Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Gonzaga Public House

The large white banner is framed like a widescreen movie in a lighter shade of navy blue. A large snarling bulldog owns the center, “Gonzaga University” spelled out above its menacing head. From a distance, the signatures of students from the Gonzaga in Florence are speckled about, but at close proximity they jump off of the banner. This is Public House, known as P.H. to its regulars, and it is a home away from home for traveling Zags. It is a smaller version of the “Bulldog Tavern” in Spokane and all around the bar are signs of the Jesuit university.

Just through the doors are framed posters with hundreds of drunken signatures from nostalgic Gonzaga University students. A small red and white felt banner vertically reading “Bulldogs” sits in the background over the shoulder of Lorenzo, the balding charming bartender with an ageless face. Circling the bar behind him is an inconsistent sea of green. U.S. one dollar bills, each tagged with a special message to Lorenzo, express the students’ gratitude for his hospitality. Inebriated Camerano students soak in this atmosphere as they slam another empty shot glass on the table and begin to belt out off-key renditions to Lynard Skynard’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”

The song is anything but harmonious, but to the people in the bar they might as well be finalists in “American Idol” at this very moment. Not all the students are from Gonzaga, but it feels like they have also found a home away from home at P.H. And for the Bulldog alumni present, they have never felt prouder to be a Zag.

Eric Heinz--Gonzaga University


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