Alex Ye, Contributing Photographer

Elm, a cafe located within the newly-renovated Schwarzman Center, officially opened to students this past week.

A centerpiece of The Underground, Elm is a coffee shop located in the lower level of the Schwarzman Center. With a floating chandelier, a square-shaped bar and plenty of surrounding tables, Elm provides a space for Yale students and faculty to meet up, study or grab a quick bite. Although the cafe began operations two weeks ago, students received official notice of Elm’s opening last Tuesday via a campus-wide email. 

“I think it’s a great idea to have a coffee shop here,” Lekha Sunder ’23 said. “We were missing the quintessential college coffee shop, which we finally got.”

Elm is just the most recent addition to the Schwarzman Center’s dining options, which already include Commons and the Bow Wow. However, unlike other dining options, Elm does not accept meal swipes and instead accepts Eli Bucks, dining points and credit cards, according to the Yale Hospitality website.

Prior to Elm’s opening, coffee shop options on campus included the recently-reopened Silliman Acorn and non-Yale options such as Blue State Coffee, Koffee? and Willoughby’s Coffee. For some students, however, Elm provides an option that is more convenient due to its central location and spacious setting. Sunder in particular said that Elm provided much more space for studying than alternatives like the Silliman Acorn. 

Drew Dauphinee ’24 echoed the sentiment, saying that he would be coming back in the future to study in the Elm.

“It’s more comfortable to bring your work and do work around here,” said Dauphinee. “Everything looks clean, it’s very simple but still elegant.”

Surrounding Elm is the rest of The Underground, which includes multicolored booths, tables and a stage in the back. Also located within the cafe is a fireplace, which cafe employee Takarra Williams pointed out as one of Elm’s highlights. 

Both Dauphinee and Sunder added that Elm’s location was an additional perk. For Dauphinee, the central location of the Schwarzman Center makes Elm a convenient stop between classes. Sunder also said that since Elm is located right below the Commons dining hall, she is able to make a quick stop immediately after lunch.

Indeed, the first week of opening saw its busiest hours around lunchtime, according to Williams.

“Around 12:30-1:30 p.m., there’s definitely a little rush,” Williams said. “Once in a blue moon, there’ll be a rush after 3:30 p.m.”

Beyond coffee, Elm also sells an assortment of offerings including gelato, baked goods from New Haven’s Sanctuary Kitchen and Havenly, sushi, snacks, beverages and more. In addition, the Elm offers sandwiches, soups and salads as lunch options.

In terms of drinks, Elm serves a variety of coffee, espresso drinks and tea with occasional specials depending on the season. Williams emphasized that all of Elm’s coffee is made in-house, brewed personally by employees using small-batch coffee roasters.

Williams also reminded students that purchases must be made with approved payment options, such as Eli Bucks and dining points, or personal credit cards.

“Meal swipes are not accepted here,” Williams said. “It’s heartbreaking when [the students] don’t know.”

Despite this, however, the general consensus regarding Elm appears to be positive. Dauphinee, for instance, will “definitely” be coming back in the future, whether it is to grab a coffee or have a study session. 

Likewise, Williams also described the excitement that occupied Elm during opening week, telling the News that her favorite part about working at Elm so far has been seeing the reaction of students and faculty to the cafe.

“Everybody who goes to Yale should definitely come down here once before the semester’s over,” Dauphinee said.

Elm is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.