College students and young adults push and shove each other as they do their best to grab the attention of three student bartenders moving at an alarming rate. It’s Tuesday night in Oxford.
On the Oxford Square, plugged in between a small restaurant and a clothing boutique, a small medieval sign reads, “Round Table.”
Round Table on the Square is most known for its drinking atmosphere, but it also has a kitchen that serves Southern dishes such as fried green tomatoes and chicken salad sandwiches.
The bar has two floors and an open court area in the back, which hosts well over 100 people. Tonight, there are people piling in on both floors of the bar and the back court.
Grabbing a drink is a task, and within the last hour, the bar has vanished in a sea of students.
Evan Swindall, a former Ole Miss student, manages Round Table.
“Tonight’s kind of slow for a Tuesday,” he said.
Swindall was not joking at all.
“Tuesday nights can get busy at times, but the weekends become the biggest challenge,” he said.
Last Friday night, Round Table security alone earned a bonus of $50, which was added on top of the $10 an hour they make every two weeks.
“It’s really an awesome job to have as a college student,” Swindall said. “The money is great, and things really never get too out of hand.”
The crowd is busy downstairs, but one must cling to the wall to dodge the pack of students flowing down the steps. The second story of Round Table is even more spacious with an even larger and much longer bar along a wall.
On the other side of the second story bar is a room with a stage that host live bands on the weekends. The room is decorated with multiple flat screen televisions and couches that fill with groups of people holding conversations.
Moving past the restrooms on the second floor you walk out onto an open patio area that overlooks the court. The court has several tables, which sit in front of a projector, that showcases the sporting events of that night.
Moving past the tables, you run into the third and final bar that is also covered with people.
Round Table is run by Trent Coleman, and he is rarely cited at the bar during the week. Coleman is slowly walking around the bar monitoring his employees when he is spotted.
“Yeah, nights like these would be considered a bit slow for us,” he said walking around the bar. “I enjoy the environment, especially all the students who always want stop and talk. I rarely ever see too much trouble in the bars. There’s never really been an incident that our staff couldn’t handle.”
Coleman occasionally assists his bartenders when they fall behind on their orders. He also serves food personally throughout the day in order to build personal relationships with customers.
“Our food is getting better,” he said. “I’m trying to develop stronger relationships with a lot of the customers so that they will return and, hopefully, give us some opinions of the dishes.”
Round Table is the second largest bar on the Square and hosts all ages over 18.
Davion Johnson, a sophomore at Ole Miss, said he enjoys Round Table.
“I like how they are open to me coming in, being 18, and I don’t really mind paying the entrance fee anymore because all of my friends are always in there.”
Johnson visits Round Table every week, and three of the bouncers who work at Round Table are his close friends.
“I would have to say I’m a regular there, no joke,” he said. “It’s always filled, and I love the music,” said Johnson. I’ve actually never tried the food. I honestly had no idea it was a restaurant.”
Johnson wasn’t the only student who confused when asked about the food. Kane Keith, an Ole Miss senior, was asked about his experience at Round Table and what his favorite dish is.
“I love Round Table,” he said. “Seriously, my favorite place on the Square and my favorite dish would have to be the pineapple and rum.”
Keith said most people go to Round Table to drink, and that the restaurant aspect is mainly for area tourists.
“I could imagine that they would serve food during the day, but I stick to the liquor,” he said.