Green everywhere. Green beer spilled across the floor of Mac and Joe’s, sticking to the soles of shoes. Green Mardi Gras beads hanging from students’ necks. Green cut-off tees and headbands. Green temporary tattoos. Green tongues.
This is how several Miami alumni described the now-hazy memories of their youth, celebrating Green Beer Day (GBD) each year on the Thursday before Spring Break.
“I just remember it was everywhere — green beer everywhere, on the floor,” said Marti Goodwin-Jacobson (’91). “I remember cups all over [the floor] and just absolute craziness.”
Much like today, the party started before sunrise even decades ago. Sue Stephens (’86) recalled being at the bars on GBD around 5 a.m., eager to get her hands on that 10-cent beer, which increased by a dime each hour.
“There would be bands and DJs, and everybody was dancing like crazy,” Stephens said. “Somehow I made it to [both] GBD and my 10 a.m. class. It wasn’t unusual that people would participate in Green Beer Day and then go to class very happy.”
Years ago, the bar scene was central to GBD festivities, featuring venues that have long been replaced in Uptown Oxford: Attractions, Bash Riprocks, Ozzie’s. Stephens remembers dancing at all those “really little dive bars” on GBD.
“I lost my voice from dancing and screaming so much over the loud music,” she said.
Still, other Uptown bars have survived several generations of Miami students, like Mac and Joe’s and CJ’s.
“When we were younger, we went to CJ’s,” Goodwin-Jacobson said. “They let everybody in.”
And, in true college form, the beer was very cheap.
“It was a big blur of sticky green beer over everything — just really bad beer,” Goodwin-Jacobson said. “Oh, it was awful beer. It tasted awful.”
Dan DeSantis (’91) was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity, but he said he still couldn’t believe his mother let him enroll at Miami after what happened during their campus visit.
DeSantis was visiting Miami as a senior in high school. He came in the middle of spring, on a Thursday — neither he nor his mother aware of the significance of that day. DeSantis had a meeting with the dean of the business school, so his mom went to grab a coffee at the Burger King Uptown.
“Then, some kid dressed in green [walked in and] threw up all over the place,” he said. “My mom was like, ‘Oh, my god, my son is going to this school?’ It was a riot. A really fun memory.”
As a student, DeSantis said he participated every year. He’d wake up at 5 or 6 a.m. and go straight to the bars.
“But, by 9 or 10 a.m., you were pretty spent,” he said.
Today, Miami students may wake up a little earlier for a “Kegs and Eggs” breakfast at a house party, pay a little more for that 5 a.m. beer and wear green T-shirts bought from a student-run business. But, for the most part, GBD is carried out in much the same way.
Miami Journalism professor and ’94 alumnus, Joe Sampson, agreed.
“Then: students drank cheap beer, some to excess. Bar owners made lots of money,” he said. “Today: students drink cheap beer, some to excess. Bar owners make lots of money.”