The happiest hour at the Law School is 3:30 on Friday. With another grueling week of classes behind them, students and faculty alike can put aside law, economics, and other questionable social sciences for a few hours, and go where everybody knows their names. Wine Mess, the Law School's popular weekly social event, offers students a decidedly non-academic excuse to spend a few hours at school before beginning the weekend.
At other law schools, students may have to hunt for a special permit in order to put together a school-wide party complete with music, food and alcohol. At Chicago, Wine Mess has been a mainstay of Friday afternoons in the Green Lounge for over 30 years. Thanks to Law School funding, an extensive array of domestic and imported beers, wines, mixed drinks, soft drinks and juices are all available at bargain prices. The snacks are on the house, as is the music. Dancing is encouraged, though not required.
Each week also features a new Wine Mess theme, with corresponding music, advertising and food & drink specials. During "Oktoberfest Wine Mess," German holiday garb is appropriate, and steins of all sizes will filled for the price of one beer. Expect your martinis to be shaken, not stirred at "007 Wine Mess." And don't be surprised to hear plenty of UB40 at "Red, Red Wine Mess."
Wine Mess is commonly recognized as one of the best ways for students to make new friends at the Law School. It can also be a great chance to meet people outside the Law School Community. In the past, Wine Mess has played host to students from other schools at the University of Chicago, and to students from other schools such as Northwestern. Law students also enjoy taking advantage of the chance to socialize informally with the faculty. It's a sure shot you'll run into some, if not all, of your teachers at Wine Mess. After all, professors do drink for free.
Wine Mess is entirely run by a group of student volunteers. Each week, like something out of Tom Cruise's Cocktail, they twirl bottles, twist limes and shake mixers in their efforts to faithfully serve their fellow classmates. These law students may not receive any pay for their services, but as the only students who get to drink absolutely free of charge, they easily have the best job on campus. And the fun of organizing a weekly party isn't the only sense of satisfaction they get; each year, a portion of Wine Mess's profits are donated to charity.
You may not receive any academic credit for attendance, and it's probably not the sort of thing you'd put on a resume, but many alums will remember their Friday afternoons in the Green Lounge as some of their most memorable experiences in law school. At Wine Mess, everyone passes the "bar," and even without a seating chart most everyone knows your name.