Behind the Scenes: The Bar Review Selection Process

Two USD Law students enjoy an adult beverage at a recent bar review.

Bar reviews are as much a part of law school as the LRC, law journals, and intramural softball.  In fact, there would probably be very little to talk about if it weren’t for the juicy/inebriated/embarrassing stories that transpire thanks to a Friday or Saturday night out with your fellow law school students.  But how exactly are the venues selected?

Mehtab Sandhu, SBA Social Chair, is in charge of planning all bar reviews, the Halloween Party, and the Barristers’ Ball.  From the first event held just after orientation at Se Hotel to the Yacht Party on October 15, Sandhu has orchestrated everything from venue selection to transportation to drink specials.

Sandhu chooses the venues for a variety of reasons.  Ideally, he said he looks for “something that gives a little bit of everything to everyone.”  He is very aware of the fact that with such a diverse group, each venue needs to have a variety of different aspects.

“The key is to really make sure that week to week, we mix it up as much as possible,” he said.  “A lot of people don’t like the club scene.”  Sandhu said he prefers venues where people can perhaps talk outside as well as go inside for music and dancing.  Barfly La Jolla was a perfect example of this, he noted.

Students are mixed about the events.  Patti Alleborn, a 2L, enjoys an occasional bar review.  “They’re fun. They’re a great way to meet people,” she said.  “I’ve had a great time.”  She does, however, think a change in ambience would be nice.  “Sometimes I don’t want to wear heels, especially if I’m wearing them all week at work.”

Brandon Smith, another 2L, is a little more pessimistic.  “I think that [the bar reviews] need to be a little bit more relaxed.  It would be more fun if it was just friends going to a bar as opposed to having to get dressed up and go downtown.”

As far as where he’d like to see some future events, Brandon said, “I think going to Pacific Beach would be fun.  The only time they’ve gone to PB was when they went to Bar West, and that might as well be downtown.”

SBA President Lyon Maher approached Sandhu about the SBA Social chair opening because of his wealth of knowledge of San Diego nightlife.  Sandhu is a member of the San Diego Young Professionals network, and USD’s bar reviews are usually in collaboration with the group.  One of the founders of the group, Noli Zosa, is a USD School of Law alumnus.

“He has this organization that we’ve been lucky enough to piggy-back off of,” Sandhu said.  “I use San Diego Young Professionals because they have a lot of connections with local bars and clubs.  Often times they come up with ideas for us.”

Sandhu reiterated that because of the wide variety of law students, he is always open to the opinions of the student body.  “For bar reviews, I’m all ears, all the time,” he said.  “Suggestions are always welcome.”

Sandhu is always looking for interesting venues.  He and the SBA has also helped promote USD’s resident law school rock band Motion To Sever with a bar review in Hillcrest in mid-September.

With that said, November, in Sandhu’s words, “is wide open.”  Anyone with suggestions for new locations or ideas, feel free to let him know.

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