If you have a fake ID, stop reading now. For the rest of you underagers, have you noticed the almost complete lack of entertainment venues around the Portland State University campus that cater to people under 21? Heck, underage students don’t even need a place to cater to them. A venue that would just allow minors to go inside after 10 p.m. would be a nice change from the current conditions.
Before allowing anyone to use the defeatist phrase, “There is nothing to do,” let’s examine what options minors do have for quality entertainment.
First, PSU offers a bowling alley and an arcade, complete with pool tables, in the Smith Memorial Student Union’s basement.
Some may be of the opinion that quarter-eating video games and freshly-deodorized bowling shoes are all they need for a good time. These same folks might also wonder why the Smith basement is generally lacking any significant number of females. Boys, you must understand the one great rule of arcades: Unless you bring them with you, the chicks ain’t coming. Most girls would rather do their laundry alone on a Friday night than sit in front of a slot machine that never gives them money back.
As for the bowling alley, there is a reason why most alleys sell beer by the pitcher. Has anyone under 21 gone bowling more than once since high school? Those of you that can answer a solid “yes” most likely either have friends that are all of age or you have belonged to a bowling team at one time in your measly little bowling-ball-with-your-name-on-it life. And, just so you know, PSU’s bowling alley serves no, I repeat, no alcohol.
In Portland, there are a few music venues that allow minors inside, though with a cover charge. Underage venues and clubs like the Meow Meow, Nocturnal and Klub Z do not have free “new band nights” because they make their money at the door, not the bar.
Of course, there are movie theaters and playhouses minors can visit. Unfortunately, the cheap, second-run movies are played at places like McMenamin’s pub theaters, where alcohol is served.
If you want a cheap movie that you don’t have to sneak into, you have to go to the Fifth Avenue Cinema, where the movies seem to be randomly picked and are consistently ancient. One might as well rent a movie and eat what’s already in the fridge.
The problem with seeing plays is that they’re often expensive, and you just might be getting tired of seeing PSU’s drama department performing more Shakespeare, and badly (did you happen to catch last year’s “Othello”?). Can anyone afford to see a contemporary play, even with a student discount? Lowly student reporters like myself certainly cannot.
If all else fails, Portland is filled with “gentlemen’s clubs.” In less polite company, one might call them strip joints. Most PSU students are at least 18 (or geniuses still living at home with mother) and may therefore visit a local “juice bar,” if they are into that sort of thing.
However, one must realize strippers make more money with a drunken audience, so the best and most experienced dancers are usually at the clubs where booze flows freely. (You may even catch sight of that cute girl that sits next to you in your University Studies class dancing on stage, paying her way through college.) So don’t expect pole dancing worthy of Stars Cabaret when you go to Jiggles.
You could attempt to go to a place where you will be served the devil liquor: parties. Unfortunately, this way is fraught with the danger of a handy MIP (minor in possession citation), even though the opportunities to get down with your fellow students are plentiful in student housing.
You can join the masses at the Ondine where 30 freshman squeeze into a room, intimately describing the “massive party, dude” that they managed to get invited to by an older friend last summer. Get a little closer to that rosy-cheeked cutie sitting on the windowsill by passing him the bottle of stealthily smuggled HRD vodka, and try to be in the bathroom or the urine-soaked stairwell when the RA busts the gathering.
Don’t want to get caught? Go where the older students are: the Goose. Cross the bridge from campus and wait patiently outside Goose Hollow Plaza and Tower until someone takes pity on you and lets you in. Simply wander the halls until you hear loud music, laughing people, and see open doors. (If you happen to be a hot girl, you are more likely to get in without a fuss.) But don’t tell them I sent you. Underage drinking is illegal, and the Vanguard would never condone such actions.
Your final option for underage entertainment is just to hang out with other underagers and do underage things while you all wait to not be underage. Here’s hopin’ you find a good time.