Throwback Thursday

There was a time when you could see a B-List hip-hop artist, barely clothed football players, and parking lot stabbings all within a five minute walk of the UMaine campus.

For this Throwback Thursday we look at an establishment that has gone by such names as Geddy’s, The 103, and the Ultra Lounge. However, for the lucky few who called Orono home between 1995 and 2005 it went by only one name… Ushuaia.

103 Park Street has been known as the location for the “closest bar to campus” since the early 1970’s. For most of the earlier decades the building was occupied by Geddy’s, the no-frills bar and restaurant with a sister location in Bar Harbor. Over the years the establishment was expanded to include a patio area with a tiki bar and lighting for those balmy January nights. However, in 1995 the bar was bought out by Alex Gray, founder of the Waterfront Concert Series in Bangor, and it was converted into Ushuaia, the meat market we all grew to love.

During that time there were no other options for dancing in Orono or Old Town, the closest dance club was Barnaby’s at the Ramada Inn in Bangor. The recipe was simple, offer loud music and cheap drinks and let the students beat a path to the door; and that’s exactly what they did. During it’s hay day, students could be found waiting for hours outside in the cold to get in because Ushuaia was already at capacity. As the years went by the dancing gave way to hip-hop and rock shows by mostly smaller acts but more entertainment than Orono had ever seen before.

Perhaps the pinnacle of Ushuaia’s existence came in the spring of 2001 when the 3rd Annual Men’s Best Body contest was held. Those in attendance had a chance to see future NFL star Stephen Cooper prove that linebackers have tight ends too along with several other partially dressed guys. The party got a little out of control and the chief of police reported the event to the city council, this ultimately led to the club’s liquor license being revoked and Ushuaia shutting down in 2005.

These days Orono has several bars and clubs available to students, but they all came after the original. So on this Throwback Thursday we fill the steins to the club that raised (or lowered) the standard for entertainment options around campus, Ushuaia.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Maine Campus

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