Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Sophomore Douglas Woos ’11 says he always knew Puppy Club Bar was headed for the big time. “It’s clearly the best bar there is. Pastabarians have it all wrong. Puppy Club is where it’s at.” And critics couldn’t agree more. This past week, Sharples’ own original Puppy Club Bar grabbed the national title as “Best in Show” in Campus Cuisine Magazine’s annual ranking of college dining.
Most students complain about the food, but professional chef Boi R. Di took note of this “exquisite lunch bar” while visiting campus with his daughter one day. Di reports being relatively unimpressed by the College before making his way to Sharples. “Honors? Yawn. Arboretum? Yawn. You know even Haverford has one of those, right?” Di asks, not without a grin.
His experience took a delightful turn after a student swiped him in at Sharples. “As soon as I came in, I felt like I was in a faux ski lodge,” Di explains, “the ambiance was wonderful!” He was further intrigued by the name Puppy Club Bar and decided to sample it. “As soon as I bit into that first sausage, I knew. This has to be made public!”
Di flew home that day and immediately called Campus Cuisine. “I said ‘Get me the editor.’ There’s something you’ve just got to see, smell, and taste,” Di exclaimed. He started a formal nomination form and then began looking into Bars of Sharples Past for other gems he might have been missing.
Puppy Club Bar’s prestigious accolade comes as a surprise to many students and staff because the bar itself has been mired in controversy since its very creation. Its mere title roused protests from local PETA groups who found the name offensive to the well-being of domestic animals. Activist and PETA leader Ima Payne had a few questions and demands for the College: “Who puts the words puppy and club together in naming a buffet bar?,” Payne wondered, “ It’s violent. It’s disgusting. It makes no sense. It should be banned. Shame on Swarthmore College!” Payne’s remarks have been dutifully ignored thus far.
Also nominated for an award (Most Creative) was the fleeting but famed Plain Bar. Plain Bar made a brief appearance over the course of the 2007-2008 school year featuring plain chicken patties, plain buns, and an assortment of plain sauces and dressings (true story). The napkins raved, but the remarkable unremarkable bar quickly and mysteriously disappeared. Di hopes the nomination will bring Plain Bar back in all its plain glory.
No one can really gauge the eventual impact of this recent ranking though Dean of Admissions Bim Jock says he’s already seeing an effect. “There was a freak spike in the number of applications as soon as word got out about Puppy Club Bar,” Jock explained, “so far, it even trumps the response we got after being ranked Best Value!” When prompted for further comment, Jock shrieked, “ha! Take that, Bryn Mawr!”
Take that, Bryn Mawr, indeed.