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Students Mourn Rock Bottom Brewery’s Passing with Vigil

By Elizabeth W. Green, Crimson Staff Writer

The pursuit of drunkenness brought a smattering of Harvard men’s groups together last night for one last hurrah at their old haunt—in the form of a sober candlelight vigil.

The Arnold Cultural Society, committed to honoring the movie star and wannabe California governor, joined with Harvard Men Against Rape and the Civil Liberties Union of Harvard in front of Rock Bottom on Church Street to express their dissatisfaction with the meager selection of student-friendly bars in the Square.

Rock Bottom closed its doors in June, eliminating a bar-restaurant that students could count on for $2 drafts and half-priced appetizers.

“There’s no college bars left in the Square anymore,” said attendee John Paul Fox ’04.

Fox said alternatives like Redline and John Harvard’s are too expensive for the average Harvard student to frequent.

“Besides the trust-fund babies, who can afford beer at these places?” he said.

Over the summer, a representative for the owner of Rock Bottom’s property met with current seniors to brainstorm ideas on how to best fill the vacant space as well as attract more student-friendly businesses to the Square.

Rock Bottom is the fourth Square bar of its kind to fold in four years, but the site has retained its liquor license—making it possible that another bar will rise up in its wake.

A majority number of the participants, including vigil organizer Dan C. Craig ’04 were members of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

“We would like to have booze, but they won’t let us,” said Sigma Chi member Matt Eckhouse ’04. “We have candles, but not booze.”

After Craig spoke to the crowd, attendants of the vigil shared favorite Rock Bottom memories, like asking pretty girls to be theirs over dinner, sharing a last supper with Professor Bert Vaux and simply “drinking quite heavily.”

Careful not to blame only Square businesspeople for the diminished bar scene, Craig implored the attendants to reflect on what they could do to bring about change themselves.

Craig said that with more student traffic, Rock Bottom might not have been forced to turn off its taps.

“I think the problem is with us as Harvard students,” Craig said in his prepared speech. “For too long we’ve convinced ourselves that we need to put our academics before our social life. We need to become full human beings and not simply academic automatons.”

Craig called for a campus-wide “cultural shift” toward heightened beer consumption, triggering nods and calls of agreement from his thirsty crowd.

“Hopefully this will be the day for a turnaround,” Craig said.

—Staff writer Elizabeth W. Green can be reached at egreen@fas.harvard.edu.

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