The portraits of the 11 Princeton eating clubs are presented below in order of their social prestige and coolness, as determined by a handful of current students and alumni. (Unscientific and superficial, we admit.)
The descriptions of the clubs have been excerpted and condensed from the clubs’ home page, www.princetoneatingclubs.org. The names of the alumni members are from the new book by Clifford W. Zink, “The Princeton Eating Clubs,” available at Labyrinth Books on Nassau Street and on Amazon ($75). The photographs are among the more than 500 images that appear in the Zink book. For more about the book, visit www.princetonprospectfoundation.org.
#b#1.) Ivy Club#/b#
Ivy continues to draw a vibrant mix of students to its venerable dining room. The club today is represented by a current membership of 135 Princeton juniors and seniors. The club became coeducational with the section of 1991. The graduate membership exceeds 2,000 Princetonians who frequent the club on their visits to campus. New traditions have been welcomed and embraced.
“Even though F. Scott Fitzgerald describes Ivy as ‘breathlessly aristocratic’ in This Side of Paradise, it is actually filled with close friendships and good times,” writes Folasade Runcie, 2018, club president, on the website www.princetoneatingclubs.org. “On a typical day at Ivy, one may see members playing pool, enjoying ‘good banter,’ having an impromptu dance party in the tap room, or studying all over the club. Since it’s a smaller club, every member actually knows each other no matter how close they are. Some of my favorite nights are Risky Business where we channel our inner Tom Cruise, and speakeasy where members travel back to the 1920s and enter through a secret entrance.”
Notable alumni: Booth Tarkington, 1893, author; Hobey Baker 1914, hockey and football hall of famer; John Marshall Harlan, 1920, Supreme Court justice; Laurance Rockefeller, 1932, philanthropist; James A. Baker III, 1952, secretary of the treasury and state; B. Frank Deford, 1961, sportswriter; William Clay Ford Jr., 1979, chairman, Ford Motor Co.; Michael Lewis, 1982, author; Elizabeth Kemper, 2002, writer and actress; and Joey Cheek, 2011, Olympic gold medalist in speed skating.
#b#2.) Cottage Club#/b#
The current two and a half story Georgian Revival clubhouse was designed by Charles Follem McKim of McKim, Mead and White in 1903 and built in 1906. The library on the second floor is modeled on the 14th century library in Merton College, Oxford University. Many rooms are paneled in English oak, with carved ceilings and cornices. Great marble fireplaces grace several areas with mottoes over the mantels. In the dining room, one such carving reads “Ubi Amici Ibidem Sunt Opes” (“Where there are friends there are riches”) which has become over the years a motto of the club.
“Cottage has a fun environment that is evident from the moment you enter the front door,” writes William Haynes, 2018, club president. “On pleasant days our members can be found playing lawn games and soaking up rays. When the weather isn’t so kind, members will more likely be huddled around a fireplace playing Settlers of Catan and hanging out until the next meal. Rain or shine, our members never fail to enjoy each other’s company. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Princeton school year, there’s no place I’d rather spend my free time than at Cottage.”
Over the years 15 members have been Rhodes Scholars. Women were admitted in 1986. Today the club’s purpose is not only to be a gathering place for meals and friendship, but also a sanctuary to study, relax, and enhance the quality of life for its current members, alumni, and their guests.
In 1999 the club was entered onto the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Register of Historic Places based on the architectural structure of the building and high degree of historic integrity. These recognitions will help to preserve this historic treasure for future generations.
Notable alumni: Edgar Palmer, 1903, developer; John Foster Dulles, 1908, secretary of state; James Forrestal, 1915, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1917, author; Jose Ferrer, 1935, actor; Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, 1943, attorney general; Brendan T. Byrne, 1949, governor; Richard W. Kazmaier, 1952, Heisman Trophy winner; John McPhee, 1953, author, Pulitzer Prize winner; William W. Bradley, 1965, NBA player and U.S. senator; Robert Mueller, 1966, FBI director and special prosecutor; A. Scott Berg, 1971, author, Pulitzer Prize winner; William Frist, 1974, heart surgeon, U.S. senator; Mellody Hobson, 1991, business executive; and George Parros, 2003, Stanley Cup winning hockey player.
