Digging out from the Underground

By The Columbia Chronicle

The Chronicle


Walking down the steps toward the Underground Cafe, the smell of unfiltered cigarettes and burnt toast enters your breathing passages.

Your first sight is of cheap plastic chairs scattered about the room and tables where these chairs are supposed to be. Lockers line the wall (why lockers are in the a “cafe” is a mystery to me). To add to the fun, sounds of strange music like the “Ghostbusters II” soundtrack fill the air.

All the elements that do not fit the atmosphere of a cafe.

Most of the people in the Underground Cafe are struggling artists not getting their breaks. Walking down into the underground is like wallowing in the mirier.

Right now the Underground is closed because of the “steel cage match” that lines Michigan Avenue. Supposedly the city has decided that this would be the best time to repair the sidewalks.

The school has made plans to improve the Underground, but nothing has been done.

Students who have time between classes or want to just hang out must now hang out in the Hokin Annex or in the 11th floor of the Torco building. (The 11th floor lounge was recently renovated to make room for more vending machines, but less seats.)

The need for a legitimate lounge/cafe is clear.

For the Underground to gain more business, it should have more substance to it. The tables should be replaced with more sturdy ones. The seating arrangements should be more structured, including couches — we’re not saying leather couches, but something better than an ancient wooden bench.

The TV that sits dormant in the corner should be placed in a separate room for people to watch the news or a Cubs game, etc., where those who don’t want to watch TV don’t have to. If they want to listen to the “Ghostbusters II” soundtrack, they can.

We think that by the time the city finishes up with sidewalk construction, which could be in the winter, the Underground should be new and improved.

We don’t expect waterfalls, just somewhere we can relax without choking.