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The eating clubs offer juniors and seniors the opportunity to become a part of a close-knit community. They reinforce existing friendships while also introducing you to a wonderful, new, and diverse group of Princetonians. The clubs offer a home on campus where students can come together to enjoy a great meal, take a breath to relax, and develop life-long

Hannah Paynter ’19, President of the Interclub Council, President of Cloister Inn

You join the club because your friends are there, but then by the time you graduate you’ve also made dozens of new great friends for the rest of your life.

Liam Morton '02, Cap and Gown Club

Each of Princeton’s clubs is different and through the years has achieved a distinct personality and set of traditions. This is as it should be, for it will be a sorry day for the world if ever such distinctions and peculiarities, and the especial loyalties they invoke, are lost.

Struthers Burt, Class of 1904

By joining an eating club, I’ve gained a sense of home and community that keeps me grounded on campus. I’m incredibly grateful for the life-long friendships I’ve developed and the many opportunities it has given me to grow my community and enrich my Princeton experience.

Rachel Macaulay ’19, President of Tower Club

Eating clubs serve as the perfect bridge between your underclassman and upperclassman years. They reinforce the strong friendships you've established and encourage new relationships with a diverse new group of people. By spending time talking, eating, studying, and socializing, we find that we are surrounded by some of the most brilliant yet modest and talented yet compassionate people, all from incredibly diverse backgrounds with a wide range of different life experiences and stories to share.

Katrina Maxcy '14, Former President of Colonial Club

The eating clubs are so much more than where 70 percent of Princeton juniors and seniors take their meals. They are where students are studying, collaborating on assignments, and encouraging each other as they write the last page of that junior paper or senior thesis. They are where students are coming together at tables to discuss an interesting news story, a great movie someone has seen recently, a campus issue, or any of a cornucopia of possible topics. They are where students are socializing and celebrating the end of a stressful day or a stressful week at high-quality social events. They are where students are engaging in meaningful service to the community outside of the Orange Bubble. The eating clubs are unique to Princeton, and they exemplify what is unique about Princeton — a sense of always being able to come home, whether you're just joining as a sophomore or are coming for your 50th Reunion.

Jean-Carlos Arenas '16, Former President of the Interclub Council, Former President of Charter Club

Eating clubs are places in which to find a home on campus. More than just a building to socialize in, they exist to create that feeling of family and acceptance – somewhere where you’re free to just be yourself, and relax into a community that accepts and loves you for you. Being in an eating club allows you to meet so many great people that otherwise you might never have met – people from backgrounds and cultures that differ greatly from your own, but who will nonetheless become some of your closest friends on campus. Being a part of one of these groups enables you to have a community that will always be yours, and that you will continue to be a part of long after you graduate. I find that in my own experience, I am constantly and unerringly amazed by the people I have met through my club, and by the sheer kindness with which everyone treats one another. I wouldn’t trade my eating club experience for anything in the world.

Conor O’Brien ’19, President of Charter Club

“Whenever I enter this club, I feel happy inside.”   Herman A. Heydt ’29

Cap and Gown prides itself on the diversity of its members. People from all different backgrounds, teams, groups, and activities all come together to be a part of the unique experience that defines Cap. Bicker at Cap is a fun, exciting, and low-pressure environment where bickerees are encouraged to meet the members through a variety of conversations, events and activities organized by members. Cap Bicker is what you want to make of it. Everyone interested is encouraged to come out, be themselves, and enjoy the camaraderie of getting to know each other in an incredibly unique and fun way.

Cap, like all of the clubs on the Street, enthusiastically participates in Lawnparties, Winter Formals, and Houseparties festivities. In addition to these staple events, Cap members also get to enjoy an Autumn semi-formal during the fall semester, a Valentine’s Day semi-formal during the spring semester, and a whole slew of themed social gatherings throughout the year. These include Cap classics like Capmandu, Latin Night, and Boxers and Blazers. While social events are important to the membership, there are many more things for Cap members to do together. We also have exciting members’ nights including Cap Mondays and Movie Wednesdays where members are encouraged to hang out in the club outside of meals.

All of these nights and events are accompanied by our incredible music. Cap is diverse in every way and our music also covers all kinds of tastes, with everything from Doja Cat and female rappers’ night to Taylor Swift to reggaeton to disco to a mix of classic bangers and chart-topping songs.

