Brother's Bar

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00:11:21 minutes

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date

Spring 4-1-2014


Rhetoric 0020


Anna Williams


This podcast is centered on the notion that Brother's Bar is an influential part of the downtown Iowa City community.

One of the top bars in Iowa City is Brothers Bar and Grill. Founded in 1990, this bar is the most known bar to students here at the University of Iowa. They have a great amount of deals every day, whether it is on beverages or food. They are most known for Thursday night Mug Club, the dance floor, the outdoor area, and the amount of space to mingle throughout the night or during the day. It is friendly to all ages, unlike some of the other bars downtown, and this is why everyone knows about it. But do these students know what Brothers is really about? There are all different types of students, and every student has their own opinion on the bar. Everyone says that you cannot say that you know the bar until you have experienced it yourself.

Our group chose to conduct our podcast on Brother’s Bar and Grill that is located in downtown Iowa City because it is such a staple. We know that many students attend Brother’s because of its local charm and neighborhood friendliness. The decision to interview exclusively students was made because we wanted to hear about the popular and more unpopular aspects of the bar from its most frequent group of customers. The students were also more likely to give us their candid thoughts and opinions about their experiences with Brother’s, as opposed to workers and managers having to give us a "politically correct" statement that does not impugn the bar. Our group tried to set up an interview with the manager of Brother’s, but he respectfully declined because it is a corporate policy that they do not do any interviews that are going to be broadcasted for the public to hear. We conducted our interviews first, with as many students as possible, to see what kind of angle or narrative we could develop. After the interviews were finished, we realized that students had a lot of positive experiences and stories to tell about their visits to Brother’s and we wanted to highlight those, along with their reasoning for why Brother’s is sometimes less-frequented than other Iowa City bars. This touch-and-go relationship that students seem to have with the bar is part of the reason that we chose this specific location. When you ask students how they feel about Brother’s Bar, they are either extremely enthusiastic and supportive of the bar or they say that they would never go to Brother’s “in a million years”. To avoid any interviews that we could not use, we chose to interview specific students who we know go out to the bars downtown on a regular basis, and who go to Brother’s almost every weekend.

The interviews were gathered over the course of a week, and we asked basic questions about what the students liked best about the bar, what they liked worst, and if they had any specific memories or experiences that they wanted to share about their visits to Brother’s. Everybody that we spoke to was open to being interviewed and felt comfortable speaking openly. After collecting all of our interviews, we really started to get excited about telling the story of what Brother’s really means and represents from the point of view of students because we felt like we captured that perfectly. As we listened to the interviews, the narrative started to write itself.

The mixing process was fairly simple as well because once we had listened to all of the interviews that we conducted, we knew which pieces we wanted to use and where they would fit the best. We met up to collaborate on what we wanted to say in-between the sound clips so that it made sense, but also summed up what we were trying to portray to the audience. This process was actually quite fast also because we all equally contributed to the brainstorming process and we tried to divide up the speaking parts fairly so that everyone was featured in the podcast and so that one person was not doing all of the work. We had a little difficulty with figuring out the audio process at the beginning, but once we did, it turned out exactly the way we wanted. The rhetorical tactics that we decided to use were from all areas of pathos, ethos, and logos. When asking students to share their favorite memories and positive experiences, we are asking them to make emotional connections to the space. The happiness and good feelings can be felt through their voices and word choices in this podcast which also helps set the tone of the positive reflections and fond memories. Second, we can logically connect with the reasons that students give for not liking Brother’s, or at least certain aspects of the bar. When someone says, it is not that much fun to go to a bar at certain times in the evening because there are a lot of police officers patrolling, it makes perfect sense. Nobody wants to get caught by the cops for any reason, and especially not in a setting where all you want to do is relax and have fun with your friends. Finally, both of these arguments made by what the students say and our group’s narrative can be backed up with credibility because as college kids, we have first-hand experience with the downtown Iowa City community. There is no more credible source for what Brother’s Bar actually represents than a group of people who have visited on many occasions, with no expectations and were always met with a different experience.


125 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240


Copyright © 2014 Anna Mohrhauser, Aimee Tarun, Corey Burns and Rocio Zavala


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