#b#3.) Tiger Inn#/b#
Welcome to the home of the Glorious Tiger Inn, the third oldest club on the street. The contributions of over a century of traditions and fiercely loyal alumni have resulted in an amazingly fun-loving and tightly knit community. Stop by this classic Tudor building any day of the week and you will find members and their guests studying away, enjoying a meal or sharing a drink in one of the most beautiful spots on campus.
Founded in 1890, the Tiger Inn was the third eating club to be established. It was founded in response to the University’s inability to provide enough dining opportunities but quickly became a social center for many students on campus. Becoming co-ed in 1991, The Glorious has become one of the most sought after bicker clubs on the street for both male and female Princeton students.
Notable alumni: Robert Garrett, 1897, gold medalist in discus and shot put in the first modern Olympics; Frank Taplin, 1937, president, Metropolitan Opera; John Doar, 1944, civil rights advocate; Thomas Hoving, 1953, director, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Wayne Rogers, 1954, actor (Trapper John on MASH); Charles Gogolak, 1966, NFL placekicker; Robert Hugin, 1976, chairman, Celgene Corp.; Wycliffe Grousbeck, 1983, CEO, Boston Celtics.
#b#4.) Cannon Dial Elm #/b#
The club, comprised of three formerly separate clubs, claims one of the finest living rooms on Prospect — a two-story chamber dominated by a beautiful medieval fireplace. Club members take advantage of the space, with members lounging, horsing around, and studying.
Built in 1915, the Cannon clubhouse has three stories plus the largest basement on Prospect Avenue. Club officers occupy 10 rooms on the third floor of the stone building. Walking down from the officer quarters, you will find the second floor dedicated to academic pursuits, with the exception being the 30-person theater room that is filled during the Super Bowl and March Madness. On the first floor are the Crane Common Room, the billiards room, the music room, and the card room. Spanning three separate taprooms, the club basement is notable for the Green Bar, the Derby Bar, and the Red Bar. The club’s iconic mounted cannon lords over Prospect in stoic fashion.
Notable alumni, Cannon: Paul Sarbanes, 1954, U.S. congressman and senator; Norman Augustine, 1957, chairman, Lockheed Martin; James Morgan, 1963, chairman, Atari; Frank Biondi, 1966, CEO, Viacom and Universal Studios; Michael O’Neill, 1969, chairman, Citigroup.
Elm: Malcolm Forbes, 1941, publisher; Frank Stella, 1958, painter, sculptor; Bradford Smith, 1981, Microsoft president.
Dial: James Billington, 1950, Librarian of Congress; Gerhard Andlinger, 1952, business executive and Princeton benefactor; Karen Smyers, 1983, world champion triathlete.
#b#5.) Terrace Club#/b#
Terrace is dedicated to providing food, love, music, and good vibes to its members and Princeton students at large. Terrace is founded on principles of acceptance and welcomes all who wish to make it their home. As Princeton allowed new demographic groups to attend, Terrace has always been among the first to receive them with open doors. Today it’s the only club to allow graduate students to join.
Twice a week Terrace books live shows by real musicians. We’re one of the best venues this side of the Hudson River. Terrace exists as a haven for its members to explore their creativity and themselves. The mothership provides the tools to empower anyone who wants to do something positive for the community. It’s this culture that spawns stuff like fourth course. We have a meal served at 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday nights.
Why wouldn’t you have that? Food is Love. Terrace is the future.
Notable alumni: William Scheide, 1936, philanthropist; Mel Ferrer, 1939, actor, director; Galway Kinnell, 1948, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; Richard Riordan, 1952, mayor, Los Angeles; Alan Blinder, 1967, member, U.S. Federal Reserve; Stanley Jordan, 1981, jazz guitarist; Joshua Marshall, 1991, founder, Talking Points Memo; Timothy Ferriss, 2000, entrepreneur, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek;” Michael Scanlon, 2001, founder, Lumosity.
#b#6. Cap & Gown#/b#
The Cap and Gown clubhouse was built in 1908 and was designed by Raleigh Gildersleeve, who also designed McCosh 50 on the main campus and the dining hall at the Graduate College. Our historic building remained essentially unchanged until 100 years later when the club launched a successful campaign to expand the club.
