Bars and restaurants in Harvard Square are seeing a surge in traffic from student patrons, and some students are speculating that it is partly the result of increased scrutiny surrounding Harvard’s off-campus social organizations and guest restrictions at at least one final club.
Mount Auburn Street, lined with several of the all-male and unrecognized social organizations, is usually bustling with crowds of students and the sounds of parties and dance music at the start of each academic year. But so far this term, the street has been largely quiet. While at least two final clubs hosted parties last weekend—the Spee and the Phoenix S.K. Clubs—others seemed to have their doors closed for much of it.
According to Felipe’s co-owner Tom Brush, the bar-restaurant has seen near-capacity crowds on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, to the point of sometimes needing to assigning an employee to check I.D.s and limit the number of people on the roof. The roof has a capacity of 100 people.
Notably, Brush said some Harvard social clubs have even rented out the roof patio, which is relatively new.
“I wish it was bigger,” he added.
Brush is not alone in noting a surge in business. David A. DuBois, Tasty Burger’s owner, said he too has noticed increased business at the Harvard Square branch of the burger and beer chain.
“It does a feel a little busier this year,” DuBois said. “We have a pretty big following with the college crowd.”
While both establishments, along with other local eateries with bars such as Daedalus and Charlie’s Kitchen, are usually popular among students, some undergraduates suggest that restrictions on final clubs may be prompting students to look elsewhere for a place to socialize, and to a higher degree than in the past.
“If you’re talking about different parties and other social scenes on campus, they’re definitely more crowded this semester,” L. Mica Yoder ’16 said.
Felipe’s was recently renovated, so Yoder suggested that it is hard to tell if its surge in business is related to Harvard’s changing social scene, but she observed that other venues have been affected, such as what she sees as an increase in the incidence of parties within Harvard’s upperclassmen Houses.
She does not see that as a positive development.
“It’s pretty negative, because it makes the party then uncomfortable, and it means that people can’t enjoy social spaces on campus because of overcrowding,” Yoder said. “And it makes it more difficult to control and [there is] less space.”
For now, though, the weather is still warm and change seems to be in the air.
“A lot of people seem to be out and about recently,” Isabel R. Steinhaus ’18 said. “Maybe we’ll see—with restrictions on the final clubs this year—things start to change.”
—Staff writer Ivan B. K. Levingston can be reached at Ivan.Levingston@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @IvanLevingston.
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