FRED gives out slaps over the counter
The Friday bar at the history department is not a place to start your night out; it reportedly only gets going later in the evening. But the bar staff keep themselves in top condition with vodka slaps. The small room adorned with historical figures is easy to feel at home in but difficult to squeeze your way through when it’s full.
Reviewed 20 May 2022 (late afternoon)
Friday bar for history (at the School of Culture and Society)
Where: Jens Chr. Skous Vej 2, building 1484, room 134, 8000 Aarhus C
Vibe: You can get a vodka slap whilst admiring pictures of monarchs and other historical figures on the walls.
Ceres Top: DKK 10
Draught beer: DKK 15
Aarhussæt: DKK 20
Vodka slap: DKK 5
Drinks: DKK 15
Shaker: DKK 20
- Cosy room that’s easy to feel at home in
- The volunteer bartenders create a good atmosphere
- Activities such as board games and dice (beer pong later in the evening)
- Good place to end the evening
- Well-conceived theme and history-related decorations
- Good prices
- Small room that can easily become stuffy
- Not a place to start your evening
We arrive at the history Friday bar, FRED, through a large, hanging hula skirt and are met by a guy in a Hawaiian shirt, swimming shorts and a bucket hat singing Anders Matthesen’s ‘Du er min store kærlighed’ on karaoke. Near the end of the song, as the chorus resounds for the third time in a row, the man in holiday attire seems to lose his energy. But the rest of the bar come to his rescue. They clap in unison and raise the energy in the room to a level that matches the bombastic message of the song, and the karaoke star ends his number in full voice, one armed stretched out into the audience. After this, a duo calling themselves ‘Shortys Badedyr’ take over with the Postman Pat theme tune.
This week’s theme in the FRED bar is ‘The Barhamas island paradise’. The ceilings in the bar are low, and the tables are close together, which allows you to chat to those around you – if, for example, you need to squeeze through the crowd to get another beer. The room almost guarantees a good atmosphere. It’s easy to feel at home here. This also shows in the way the bar staff enthusiastically join in with the karaoke and the bar’s theme – there are flower leaves on the tables, inflatable palm trees glued to the walls, and the bar staff are sporting flower garlands, hula skirts and coconuts. It all seems to match the bar’s permanent decor, which consists of pictures of historical pioneers – and Danish monarchs.
During our visit, we ask the bartender whether FRED has a signature drink:
"You can get a vodka slap," says the bartender.
That seems a bit violent. Why do you do that?
"They go well together. And, when we’re bored behind the bar, we get one too."
Having enjoyed the audience favourite ‘Stupid Man’, our visit takes a turn. It appears that a Friday bar crawl by Alkymia (the chemistry Friday bar, ed.) with a festival theme has merged with FRED’s Barhamas theme. Four fifths of the party disappear. The bar’s character changes instantly. It’s like being at a party with hosts who are anxiously waiting to see if any guests will arrive. And, while they wait, they calm their nerves with a vodka slap. They had been good hosts for Alkymia’s brief bar crawl stop – with the decorations, their welcoming attitude and their willingness to offer free beer in exchange for a song.
What does the bar say?
Henrik Vejsgaard Koch and Jonas Ruhoff are in their tenth semester on the history programme and are volunteers at the bar:
“You have come at a bad moment. People usually turn up at around 20:00 or 21:00. Kommabar (the bar next door, ed.) usually closes around 23:00, and then there are twice as many people in here. Before then it’s pretty calm; board games and beer. There has to be room for both. The early bar with board games and the late bar with an amazing dance floor, where you almost can’t get through the door. We are usually a good place to end the evening.”
Usually we ask the guests, but, since there are only bartenders left, we ask them:
If you had to be a bit self-critical?
They think for a long time and then answer: “As we said, later in the evening there will be a club atmosphere and lots of people. It’s difficult to talk to each other when the loud speakers are blasting. And because it gets really crowded, the air gets stuffy, and it can be difficult to get in and collect your jacket. And the connection can be a temperamental when people want to pay. But that’s not a huge problem.”
HOW WE WORK:
We send out two reviewers who start by hanging out in the bar for a while without making themselves known in order to get an impression of the atmosphere in the bar and facilities.
As a Friday Bar typically evolves from afternoon to evening, we make ourselves known and talk to guests and volunteers to get an impression of how the bar usually changes and what sort of mood the bar is hoping to achieve.
We don’t grade on a scale. The Friday Bars at AU are very different, so it can be difficult to compare and judge using the same criteria. Instead, we summarise our review in plus and minus sections.
Translated by Sarah Jennings