A big, bright sign welcomes students back after a long year of renovations to The Mug, the small but mighty space underneath the College Center. The Mug is finally open, but will it become the next big study spot/party spot on campus? Only time can truly tell. The Mug first opened its doors in the fall semester of 1975, according to the Spring 2002, Volume 98, 2nd Issue of Vassar Today, and became successful as surrounding bars disappeared or changed their names. However, as the years went on, The Mug struggled with the “logs show[ing] that the problems managers encountered span the decades [it was open]: kegs with no pressure, growing banned lists, and sticky floors” according to Vassar Today. On Dec. 1, 1984, New York State changed the legal drinking age to 21, making a student bar in the College Center even harder to maintain. Eventually, Vassar College did not renew its liquor license, and The Mug fell from a go-to weekend spot to a place where infamous Mug Nights, StuMu concerts and Student Theater events were held.
Known for being an overcrowded and small space, The Mug got a much needed facelift this past spring. As students make their way down the winding stairs, they are greeted with the sound of soft jazz music and a low roar of chatter from their peers. From the old bartop now backlit and hanging on the wall to the color-changing ceiling, Vassar has truly tried to make The Mug “The Next Big Thing” on campus, and it might be just that. The Mug is now home to a cushy booth in the corner, chairs and tables set up for studying, a new DJ station and a stage area. It’s also very conveniently located, especially for the student on-the-go who only has time to grab a quick bite, sit for a minute and then rush off to their next class.
The Mug is perfectly set up to be the new go-to seating area during the busy lunch rush after 11:45 a.m. classes let out. Now with the vibe of a jazzy study space by day, and an event space by night, The Mug is a great place to escape from the hoards of people scrambling to grab a table outside of Retreat and Express, and it comes with some additional perks.
In the daytime, The Mug is set to serve as the new home to The Vassar Brew Coffee Bar, the beloved student-run coffee shop that came to fruition in the spring of 2021. On Wednesdays and Fridays, The Mug will also be the home to a Twisted Soul pop-up that will serve cupcakes and boba tea. Bringing these two businesses into the space is sure to amplify The Mug’s popularity as students have continued to crave and request high quality coffee and refreshments. Even after the coffee change in Gordon Commons, there’s simply nothing like an iced chai latte brewed fresh in front of you by a friendly Vassar barista.
In addition to the jazz café vibes The Mug provides in the day, it also provides a stellar party vibe for all of the Mug Nights and concerts it’s sure to host within its walls. With the chairs and tables moved to the storage area, The Mug becomes a dance floor, and, bonus, as mentioned before, the ceiling changes color. LED blues, greens and reds can be projected onto the dance floor with the switch of the color changing ceiling, helping The Mug shift from chill hang space to club real quick. With the right music and decorations, Mug Nights may be all the rage this college season.
Saving the best for last, The Mug bathroom has also been upgraded, and no longer feels like a scary clown could be lurking behind the toilet. Granted, it may give off airport bathroom vibes, but it’s a cute airport, and it certainly feels more sanitary than before.
With all the work that’s been done on The Mug, I am confident that it is going to become the talk of the town.