Freshmen and sophomores who have hitherto looked longingly inside Toad’s Place will soon get a chance to experience it.

Starting in January, the popular New Haven nightclub will change its entry policies to allow 19- and 2o-year-olds to be admitted­­­, the club announced in a Sunday e-mail to the student body. Alcoholic beverages will still be served only to those of legal age; Toad’s owner Brian Phelps said the policy change will be accompanied by a redesign of the dance floor — including the addition of a new alcohol service area restricted to patrons 21 and over.

The change was made in response to high demand by Yale students who wanted to enjoy the club without drinking, Phelps said.

“We are going to be completely reconstructing the inner area of the club,” he said. “The new bar areas are going to have 6-foot walls in front of them. The younger kids aren’t even going to be allowed in those areas.”

He said that the new areas will come with separate ID checks to ensure compliance with Connecticut drinking laws.

In late 2005, Toad’s was raided by the Connecticut Liquor Control Commission and was subsequently punished for its leniency toward underage drinking. The raid saw the detainment of 87 underage patrons using fake identification cards.

Liquor control agents continued to raid New Haven bars and clubs in 2008; a Nov. 3 raid on Crown Street bar Hammer Jaks, for example, charged the establishment with 24 counts of sale or delivery of alcoholic liquor to minors.

Student reaction to the new entry policy was mixed. Guillermo Peralta ’12 said he would “probably” be more likely to attend the club now that students over the age of 19 are allowed in.

“It makes it so much easier,” Peralta said. “I don’t have to scavenge around [for an entry bracelet].”

Four of the 10 students interviewed said they felt the change was unnecessary, adding that they think it is already easy for underage patrons to gain entrance.

“For me it won’t make a difference because I don’t go to Toad’s,” said Hee-Sun Kang ’11. “I think it might make younger people think about going, but the people who are under 21 and want to go already have fake IDs.”

Other students interviewed expressed apathy at the situation in general, pointing out that access to Toad’s is not important to their social lives.

“Theoretically? Yeah, sure, I’ll go. Realistically? Depends on how much I drink,” said Jesse Williams ’12.

Toad’s will be open to 19- and 20-year-olds beginning after the winter recess.