For many freshmen in their first semester, there is no question as to their Thursday night plans.
Freshman pack the three rooms of Naples, elbowing each other for a glimpse of one of the Baker’s Dozen guys, enthusiastically greeting every person they’ve ever seen, and bouncing quarters off tables into overflowing plastic cups of beer.
“I think Naples is a really good way for freshmen to meet other freshmen outside of their college,” Lauren Ng ’04 said. “Most of the time there are lots of people to meet. It can get crowded and hot, but that’s part of the fun of Naples.”
In a city overrun with pizza parlors, one might wonder what is so special about Naples.
It’s not the pizza.
While the pizza is tasty — and gets even tastier with every empty pitcher — Naples is one of few places in New Haven where underage students can buy alcohol.
Yes, anyone with $3 can giggle and order a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. After you’ve had a few, stagger up to the counter and say, “I’d like a hard.” The employees really appreciate it.
“I think it’s good for the school to have a place for kids to go that’s safe if they’re going to drink anyway,” Ng said.
On other nights, Naples — which is conveniently located on Wall Street across from Silliman College — is always a good place to pre-party or post-party, but the atmosphere is much more relaxed and intimate.
“I’d say Naples is always an excellent option, even on the weekends, just to start your night off, but maybe that’s my personal choice because I’m a beer-and-pizza girl,” Cotton Delo ’04 said.
But recently, Naples’s lax carding policies have not always been a sure thing.
Last winter, Quinnipiac College students from nearby Hamden broke up the Thursday night tradition by crowding the booths and effectively pushing Yalies back to Old Campus.
Naples employees began carding the Quinnipiac students, leading some to speculate that they wanted to send them home and bring back the regular clientele. By and large, the Quinnipiac students haven’t been seen since.
In addition, the state Liquor Control Commission has raided Naples from time to time, resulting in more stringent carding for a day or two.
Even those students over the age of 21 frequent Naples to relive those carefree freshman year Thursday nights, but upperclassmen are more likely to drop by on other nights. Be wary of older guys lingering at Naples around 12:45 on a Thursday night, trying to lure sloshed freshman girls to fraternity “Late Nights” — the “walk of shame” is the best way to spend your Friday morning.
By March, everyone with IDs will be drinking kamikazes at T.J. Tucker’s or sake-bombing at Miya’s, but the freshman experience would not be complete without a Thursday night or two spent singing along with the jukebox, splitting a pitcher with your suitemates and carving your initials into a table at Naples.