Story by Paige Ernste
Photo by Nicole Dohm
Peggy’s Tavern, a local establishment and longtime campus tradition, was forced to close after its liquor license was revoked by the Des Moines City Council over the summer.
The owner, Mark Graziano, requested to renew the bar’s license in July, but his request was denied due to the bar’s failed compliance checks and concerns regarding Graziano’s past.
Graziano, who was indicted on 16 federal charges, filed an appeal. According to Iowa law, Peggy’s can remain open while the appeal is processed The bar reopened on Aug. 20, after being closed for about a month.
This was a relief to students who consider Peggy’s an important part of Drake University culture.
“When I thought Peggy’s was closing, I thought a Drake tradition was ending and that’s the really sad part,” said senior Anthony Sinn. “Yes, Peggy’s is a bar and people drink there, but the memories it holds are the real loss. Friends are made there, laughs are had and I’m sure some people even fall in love there.”
Beloved by the Drake community, the news of Peggy’s closing was upsetting, especially for students beginning their 2014-2015 school year. Peggy’s was established nearly 80 years ago. The thought of it no longer being a part of the Drake experience caused emotional reactions among students.
“I was lost and confused,” said senior psychology major, Mackenzie Even. “My first gut reaction was that it couldn’t possibly be real. Naturally, I sought out second, third and fourth confirmations of the news to make sure it was accurate. I then proceeded to spiral into a mild depression that lasted approximately three hours.”
The reactions varied, but some, feel Peggy’s plays and important role in the Drake neighborhood.
“At first, I wasn’t surprised because the real miracle here is that Peggy’s passed eight out of 13 liquor checks,” said senior biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major, Allison White. “But after realizing it was really gone, it was, for lack of a better word, shocking. Although Peggy’s is a campus bar, it is an icon in the Drake world and is something students look forward to coming back to as Drake alumni. It belongs here.”
Senior public relations major, Jordan Hyde reflected White’s sentiments.
“Every Drake student and alumnus knows how many memories Peggy’s holds. It’s not only a bar to us, it’s a place that holds history and tradition, especially around Drake Relays time.”
When asked for an interview, a Peggy’s co-owner and bartender were hesitant and refused comment.
An appeal hearing for the renewal of Peggy’s liquor license will be held in October. Until then, Peggy’s will continue business as usual.
When asked if allegations against Peggy’s and its pending chance of survival would impact attendance, students had optimistic responses.
“I will never stop going to Peggy’s. As a senior, you tend to stop every once in awhile and think, ‘this may be the last time you do this or that,’” White said.
Hyde’s sentiments mirrored White’s.
“Now that Peggy’s is open again, I will definitely be there frequently,” Hyde said. “I have a lot of close friends that work there, so it’s always fun visiting them there. I hope Peggy’s will win their appeal process and can stay open for good.”
“I absolutely will be going back frequently,” she said. “Peggy’s is like a second home and there is no place I’d rather be.”