Seniors Upset Over Limited Steins at Pub

Students say beer offer wasn't sufficiently publicized

Unnamed photo
Jacqueline J. Genser

Steins adorn the walls of the Queen’s Head pub, where seniors with Upper Hall memberships will soon fill these mugs for free on select Fridays.

Tonight 100 seniors will christen their steins with drinks on Harvard’s dime at the Cambridge Queen’s Head pub.

The cups are their reward for waiting in line for over an hour at the Harvard Box Office on Wednesday.

Many of their peers left the Holyoke Center disgruntled and frustrated. Even more weren’t even aware that the steins were available.

Those at the front of the line were able to purchase membership in the pub’s exclusive Upper Hall program. For $50, members get steins guaranteeing them three free drinks every other Friday night this fall and on every week for a portion of the spring semester.

“If they attend every hall, that’s a $300 value not including the stein and the keychain,” said Nathan A. Taylor ’08, a student manager at the pub.

Many seniors complained that they didn’t know yesterday was their only opportunity to buy the tickets.

“There was a general consensus that people just hadn’t heard about it,” said Kevin R. McMullen ’08, who was present on Wednesday.

General Manager Scott C. Smider ’01 said the program was publicized through House e-mail lists and activity fairs.

Approximately 150 people showed up on Wednesday.

Smider added that the tickets were sold exclusively at the Harvard Box Office to avoid the “chaotic” scenes witnessed last year, when they were also sold at the pub door.

Smider ’01 insists that there will be other opportunities to gain access to Upper Hall.

Forty-eight steins will be distributed among the 12 upperclass Houses, and eight will be awarded to the senior class marshals, although no more will be available for purchase.

Upper Hall will be open to all students but only those with stein membership will be able to drink for free.

“We definitely want everyone to have the opportunity to be a part of this,” Smider said.

This is not the only controversial change made at the pub recently. At the start of this semester, the price of a pint of beer increased from $2.00 to $3.25, making it no longer the cheapest beer in Cambridge.

At Grendel’s Den, a pint of beer costs $2.50, though at John Harvard’s the same amount goes for $4.45.

“I don’t think anyone’s happy about that,” McMullen said about the increase. “I feel that people will grumble about it but at the end of the day they’ll still come around.”

Taylor said the increase was warranted, adding that while the pub was not established to make a profit, it could not sustain the revenue lost on each drink.

“We’re here trying to make this thing as cheap as possible,” Smider said. “This isn’t a business, this is the University doing something for the community.”

—Natalie I. Sherman contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Abby D. Phillip can be reached at

New Events on Tap at Pub (Sept. 12, 2007): In its second semester of operation, Harvard’s undergraduate pub is looking to expand its reach with extended operating hours and a revised calendar of events.