Name That Pub, 1975

I hadn’t realized that they held a contest in 1975 to name the new pub until I ran across an envelope full of entries. “Willy’s” is ok, but there were several I would have liked better:

There was also petition arguing for what was easily the most popular suggestion:

But the “most Rice” suggestion had to have been this, which I would have chosen on the basis of its almost overwhelming nerdiness:



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15 Responses to Name That Pub, 1975

  1. mmdlarue says:

    Ah, when Rice students were still nerdy enough to suggest “Moria”.

  2. marmer01 says:

    I think almost all of them are better than “Willy’s Pub.”

  3. almadenmike says:

    Maybe the venerable Ron Sass could shed some light on the decision, as he was one of the winners of the “Name the Pub” contest.

    From page 8 of the March 6, 1975 Thresher (

    “Willy’s Pub” will be the name of the undergraduate pub now under construction in the basement of the RMC. The Pub Board of Control chose this name from 200 entries by combining the choices of four Rice people who entered the “Name the Pub” contest, and these four will split the $40 prize.

    David Moody, Jim Aanstoos, and P.J. Ciaccia suggested “The Pub” and Dr. Ronald Sass submitted “Willy’s Place.”

  4. almadenmike says:

    Who comprised the “Pub Board of Control”?

    The original 1974 Student Association proposal envisioned a board “having nine voting and three non-voting members. The nine voting members will be Dean Wierum, RMC director William Red, Food Service director Marion Hicks, the President of the Student Association, the President of the RPC, a Master selected by the Masters’ Council to serve a one-year term, a faculty member, chosen in the spring by the retiring board to serve a one-year term, and two students, chosen in the spring by the retiring board to serve one-year terms. The three nonvoting members will be the manager, assistant manager, and the accountant of the pub.” (Source: Jan. 31, 1974, Thresher, page 1:
    – – –
    The July 1, 1974, Thresher noted that “President Hackerman has approved in principle the creation of an undergraduate pub and the establishment of a Board of Control to govern it.” But no mention was made of the Board’s composition. (
    – – –
    “Time for a Beer: A Brief History of Willy’s Pub” on page 16 of the November 10, 2006, Thresher ( described the board’s members differently from that in the Jan. 31, 1974, Thresher: “The Board, originally composed of one member from each residential college, staff advisers and the managers of Willy’s, …”

    It also commented on the “Name the Pub” contest: “The Board held a campus-wide contest to name the new establishment. Some of the suggestions included such gems as Xanadu, The Horny Owl, Brewhaha, The Cellar of Sisyphus, The Doppler Shift and The Rice Paddy, but simplicity won out …”

  5. Francis Eugene "Gene" Pratt, Rice Institute 1956 says:

    During my Institute campus life of 1953-1955, I remember that my West Hall residence had NO liquid available.
    Perhaps there was a water fountain somewhere, but I do NOT remember it.

    North (Weiss) Hall had a beverage machine I think — probably Coke primarily.
    I do NOT know whether East and/or South Halls had any liquid refreshments for their residents.

    Times change. Rice seems to be much more student friendly since after the College System began.

  6. Kevin Clark says:

    1980. I was slapped in Willy’s Pub by my future wife, on the first night I met her.
    Damn beer. 😉

  7. Kermit Lancaster says:

    Dr. Bill Wilson, Wiess College associate, was on the Pub committee, I think from the beginning. That was before he became resident associate.
    Several of us had our own glass pitchers. We could go to the pub and have it filled for takeout. Often that was for dinner but my roommate and I sometimes filled one and took it to our afternoon ELEC 462 circuits lab at Abercrombie. He burned my hand a couple of times and I took over the soldering iron for the rest of the semester.

  8. James Medford says:

    One student recommended “The Steam Tunnel.” When was at Rice in the early 80s, there was a small video game arcade adjacent to Willy’s with that name. I wasted a lot of quarters there.

  9. degb00 says:

    The student who suggested The Steam Tunnel was Chris Reed. He was one of the students employed by Bill Red to sit at the desk at the top of the basement stairs and keep pub patrons from taking drinks any further (as the top of the stairs was the limit of the liquor license). Chris was also the student who built the ad-hoc apartment in the RMC bell tower in the 1970’s. Chris’s experience of the tunnels was not just theoretical . . .

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