Another Cap tradition that brings members together is our various affinity groups. Members can join affinity groups like Queer and Gown, Black and Gown, Latin y Gown, Cap and Brown, Cap and Yellow, Celsius and Gown (international students), and many more! New affinity groups like these are constantly being formed by members, with one popular new one this year being Puzzle and Gown (their puzzle solving skills are the stuff of legends).

Cap members can also put the “eating” in eating club; and with Chef Greg, sous chefs Ivan and Nicholas, and the rest of the crew cooking up delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners, it’s not uncommon to find members and guests going back for seconds or thirds at meals. Thursday Dinner Club Nights are members-only affairs with special meals celebrating cuisines from around the world.

Bicker at Cap is a fun-loving, welcoming process that gives you the chance to get to know members and members a chance to get to know you through a series of conversations and activities. Bring a friendly and willing attitude and you’ll have a great time.

More About Cap and Gown


The Cap and Gown Clubhouse was built in 1908 and was designed by Raleigh Gildersleeve, who also designed a number of other well-known Princeton landmarks including McCosh 50 and the dining hall at the Graduate College.  Our historic building remained essentially unchanged until 100 years later when the club launched a very successful campaign to renovate and expand the club.  Thanks to this effort by our loyal alumni, Cap and Gown Club is now bigger and more beautiful than ever with a new wing that includes a spectacular new dining room and taproom. In the past few years, Cap launched another renovation campaign that added the amazing new Cox wing for members to relax, study, and socialize in.

On the first floor, Cap has a comfy living room with fireplace, a sunporch, our historic dining room, an expanded servery, and our new dining room. The new dining room, equipped with a powerful speaker system, fits nearly two hundred people and is great for parties and dances. The sunroom is a favorite spot to study- and sometimes people will nap in the living room while the more musically-inclined members play tunes and sing around the piano. The Cox wing is another great study and relaxation spot with a working fireplace in the winter and floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to the great weather in the spring.

Downstairs, Cap has a brand-new taproom featuring a granite-topped bar, four taps, a television, and a speaker system for a wide array of nighttime activities and fun. Cap members love all different types of music and games – so whether you’re into dancing, chatting with friends, or just relaxing – the taproom is a favorite for everyone.

On the second floor, members study in our beautiful library, use the computers and printer in the computer room, challenge each other to a game of pool in the pool room, and watch TV in the dangerously comfortable TV room. The second floor bathroom was recently renovated and is now positively elegant. Our second floor roof deck provides the perfect place to hang out on warm, sunny days.

Outside, our recent renovation included the addition of a beautiful, landscaped courtyard flanked by double decker balconies. This is the scene for fall tailgates, tent parties, and Cap’s famous outdoor barbecues (with our enormous outdoor grill).


Cap Clubhouse 1907

Cap and Gown Club was founded in 1891 by a group of undergraduates from the Class of 1893 who had formed an eating society called the “Oliver Twist Club.” With some help from the godfather of so many of the clubs, Moses Taylor Pyne, Class of 1877, the group was reborn as Cap and Gown. Under the direction of Thomas O. Speir, Class of 1887, the new club constructed a building for itself on the south side of Prospect Avenue, across from the University Field, on the lot that Cap still occupies. (Cap and Gown thus holds the distinction of being the only one of Princeton’s eating clubs to stay in the same geographic location for its entire existence.)

Speir’s design called for a modest cottage with a gambrel roof and a wide front porch. It was completed in March 1892, but within three years, Cap and Gown had outgrown it and sought to build a larger structure. The Speir building was moved across the street to a location near the eastern corner of Olden Street and Prospect Avenue, approximately where the Mudd Library stands today.

The smallest purpose-built clubhouse at Princeton, this building played a key role in the development of the club system. In its Olden Street location, this building was the famous “Incubator,” so called because it served as the birthplace to a series of emerging clubs, including Cannon, Campus, Charter, Terrace, and Tower. Other clubs temporarily occupied the Incubator while their own clubhouses were under construction or renovation.

Cap and Gown, meanwhile, commissioned Boston architect William Ralph Emerson to design a new and more elegant clubhouse in 1895. Emerson was a noted practitioner of the shingle style, but in this structure looked to other models. The rendering for the building shows a distinctly Italianate Revival influence, especially in the pair of large arched windows on the facade and the second-floor balconies. In reviewing the finished structure, the Princetonian noted that “it is nearly square in form and rises two and one-half stories, the first being of blue Lancaster granite, and the second of stucco with ornamental rubble finish.” Of the Prospect Avenue clubs, only Tiger Inn (1893-5) featured this kind of mixed media on the exterior.

