St. Practice Day vs. St. Oney’s: Which Jug Did It Better?

Rachel Dobkin, Staff Writer |

Disclaimer: The State Times does not condone underage drinking. The writer of this article is of legal drinking age.

The SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Cortland rivalry has always been rooted in who’s the better Red Dragon. Not only do both schools have the same mascot, but also have the same bar, The Red Jug Pub. The Jug, as it’s commonly referred to, has locations throughout Central New York and although they are a part of the same franchise, they each have their differences.

St. Practice Day, Cortland’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, and St. Oney’s Day, Oneonta’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, are usually spent day drinking on lawns or in bars. Due to COVID-19, bars like the Jug are the only legal way to celebrate out of those two options. After spending a weekend in both cities, I have concluded that Cortland’s Jug gave an overall better celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

I went to both bars when they opened, Cortland’s Jug at 9 a.m. and Oneonta’s Jug at 12 p.m. Even though Oneonta’s Jug opened later in the day, there were fewer people there. While I was in Cortland, the Jug was filled to capacity (lessened due to COVID restrictions) in a matter of 30 minutes, but in the whole two hours that I was at Oneonta’s Jug, there were only a few tables filled. This is surprising considering that both bars are roughly the same size.

Both bars were decorated with St. Patrick’s Day decorations which gave a festive feeling. But the atmosphere at both bars was completely different. It was as if Oneonta’s Jug wasn’t even celebrating St. Oney’s Day. Cortland’s bartenders were hyping the crowd up, giving away free beads and sunglasses. Nothing of the sort was happening at Oneonta’s Jug. I even asked the bartender if they were giving away free beads and she said they were not.

The service was better at Oneonta’s Jug. It took a while for the bartender at Cortland’s Jug to give me my drinks because of the large number of tables she was waiting on. The quality of the drinks were the same at both bars. I got the lemonade t -shirt, an offer where you drink four vodka lemonades to get a free t -shirt. Both bars had the same great flavor range for their lemonades. I got raspberry, blueberry, UV blue and mango, to just name a few of the many flavors. The pricing was about the same. I paid $31 in Cortland and $30 in Oneonta, keeping in mind that it costs less when you pay with cash, which is what I did. The t- shirt designs varied, but most of them were identical to each other including a St. Patrick’s Day t- shirt.

Of course, my experience might be different from others, especially depending on the time of day I went, but overall Cortland’s Jug had the better celebration. Cortland definitely put more effort into St. PratricksDay than Oneonta did for St. Oney’s Day. Cortland’s Jug Instagram page was full of promotional posts in the days leading up to St. Practice Day. They had free giveaways that they prepared for in advance and their staff was all decked out in festive clothing.

In an email sent out by the college, it was confirmed after the weekend I spent in Oneonta, that city officials took a stand against St. Patrick’s Day drinking promotions. This would explain why The Red Jug had previously posted about St. Oney’s Day and then took it off Instagram. Although it is saddening to see a Jug tradition cancelled this year, it is understandable in light of the pandemic and bars being a hotspot for spreading the virus. Let’s hope for more festivities to continue once the Oneonta community deems them safe enough.

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