect for students who aren't easily swayed by the glamour of two-dollar rail mixers. And also, Segredo will have drinks available for those who do want to drink. The ALRC will hear Segredo's case soon, and both Alds. Bryon Eagon and Mike Verveer are optimistic about its chances of getting a liquor license. Eagon also pointed out that Segredo would help fill the void inherent to the student population between the ages of 18 and 20.
Truth be told, I'm not really as concerned with the 18-to-20 year old age group as I am with the fact that Madison does not really have a suitable movie theater within walking distance (if you can stand wobbly projectors and sticky floors, the Orpheum rules). It's not Segredo itself that is so promising, but what Segredo represents.
Perhaps it can open up the doors for some more interesting alternatives to the current Madison nightlife. If successful, it could really raise some eyebrows and get other developers thinking of new forms of entertainment that cater to smaller, more dedicated demographics.
Anthony Cefali is a senior majoring in biology. Please send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.