Former student helps Market Pub House create sports bar, college niche

| Associate Editor

Rob Hazelwood, the manager of Market Pub House, is a former Wash. U. student.

Rob Hazelwood, the manager of Market Pub House, is a former Wash. U. student.

When he reflects on his time as a Washington University student, Rob Hazelwood remembers both the good and the bad.

Carrying couches and cases of beer to the quad with his fraternity brothers for W.I.L.D.; legally drinking on the patio of the Theta Xi Fraternity house; receiving dirty looks at and rejections from restaurants in the area; drunk driving on the way back from bars downtown.

As the general manager of Market Pub House, the popular sports bar and restaurant on the Delmar Loop, Hazelwood is intent on providing a fun, accessible and safe environment for current University students and the community to ensure there is far more good than bad.

“We want to be their place, to be their home, where they can say that’s where they want to go…where not only do they want to go there, but we’re going to be here welcoming them because I feel, from my own college experience, that’s not always something you receive,” Hazelwood said, recalling being turned away from local restaurants in his college years. “I know that we didn’t feel welcome, and so for all the time that I’ve been GM [at Market Pub House], I’ve really fought to make sure that everyone who comes through our doors feels welcome.”

Hazelwood, now 29 years old, is a St. Louis native and attended Wash. U. in the early 2000s. While a student, he was a member of the Theta Xi fraternity, participated on the rowing team and worked nights as a bartender on Laclede’s Landing. He is currently a member of the Iota Club, Theta Xi’s alumni association.

Theta Xi president Mike Kim, a sophomore, said that although Hazelwood often cannot attend bi-weekly meetings because of his work at Market Pub House, he remains involved with the chapter and maintains a genial relationship with its members.

“It’s definitely nice that he’s very close by…the brothers that are 21, mainly the seniors, whenever they go and he has a free minute, they catch up or just talk,” Kim said.

Market Pub House opened at the start of summer 2010. Hazelwood began as a part of the restaurant’s management team and after eight months was promoted to general manager. He now oversees daily operations.

“We are a clean, student-friendly, family-friendly restaurant and bar. When I took over, after the first summer that we were open, one of the things that I identified and that we really worked on was that…[Market Pub House] didn’t have a niche,” Hazelwood said. “There was, at the time, no bar in the neighborhood that really identified as a sports bar, and so that became a major move in the presence of Wash. U.”

The restaurant is filled with a number of Wash. U. and other local college memorabilia, jerseys, helmets and photographs. Working with a marketing team that includes a number of Wash. U. interns, Hazelwood has directed a number of weekly specials toward college students in the area. On Wednesdays, Market Pub House offers 50-cent wings from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., trivia from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and $1 pints of Pabst Blue Ribbon from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“It is not called a ‘college night,’ but if there was ever a series of specials oriented towards getting college students in here, this is it. I stacked everything a college student would want to do—wings, trivia, and beer—into one night,” Hazelwood said.

In recent years, stricter University alcohol policies, Hazelwood believes, have forced of-age students farther and farther off campus to drink and have fun.

“[The policy] encourages more educationally focused ideals, but it definitely [drives people off campus]. That’s another reason people come here: because they want to go somewhere fun but they have to go off campus for it because you’re not allowed to have fun on campus,” he said.

“The campus is always improving, but with improvement I have personally seen a lot of restrictions come. Wash. U. is, rightfully so, protective of its reputation,” Hazelwood added. “I remember that there were drinking restrictions…but we used to at least be able to be 21 and drink on the patio of our fraternity house. Now we aren’t allowed to drink outside; you cannot visibly drink on campus.

“You can definitely say that some of the wild times are over.”

Though he readily admits that he is no saint, Hazelwood said that he is deeply concerned for the safety of his patrons and that he sees far too much recklessness and drinking and driving. On Thursday, Feb. 9, he spoke at Ursa’s Stageside about the dangers of drinking in an event called Bouncer Tales, organized by the on-campus group Student Conduct Ambassadors (SCAs).

“It’s nice to know that we do have local vendors who are awfully concerned about student safety and have their hearts in the right places,” said Kevin Cleland, the University’s administrative coordinator for judicial programs and advisor for the SCAs. “We were actually thrilled with the event that [Hazelwood] was so open with talking about that, and he did have some very, very good things to say and was very concerned with student safety.”

Safety and further talks included, Hazelwood believes that there is still much room to grow in the relationship between Market Pub House and the Washington University community in the next few years.

“Mizzou has Harpo’s and I want Wash. U. to have Market Pub House. I want Wash. U. students to know that when they have something to celebrate, this is where they come, this is where they’re most welcome,” Hazelwood said. “I’m a baby on the block. Our two-year anniversary isn’t for another three months, and so that means that in the next two or three years, we’re going to start finally having our reputation shared with the students as they come up, and people are going to start to appreciate that we’re a place that’s welcoming them.”

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