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Crowd Flocks to Pub's Grand Debut

Cambridge Queen's Head opens to throngs of eager merrymakers

The doors of the Cambridge Queen’s Head pub were opened to the public yesterday, following a ribbon-cutting at the opening ceremony.
The doors of the Cambridge Queen’s Head pub were opened to the public yesterday, following a ribbon-cutting at the opening ceremony.
By Aditi Banga and Victoria B. Kabak, Crimson Staff Writerss

With old artifacts and a gargoyle adorning the walls, past and present merged yesterday as over 700 people crowded into the Cambridge Queen’s Head in Loker Commons for a grand opening ceremony featuring finger sandwiches, shuffleboard, and the cutting of a giant crimson ribbon.

At the pub’s long-awaited opening, attendees had free reign to explore the new space, while enjoying mini-burgers, potato skins, small sandwiches, and brownie triangles offered to them by the serving staff.

Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 kicked off the ceremony, held in the hallway outside the pub, by describing the connection between Harvard’s Queen’s Head and a tavern in Southwark, England, with the same name. John Harvard bequeathed the Southwark locale to the University in the 19th century, but it later burned down.

The pub’s opening came after a series of delays resulting from the discovery of lead paint filaments and an architectural redesign.

The masterminds behind the project, Geisinger Professor of History William C. Kirby and Loker Commons Project Manager Zachary A Corker ’04 spoke at the event, but many were unable to hear the speeches due to the size of the crowd.

Corker and Kirby, along with the mayor of Southwark, snipped the ribbon with a pair of giant scissors. And Southwark Council Leader Nick Stanton inaugurated the tap, ordering a pint of Guinness with a five-pound note.

Stanton and other representatives from Southwark were honored with an invitation-only dinner yesterday evening. The 50-odd guests included administrators, students, Corker’s family, and the present, past, and future fun czars, with name tags labeling them Fun Czars I through IV.

“Harvard College was the best seven years of my life,” said Corker, the original fun czar, alluding to the total time he has spent at Harvard.

Students, while strategically battling their way toward the lunchtime fare, were enthusiastic about the campus’ newest addition.

“It’s like Harvard trying to be a normal college,” said David S. Marshall ’07. “I think it will do a ton to improve social life on campus.”

The pub’s first guests also commented on the thought and effort that had been put into its ambience and decor, which includes many framed artifacts acquired by Corker himself.

These items include old posters advertising House formals, a certificate of acceptance into the Varsity Club for former University President James B. Conant ’14, and a signed photograph of an alumni football star.

A scoreboard with the tally of all past Harvard-Yale football games adorns one of the walls, as does a board with the current Straus Cup standings for House intramurals.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s 100 years old, but it’s definitely got a good, authentic feel to it,” Marshall said.

Some leisurely took in the pub’s furnishings, while others headed straight for the gaming area, with its pool table, shuffleboard, and dartboard.

With over 700 attendees, the turnout met predictions made by the pub’s managers.

But Gross noted the crowd was of a manageable size.

“I didn’t want to have the Mather Lather,” he said.

The opening festivities will continue tonight, with the pub’s first fully operational shift from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Open to all undergraduates—and their prefrosh visitors—pub-goers will be treated to live music and Harvard’s very own brand of beer, 1636.

—Staff writer Aditi Banga can be reached at

—Staff writer Victoria B. Kabak can be reached at

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