DCU’s favourite bartender

Gabija Gataveckaite

Allan Stevenson has worked behind the Nubar counter for seven years. Credit: Gabija Gataveckaite

The myth, the man, the legend- Allan Stevenson is perhaps DCU’s friendliest face on campus.

Best known for pulling pints at Nubar, Allan sits perched on a blue painted metal stool in the student bar and thinks back to his time in the university.

He recalls back to studying for his BA in 2011, how he would sit at the bar and work on his assignments.

“I love the noise,” he laughs. “I used to sit up at the counter here and I would always have a pint in front of me. But I might only have three pints the whole day; some people may have sweets- when they finish a paragraph, they would eat a sweet- and I would take a sip.

“The library is too quiet and as friends would come into Nubar, I could have a chat with them too, but I can’t really do that in the library apart from the couches on the first floor,” he adds.

The South Africa native found himself in Ireland 17 years ago, when the recession saw him lose his job in a security company due to redundancy. He then decided to make a return to education and completed a FETAC Level 5 in Dunboyne before coming to DCU.

He then completed a BSc in Education and Training in 2014 and began researching his PhD in the university. It was when he became a postgraduate that he realised how overlooked postgraduate students are in student life. His name is inscribed in the hall of fame as the university’s first every postgraduate officer in the Students’ Union.

“I just put my name forward and I got elected by election and I kept the position for a second term as no one challenged me,” he explains.

In his time as a postgrad officer, Allan dealt with on-campus accommodation woes for postgraduate students.

“Postgrad residences are over-priced and students weren’t guaranteed accommodation for the following year as there was lottery system in place. When you are postgraduate, the last thing that you should be doing is worrying about is not having any where to live next year,” he adds.

“I’ve loved the past seven years- I have an interest in student life, improving it for them. I was postgrad officer when DCUSU put forward the proposal for the USI to establish a Postgraduate Officer at the USI Congress several years ago- and now that they did, it means every postgrad in Ireland is represented,” he explains.

Allan has seen the college grow and shape shift over the best part of a decade. During this time, DCU has grown and matured into an established university. However, he believes that there is still room to improve.

“As a whole, DCU is doing a fantastic job as it is, and it is a phenomenal university,” he admits. “I would like to see more assistance for students struggling, be it financially or mentally- I like to see happy students.”

Seeing happy students is exactly what the bartender spends most of his days doing during his shifts at the on-campus student bar. However, happiness may also come in the form of excessive alcohol consumption- but Allan explains how he’s has very little issues with rowdy, disorderly students.

“There are off times where you have to take a minute, go for a smoke and calm down,” he says. “Sometimes, you get the students that are very ignorant or bad mannered and you just wanna throw them out, but of course, you don’t. 99.9 per cent of the time, our students just want to have a good time and I want to have a good time with them- if a great song is playing, I’ll dance behind the bar with them too,” he smiles.

Over the years, he has collected many fond memories.

“Shite Night is definitely on the list of favourites, but small things happen that to one person may not be that important but to me are. The first time that the LGBTA society raised the rainbow flag on campus, to me was just wow- a more inclusive DCU,” he recalls.

“One of our locals- but everyone is a local, if you come here twice a week, you’re a local- her friends went and made had a necklace made where they had her name engraved on one side of the pendant and on the other side it says ‘Jack Slatts and a dash’,” he laughs.

“There’s a serviette somewhere that three girls from a few years ago wrote a note to me saying thank you as they didn’t have enough money for the Slatts [cider] and I said sort me out the next day when you come in and they came back the following day, here’s the money, done and dusted,” he smiles.

The start of the new academic year may not see Allan as postgraduate officer, but he remains to work the bar and see new and excited first years come in through the doors of the legendary establishment for the first time.

“The first years come in and in the first couple of weeks and they’re all bright eyed and bushy tailed,” he says.

“They come in here and get their Jack Slatts and then you sort of see them mature and over the years, see them grow up and become adults really.”

Gabija Gataveckaite

Image Credit: Gabija Gataveckaite