This Friday, Yale students will make the annual pilgrimage to Cambridge to show those poor Cantabs that Elis know not only how to dominate on the field but, more importantly, how to party. Having a drink or two — or three, or four — in the company of Harvard students is as much a part of the weekend’s tradition as the Game itself.

“It’s an American legend,” said Paul Barry of Grafton Street Bar. “Two of the greatest institutions coming to do battle on the field and then partying together afterwards.”

With the annual Harvard-Yale game in Cambridge, Yalies might find it harder to find a drink; both Harvard and the city of Cambridge are notoriously strict in enforcing laws against underage drinking. Cambridge bars take carding seriously and Harvard cracks down on underage drinking, said Gavin Pratt ’01, who works in the Boston area and is the Young Alumni Chairman for the Yale Club of Boston.

“It’s just something about Massachusetts, it’s a Puritan state,” said David Gliklich, a Harvard senior. “They try to crack down on drinking as much as possible.”

Generally, those of drinking age should plan to hit the many Cambridge bars rather than stay on campus, said Pratt, who is helping to organize an alumni pub crawl for Friday night. Many seniors are participating in a senior class pub crawl organized by the senior event committee. The wide variety of bars in Cambridge makes them a preferable option to staying on campus.

“Staying on campus is only an alternative for students who haven’t seen their long-lost Harvard friends in a while,” Pratt said.

But for freshmen, sophomores and some juniors who have no prayer of getting into a bar, there are on-campus alternatives. The most popular parties for underage Harvard students are private house parties, said Trevor Katende, a Harvard senior.

The Harvard “finals clubs” will also be throwing parties this weekend — but good luck getting in if you do not know a high-profile Harvard student. Freshmen, who will have the hardest time finding drinks, should start their night as early as possible to increase their chances of getting into parties, Gliklich said.

For those who are fortunate enough to have been born before November of 1981, or who have amazingly good fake IDs, the following guide will help with the search for the perfect bar for any mood. But because it is Harvard-Yale weekend, expect to wait on long lines before entering any bar, especially the popular ones featured in the two official pub crawls.


The Hong Kong

136 Mass. Ave.

Open until 2 a.m.

Pints for $3.75

The Kong is the bar of choice for the average undergrad. The hockey team is notorious for frequenting this bar. With its reasonable prices and the biggest capacity in the Square, the Hong Kong will be so crowded this weekend that bartender Mike Hayes suggests students leave the stadium before the football game is over to avoid waiting on a long line.

John Harvard’s Brew House

33 Dunster St.

Open until 2 a.m.

Pints for $2.95 to $3.75

A designer microbrewery, John Harvard’s is most popular on Monday evenings. However, it should be very crowded this weekend with Harvard and Yalies alike flocking to this famous bar. But expect long lines, as it is a stop on both Yale pub crawls.



45 1/2 Mt. Auburn St.

Open until 1 a.m.

Pints for $4

Described as “upscale casual” by bartender Kevin Fethe, Daedalus bar and restaurant is a popular place to take a date because of the good food (mahi mahi, steak frites) and laid-back atmosphere. With an upstairs atrium and festive music, it draws many Harvard students who are attracted by its trendy charm.

Grafton Street Pub and Grille

1280 Mass. Ave.

Open until 1 a.m.

Pints for $4 to $4.50

Home of Paul Barry, who describes himself as “Boston’s Best Bartender,” Grafton is known as a popular place for a young yet classy crowd, described by some Cantabs as yuppies. Barry said he expects to be busy this weekend, acting as a “beer referee” and handling disputes between the reds and the blues. If you’re looking for the best pint of Guinness on the Boston side of the Mass. Turnpike, head over to Grafton.

“We can drink and have a good time,” Barry said. “You’ll always meet someone here.”

Redline Bar and Restaurant

59 JFK Boulevard

Open until 2 a.m.

Pints for $4

Redline Bar is a popular place for Harvard students to start their nights. Attracting a crowd in search of an upscale atmosphere, Redline offers great food and attracts an exuberant crowd. On the weekends, Redline opens its dance floor and plays dance music ranging from hip-hop to techno. To make it through the front door, show up early and be of age — Redline cards diligently.


Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery

50 Church St.

Open until 1 a.m.

Pints start at $3.50

Rock Bottom is not as pretentious as other bars in Cambridge, but it has been described as a “solid” place that sells good beer. A casual brew/pub with Southwestern influences, Rock Bottom is the only bar in Cambridge with a 50-foot glass-enclosed atrium. It’s a favorite among college kids looking for a laid-back place to have a few drinks with their friends.

Grendel’s Den

89 Winthrop St

Open until 1 a.m.

Pints for $4 on tap, Guinness for $4.20

Laid-back Grendel’s is a grad student’s bar — it attracts an “alternative” crowd. Undergrads who do not want to deal with other undergrads often go to Grendel’s for a change of scene. Serving food from burgers to Indian to Mediterranean to Italian, Grendel’s hosts what they claim is the “best happy hour in town” from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on the weekends with half-price drinks. With a tradition of attracting many Yale students during The Game weekend, Grendel’s expects to be packed this weekend.

Out of the way — so you might get in

Charlie’s Kitchen

10 Eliot St.

Open until 2 a.m.

Pints for $4.50

Drawing a unique and diverse crowd ranging from Harvard students to local punk rock kids, Charlie’s Kitchen is described by one Yale student as the quintessential greasy diner. Comparable to New Haven’s Richter’s, Charlie’s is chill and laid back, but most Harvard students say it’s more a place to grab a burger than spend the evening. The downstairs is suitable for conversation, while upstairs has a more rock-and-roll feel, allowing Charlie’s to accommodate a variety of people.

House of Blues

96 Winthrop St.

Open until 2 a.m.

Pints for $3.25 to $4.25

If you’re looking for live music, House of Blues is the place to go. Though the bands usually dictate the atmosphere and the crowd at House of Blues, it is generally down-to-earth and casual. However, students agree that it is not one of the more popular sites for the younger crowd. This weekend is House of Blues’ 10th anniversary, and it will be serving all-you-can-eat jambalaya for $10 on Saturday and Sunday to celebrate.

Cambridge Commons

1667 Mass. Ave.

Open until 2 a.m.

Pints for $3.25 to $4.25

Located 10 minutes from Harvard Square, Commons is a hike but will probably not be as crowded as the other bars. A typical smoky bar, Commons is known for its live music.