On the first floor Cap has a living room with fireplace, a sun porch, our historic dining room, and our new dining room. The new dining room, equipped with a powerful speaker system, accommodates nearly 200 people and is great for parties and dances.
Downstairs Cap has a brand-new taproom featuring a granite-topped bar, four taps, a television, a speaker system and a jukebox for a wide array of nighttime activities and fun. Cap members love all different types of music and games — so whether you’re into dancing, chatting with friends, or just relaxing, the taproom is a favorite for everyone.
The second floor roof deck provides the perfect place to hang out on warm, sunny days. The recent renovation included the addition of a landscaped courtyard flanked by double decker balconies. This is the scene for fall tailgates, tent parties, and Cap’s famous outdoor barbecues (with our enormous grill).
Notable alumni: Allen Dulles, 1914, CIA director; George Bunn, 1938, coffee maker entrepreneur; Donald Rumsfeld, 1954, U.S. Secretary of Defense; Chris Hart, 1969, chairman, National Transportation Safety Board; Michael Porter, 1969, competitive advantage theorist; Meg Whitman, 1977, business executive, political activist; David Kelley, 1979, television writer and producer (LA Law); Brooke Shields, 1987, actress; Dean Cain, 1988, actor, producer; Ghazi bin Muhammad, 1988, prince of Jordan; Chris Young, 2002, major league pitcher.
Founded in 1912, Cloister Inn fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, encourages its members to make their mark, and inspires members to use the Inn as a starting point for whatever pursuits impassion them. With a membership that has attracted more Olympic athletes over the years than any other eating club, Cloister Inn is a community that promotes success and happiness for all of its members, whether they are Olympians or not. Club motto: “Where everybody knows your name”
We provide an eating club experience for all without restriction on membership, because we believe you should not have to jump through hoops in order to eat meals with your peers and socialize with your friends. For the past 104 years Cloister Inn has demonstrated that our model works as we continue to provide a warm environment for all who walk through our doors to eat, relax, study, and have fun.
Members of Cloister Inn — or Innmates, as we like to call them — take full advantage of our offerings from day one of joining as sophomores. Whether that means requesting a new item for our dinner menu rotation, spontaneously organizing a hot tub party, getting a fire going in the hearth, or simply catching a nap on one of the many incredibly comfortable sofas in the house, members are always encouraged to make use of every amenity the club has to offer. Cloister Inn is also unique in providing leadership opportunities to every member of the club, whether they’re a new sophomore member or a second-semester senior.
Notable alumni: Charles Scribner IV, 1943, publisher; Elena Kagan, 1981, Supreme Court justice; Eliot Spitzer, 1981, New York governor; Jodi Picoult, 1987, novelist; Derek Bouchard-Hall , 1992, Olympic cyclist and USA Cycling CEO; Nicholas Confessore, 1998, New York Times political correspondent; Caroline Lind, 2006, Olympic gold medal rower; Kent DeMond, 2007, cliff diver and Hollywood stunt man.
“If I had to describe Charter in three words, they would be ‘Best Princeton Experience.’ Charter is hot-chocolate by the fire on a winter day, late night board games, and a group of people to study and party with,” says club president Liz Stanley, Class of 2018. “Charter membership comes with our amazing food, a clubhouse that’s equipped with as many gaming systems as study spaces, monthly cocktail nights that feature an open bar and performers, and smaller study breaks such as spa and movie nights, all with a close knit community that makes you feel at home. My favorite memories at Charter are my friends here encouraging me to go outside of my comfort zone and grow as a person.”
Notable alumni: James Stewart, 1932, actor; Jose Ferrer, 1933, actor and film director; T. Berry Brazelton, 1940, pediatrician and author; Bowie Kuhn, 1948, major league baseball commissioner; Mitch Daniels, 1981; former governor of Indiana, president of Purdue; David Duchovny, 1982, actor; Bart Gellman, 1982, Pulitzer Prize-winning jornalist; Jack Donaghy, 1985, fictional character on 30 Rock; Mark Shapiro, 1989, major league baseball executive.
