Let’s get real for a moment and talk about the Rochester Bar scene. It’s a love hate kind of thing. Whether you are strutting through the snow in five-inch stilettos and a dress that is definitely not Rochester winter appropriate (Freshmen, I’m looking at you), or you’re running to try and get to Cam’s for a slice before it closes down for the night, East and Alexander has arguably seen some of our best and worst moments.
Perhaps the greatest institution we have on that stretch is our dear old Mex. Despite the actually delicious restaurant on the top floor (if you haven’t had dinner at Mex yet, what are you doing with your life? Go… go now), the bottom level serves as the somewhat janky hangout for the UR student body every Thursday night.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Mex. When my hairdresser told me she met her husband at Mex, tears were brought to my eyes (she literally found love in a hopeless place). Between the memories of pushing your way through the crowd to get a drink, the pitchers with dozens of straws sticking out of the top (let’s be real, we’ve all made it our snap story at some point) and the awkward nooks and crannies that you get shoved into when a herd of girls makes their way to the bathroom, it feels like home. But something has happened to our dear old Mex recently.
I now walk into Mex and look around and instead of seeing familiar faces, I notice a sea full of question marks. I make my way to the bar and realize that it is barely 11:30 and there is already some guy passed out in the booth, and that tall girl in the corner is literally going cross eyed as she holds on to her friend. Really, guys? It’s not even midnight. The dreadful feeling sweeps over me as I realize that the fateful day has come, and I might just be too old for Mex.
Something happens senior year and you’re ready to trade in that strawberry flavored marg for your grandpa’s gin and tonic. The smell of tequila no longer makes you want to #rage, but rather makes you want to stick your head out the window and heave. Though we fight to remain relevant, it is becoming increasingly clear that maybe we are not cut out for this life anymore. Does this mean I am officially an adult? If so, that kind of blows. Mex used to be the cool place to be because, well, it was pretty much the only place you could be, but going to Mex requires a lifestyle that I cannot keep up with anymore.
I used to treat each night as a game, or a challenge. The plethora of athletes (a subgroup usually absent from my daily life) made Mex the perfect location to try and fulfill my bucket list goals of making out with someone from each sports team before I graduate. Nowadays, that bucket list goal, which used to be a serious priority, has fallen down the list and honestly, it just sounds exhausting. Now that we are seniors and are looking towards the cities that we will inhabit once this year is up, we understand in a way that we couldn’t as underclassmen that the world is our oyster! We have done all we can do as undergrads and are ready to take the world by storm.
The charm, the intimacy, and the excitement of Mex just doesn’t cut it anymore. While the nostalgia will always be there, the senior migration has begun. You can find many who share the same “I’m over this shit” sentiment spending their Thursday evenings close by at Ox and Stone, where one truly feels like a classy adult, or chilling at Murphy’s with the local townies after their kickball league gets out. Some are even venturing away from the beloved East and Alexander to the new and improved College Town at the Beer Market, or in the South Wedge at hipster loving, Lux. A place that promotes drunkenly eating PB & J’s, that is pretty much my dream come true right there.
When asked about their own experiences with good ole Mex, the responses varied.
One member of the Class of 2016 expressed his feelings about the bar as “always way too crowded, but boasts a very fun atmosphere,” undoubtedly channeling a Zagat rating to describe the bar.
A recent graduate looked back on his Mex experiences with more contempt: “I actually never understand why people like it. Not a fun place. Music is too loud to talk, but not fun enough to dance. It’s a lose lose.” Apparently, 10 out of 10 would not recommend.
Finally, when asked about her experiences, A Capella Queen and Mex frequenter said, “Mex is like the place you go when you feel like going out but don’t really want to put in a ton of effort…the first time I went to Mex I got a pitcher, it slipped out of my hands and poured all down my front. I was sticky for 4 days. Mex is so prime.” #preach.
Lastly, this senior gal who moonlights as everyone’s favorite Barty photographer described her first Mex experience saying, “I remember that the floors looked like they were flooded and the building seemed like someone’s house. Like I actually thought I was being carded into a house.” Mex, otherwise considered our home away from home.
Maybe not everyone shares this same sentiment that I do. Maybe it is not as much a problem with Mex, as it is with impending old age. I’m not going to lie, the older I get the more Lifetime movies I watch and the earlier I go to bed… I don’t hate it.
Growing up is hard. College is great. I’m not ready for the end. This is our “Last Supper”, people and I’m all for living it up and making every moment count. I long for the days where I could walk into my night-life kingdom and feel like I belong, but alas, that kingdom has more and more kings roaming the halls now. Underclassmen: take advantage of these years, and embrace those Thursday nights at Mex before you too tire out. Share a pitcher and continue to fight on for yourselves and those of us who cannot anymore.
Sometimes I think that we should try and bring back the glory days, but then I get a whiff of that iconic plastic pitcher, which is ¾ full of tequila and ¼ full with some pink syrup, and I think to myself “Mmm better not”. To The Daily Refresher I go!