The third cup of coffee ever sold at the Underground.
It’s hardly surprising that a beverage with such a storied intellectual history–something something Enlightenment coffee shops exchange of ideas AP European history–should be so popular at Brown. Coffee, and with the businesses it fosters, is an integral part of College Hill, from the shops that dot Thayer and Wickenden to the syrupy coffee-milk that is a unique staple of the beautifully strange state of we live in.
And yet there’s much to suggest that the coffee scene here isn’t quite as unified as it could be; witness the trek necessary to get to Dave’s Coffee and/or Coffee Exchange, the lackluster options at Starbucks and Blue State, and the plainly mediocre stuff they serve at campus establishments (RIP Bear Buzz).
Most campus establishments, that is. The Underground, which opened Monday, appears to be the coffee shop that College Hill both deserves and needs. It combines the geographic centrality of the Blue Room, the expertise of Dave’s Coffee (which supplies the roasts themselves), and the enthusiasm of the Brown/RISD Coffee Society (who were consulted for proper brewing methods).
The Underground, that space directly under the Blue Room whose name you might have forgotten, has a storied history. Evidence of its past as a key player in Brown social life is on display today. Take the bar on the room’s wall: do you think that was just for show? Nope. Back in the Wild West days of legal drinking for all those 18 years of age and older, there was a genuine bar down there. Indeed, the Underground might be worthy of its own Ra Ra Brunonia post. It has been the host of everything from Funk Nites to IFF screenplay reads, with a few desperate last-minute study breaks in between.
On Monday, however, the Underground will take on a new role. Just in time to revive Brunonia from a crippling post-Spring Weekend group hangover, a group of students will be launching a coffee shop that has been months in the making. Katie Murphy ’16, Yousef Hilmy ’16, and Viktor Gavrielov ’15 have been working with SAO, the Blue Room, and even President Paxson to radically reimagine the space.
The grand opening is on Monday at 9 a.m., and they’ll be serving until 2 p.m. Though Opening Day will only be 5 hours long, Hilmy promises they will eventually be open for “long hours.” If you can’t make it to the Underground before the early closing, don’t fret, because there will be an opening party from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. that night. You can find more information about the Underground Coffee Shop on their (freakishly popular) Facebook page here.
As morbid as it might be, there are plenty of ways to die at Brown. College is a dangerous place. Winter is a dangerous season. The new Campus Snapstory encourages students to do attention-grabbing things. The buildings are 200 years old. You never know what’s gonna happen, so you may as well be wary of the ways you might find your demise here on campus. Most are uncontrollable, but you may as well know, in case there’s any way to prepare for the danger that lies ahead.
1. Being smushed when the person in front of you on line for the Ratty neglects to hold the door open. Or being blown backwards, flying up, and getting smashed on the inside Ratty doors when those 1,000 mph winds are unleashed while trying to leave. (Basically, you’re screwed pre- and post-Cajun pasta.)
2. In something that looks like a scene from I Am Legend, you are climbing to the third floor in Health Services and the slanted spiral staircase, in slow motion, collapses beneath you.
3. Sledding down College Hill and making a grand entrance right into the below-freezing Providence River. We’re talking a deadly drowning/hypothermia combo.
4. On that note — being impaled by a six-foot dangling icicle.
5. A big disk (is that a light? a fan? a UFO?) that hangs from the Ratty ceiling falls and lands right on your head, creating something that looks like this:
(And obviously you’ll just be sitting there, like, “Oh, bother.”)
The Blue Room is a great place to get a good meal. Where else but the Blue Room can you walk in at10 a.m. and get a chocolate chip muffin, a sushi roll, and an iced coffee? Despite all the love and admiration for the Blue Room, it has one major problem: why won’t we spread cream cheese? I work for BuDS and have never gotten a real answer. This may seem like a ridiculous problem to have with such a great place. Thanks to extensive socratic research and analysis, compiled here are the best theories of why we won’t spread for you.
Rhode Island has put stringent regulations on the cream cheese business.
As many people know, Rhode Island is a
corrupt very particular state. It has laws and regulations that are unique, perhaps, to its Puritanic heritage. Some examples of rational laws in Rhode Island are as follows:
1) It is against the law to throw pickle juice at a trolley.
2) It is against the law to sell toothpaste and a toothbrush to the same customer on a Sunday.
These make sense, and they reflect the strict social controls the Ocean State has drafted over the years to uphold its morally sound society. Would it be so crazy to think that Rhode Island passed an anti-cream-cheese-spreading law?
Brown has a financially selfish ulterior motive.
Brown has made some ambitious investments in the butter industry. Brown will take any opportunity it can to deter its students from using cream cheese. Fact.
During many an afternoon in the Blue Room, I have heard Brown students talking about the muffins with the same excitement and pleasure in their voices as their most recent hook-ups. My mind could not help but wander. If the muffins were different sexual positions, what would they be?
Corn muffin = hand job. Seriously, what is the point of a corn muffin? I guess it does the job of satisfying your hunger, but there is little joy to it. Some could say the same about a hand job: takes care of business, but rarely great or memorable. You deserve an upgrade.
Blueberry muffin = missionary. Ordering a blueberry muffin shows little originality, just like the missionary position. Not that it can’t be satisfying, but there is nothing too special about it.
One muffin in a tin of 1,000.