Tower is epitomized by the dining room table. Sit down for a meal, and the first thing you’ll notice is the number of people eating dinner. At Tower, an eight-person table can always hold a few more. As the conversation gets started, you’ll notice that it touches on all sorts of topics. Tower consistently attracts members from a broad array of interests. During your meal, you could be next to singers, dancers, writers, EMTs, actors, athletes, and more. The openness and friendly atmosphere at Tower draws many a diverse person.
But of course, what you will without a doubt notice is the quality of the food. Every club will tell you that they have excellent food, but there is no question that Tower’s is the best on the street. And no need to take our word for it: many of our friends from other clubs have a meal in Tower only to praise the “restaurant style” food we have. All meals can be made to order, whether it’s a breakfast omelet, the Buddha sandwich for lunch (ham, fried egg, and cheese) and perhaps salmon or osso buco for dinner. The credit goes to our amazing staff.
Notable alumni: Joshua Logan, 1932, writer, producer; Roger Berlind, 1954, Wall Street CEO and Broadway producer; Charles Gibson, 1965, television news anchor; John Stossel, 1969, consumer advocate and libertarian news commentator; Robin Herman, 1973, first New York Times woman sportswriter; Georgia Nugent, 1973, president, Kenyon College; Michael Brown, 1987, astronomer; and Catherine Rampell, 2007, syndicated columnist.
Established in 1891, Colonial Club is the fifth oldest club on Prospect Avenue. As the first of Princeton’s eating clubs to move away from bicker and to go coeducational in 1969, Colonial has retained an openness that has encompassed the heart of our community ever since. Members of Colonial Club are a part of a genuine, diverse, and intellectual family, all enjoying an unparalleled dining experience.
The club was referred to as “flamboyant Colonial” by F. Scott Fitzgerald — a legacy that persists in our members, alumni, and graduate members today.
Furthermore, members of Colonial participate in various academic and professional endeavors including Colonial Investments, the club’s student-run portfolio of more than $100,000 in assets under management; Colonial’s Professor Dinner Series, where notable Princeton professors debate and discuss with our members over dinner and drinks; and Colonial Mixers, where current Colonialites have the opportunity to meet alumni in medicine, law, business, government, and finance.
Colonial’s second floor is unrivaled in size along all of Prospect. There is a large, antique-styled library with plenty of room for quiet studying or group work. Next to it is a small study displaying Colonial’s profound history with a great view of the Street. Near the end of the hall, Colonial has a computer lab courtesy of Google’s Eric Schmidt, and a recreational room equipped with a pool table, ping pong table, and foosball table.
Notable alumni: Norman Thomas, 1905, six-time Socialist presidential candidate; Claiborne Pell, 1940, senator and creator of Pell grants; Pete Conrad, 1953, the third man to walk on the moon; Peter Gott, 1957, medical doctor and syndicated columnist — Ask Dr. Gott; Landon Y. Jones, 1966, author and People magazine editor; Eric E. Schmidt, 1976, executive chairman of Google; Ted Cruz, 1992, senator and 2016 presidential candidate; Wentworth Miller, 1995, star of the TV series Prison Break; and Sara Baiyu Chen, 2008, singer, songwriter, actress.
Founded in 1901 and referred to as “literary Quadrangle” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, present-day Quad is known as one of the most diverse and welcoming clubs at the University. As demonstrated by our unofficial club motto, you find at Quad not only an eating club, but a home-away-from-home for your upperclass years at Princeton. Quad is known for hosting amazing USG concerts (previous acts include Maroon 5, Rihanna, and B.O.B), having the best technology on the Street, and its delicious Soul Food Night. Most ‘Dranglers consider Quad their home on campus, and can be found within the building’s four corners day and night.
Notable alumni: Adlai Stevenson, 1922, governor of Illinois and two-time Democratic nominee for president; G. Mennen Williams, 1933, Michigan governor; Robert Goheen, 1940, former president of Princeton; George Schultz, 1942, secretary of treasury and secretary of state; Robert Venturi, 1947, architect; Gordon Wu, 1958, Hong Kong businessman; J. Robert Hiller, 1959, architect; Robert Durkee, 1969, secretary, Princeton University; Jeff Bezos, 1986, founder and CEO of Amazon.com; and Sarah Best Durst, 1996, novelist.