G-C-B. Three letters that have an incredibly unique connotation within the context of the Brown bubble. Though a simple Google search yields results that include a recently cancelled sitcom on ABC, “Global Corruption Barometer,” and “Genomics and Computational Biology,” on College Hill, the three letters bring to mind one thing and one thing only: the Graduate Center Bar. The Graduate Center Bar occupies a place of magic and mystery for the majority of one’s time at Brown. Faint conversation rings throughout campus: “I heard they serve free drinks there!” “I can’t wait to turn 21 so I can have my first beer!” “Why are you sitting with us?…” Despite the somewhat legendary status of the bar, the GCB does have quite a unique historical relationship with Brown as an institution.
The GCB was established in 1969, after a year-long battle with the city of Rhode Island over the Graduate Student Council’s request for a liquor license. The bar opened as a component of the Jelly Bean Lounge (a truly terrible name) on the site of the modern day Bear’s Lair. With the onset of Vietnam War, Rhode Island became one of the few states to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18 and, as a result, the Graduate Center Bar transformed into the epicenter of campus life. However, due to a rampant increase in drunk-driving related incidents, the state was forced to progressively reinstate a heightened drinking age, ultimately raising it back to 21 in 1984. With this new legislation in place, the popularity of the bar soon dwindled and was forced to relocate to a smaller space, which it still occupies today.
Within the context of modern Brunonia, the GCB serves as a refreshing escape from the basements of Wriston and lines of Whisco, and is truly a hub of life and conversation on the Brown campus. If you happen to be looking for a cheese plate or a bag of nuts at 4:30pm on a Tuesday, the GCB is conveniently located to satisfy your cravings. Though many of you may be dying to know exactly what the GCB looks like, (and if they really do have two pool tables and a dart board and more beverage selections that you can imagine) you’ll just have to wait until you turn 21. Ra Ra Brunonia!