A Creative Take on Campus Dining
Looking for a place where innovation meets conversation? Take a trip to your local pub.
Catching up with friends or cooking up a business plan is much better with some great pub food and drink. But when you picture your typical pub, it’s in the center of town, not the center of campus.
At Babson College in Wellesley, MA, atypical thinking is just part of the curriculum. So when their on-campus pub needed an overhaul, “common” was out of the question.
Roger Babson and the Roger’s Pub Program
Take one step into Roger’s Pub & Grill inside the Gordon M. Trim Dining Hall, and you’ll see the vision of Roger Babson. Born in Gloucester, MA in 1875, Babson was anything but common. After graduating from MIT in nearby Cambridge, he went on to write 40 books on economic and social programs, filed early patents for what became the parking meter, and even ran for president in 1940.
He founded Babson College in 1919 as a business-only school, with half of the curriculum focused on hands-on experience to better prepare students for the real world. While the school has since added campuses in Boston and Miami and produced many notable CEOs and alumni, Roger’s Pub & Grill on the original campus is one of the brightest examples of Babson’s original philosophy.
The eponymous Roger’s Pub originally opened in 1988 in the basement of Coleman Hall, replacing the Beaver Brau as one of the best places for students to hang out. For three decades, the pub remained in that location, providing students with a place to hang out, watch sports, talk about classes, and take in live programming like music and karaoke.
But in the spirit of the college’s commitment to progress or entrepreneurship, it was about to become even better.
Roger’s Pub Reborn
In 2015, Trim Dining Hall underwent an expansion, which meant that Roger’s Pub was about to move.
For a story titled, “Last Call at Rogers Pub,” Babson Magazine interviewed alumni returning to the pub as part of the Babson Alumni Office’s “Last Call at Roger’s” event. Each alumnus documented their own versions of the best times in the original location, from singing “Wagon Wheel” to playing Ms. Pac-Man and legendary Thursday nights. It evoked a feeling of that classic pub complete with wooden seating, squeaky floors, framed jerseys, and a “last-call” bell that was rung for the final time during the event.
The new location would be renamed Roger’s Pub & Grill and Boston architecture firm, PRA Architects was tasked with the redesign. Even though the pub would take on a more modern look and feel, it was essential to maintain the nostalgic element of the original Roger’s Pub.
PRA Architects’ finished product included a new commercial kitchen for the “gastropub” menu, indoor and outdoor seating, a performance space complete with a stage, a game room with billiards, and a British-style bar serving food and drinks to thirsty patrons.
Out of all the upgrades featured in the new location, the bar area may be the most impressive. The subtle balance of classic pub features and modern accessories makes this section of Roger’s Pub especially striking.
In the spirit of the original pub, the cabinetry, back wall area, and seating and flooring are a dark wooden material. So is the impressive U-shaped bar, the centerpiece of the room behind several cushioned booths that are reminiscent of a British style of design.
For a modern touch, back and gray pendant lights hang over the bar seating while similarly colored chandeliers illuminate each booth. Flat-screen TVs adorn the walls on the back bar and the far right of the room while light gray kitchen equipment contrasts the brown wood of the back wall.
Rounding out the upgrades are the ornate, Stainless Steel Gloss ceiling tiles by American Tin Ceilings. Placed directly above the bar, each section features a different pattern that tells its own story. It’s a noticeable feature in a bar filled with upscale improvements, and that hasn’t been lost on the student body.
“Roger’s Pub is Back”
Once again, Babson Magazine was on hand to cover the brand-new Roger’s Pub & Grill. Noting the stylish design that the Babson community voted on, the publication concluded that the new location provided the same hang-out spot role as the original while expanding it in some ways.
Instead of a pub filled with only undergraduates, Dan Garden, general manager of Trim Dining Hall, noted that the new location was quickly becoming a spot for graduate students and faculty members to visit. Garden added that an expanded live programming selection and a new Babson beer were also on tap for the new Roger’s.
On a campus known for its business acumen and in-person learning, this renovation project may be one of its best attributes. Want more groundbreaking projects?