In December 1896, Cap and Gown moved in, but within a decade it felt compelled to build again. Ivy and Cottage had completed their grand new clubhouses and Colonial and Cap soon followed suit. Cap selected Raleigh Gildersleeve, a prominent architect with much experience in Princeton, to design its new clubhouse. The Emerson building was moved away (to be taken over by Dial Lodge).

Gildersleeve offered a new style for an eating club: a kind of French-influenced or Norman Gothic, built of brick. It was T-shaped, with the long side facing Prospect Avenue and the short side on the west end. In case the club needed to expand, Gildersleeve noted, it could construct a second wing to the east. This placement also offered fine views to the south from the large veranda that runs all the way across the rear of the building.

In an article published in the Princeton Alumni Weekly in 1908, Gildersleeve discussed his plan for the club:

“The facades, in style and use of materials, are somewhat different from anything in Princeton. The general effect is of the minor Normandy chateaux. In the main the lines have been kept as simple as possible, but at the entrance doorway and over the windows of the dining room bay the stonework has been enriched with carving in the Gothic fashion, somewhat florid and fanciful. The walls are of brick, very dark and glazed for the most part, but with as much variety in color as could conveniently be obtained. The texture of the bricks is rough and their shape quite irregular”.

Gildersleeve added that “an effect of irregularity, simplicity, and individuality was thus obtained which could not be achieved in any other way.” Gildersleeve also supervised the planting of a row of Lombardy poplars on either side of the building.

Cap and Gown was completed in 1908. For all of Gildersleeve’s expressed intentions of “simplicity,” it is the most ornamented of all the eating clubs and in scale and elegance ranks with the other clubhouses of the period. Cap and Gown would also influence future construction on Prospect in its use of dark brick and Gothic models. 


IMG_0906 Smaller

Cap and Gown Club boasts the most active alumni organization of any of the eating clubs.  In our recent fundraising efforts, 47% of our loyal alumni contributed to the renovation and expansion of the clubhouse. The fundraising campaign was an effort that brought alumni together more than ever with a series of celebrations as each goal was reached on the road to completing the project successfully.

Cap hosts alumni events all year long including a fall homecoming celebration, Alumni Day reception in February, Cap Night at the Princeton Club of New York, and a Big Reunions Open House after the P-rade. Hundreds of Cap members return for Homecoming and Reunions when we all enjoy the fabulous station party buffet put on by Dennis Normile, our club steward, and our great kitchen crew and club staff.

When you join Cap and Gown, you don’t just join for your junior and senior year – you meet friends for a lifetime and are a member for life!

Financial Aid

Cap and Gown’s financial aid policy provides a grant for club membership to every member on Princeton University financial aid and guarantees that no member on full financial aid pays any out-of-pocket costs for club membership.

Each year, Cap members who receive any financial aid from Princeton University will receive a grant from the Cap and Gown Financial Aid Fund that covers the difference between the Princeton board rate (inclusive of the additional grant provided by Princeton Financial Aid for upperclassman board) and Cap and Gown member house and board rates. Any member who is not on financial aid from Princeton University, but receives external sources of aid—such as government grants from their home country—is similarly eligible for a Cap and Gown financial aid grant, provided that they meet criteria consistent with Princeton University’s Financial Aid Office’s eligibility criteria. The policy is transparent and will ensure that members on University financial aid know the value of the grant that they will receive as soon as the University has released its board rate for an academic year.

While a recent Daily Princetonian article suggests that Cap’s financial aid policy is among the most inclusive on the street, the Financial Aid Committee is continuously seeking to improve the existing program and is very open to receiving suggestions.

The Cap Board of Trustees is committed to keeping membership fees as affordable as possible for the foreseeable future, particularly given the hardship induced by the COVID19 pandemic. Please note that the dues listed on the sidebar of this page reflect base dues for students who are not on financial aid (i.e., students on financial aid pay a lower amount that varies from year to year). Please contact our treasurer (listed in sidebar) for any questions on financial aid.



Dennis Normile has been Cap and Gown’s Club Steward for over 35 years. He is a manager, a chef, a mentor, and the ultimate party planner. Cap’s parties – whether it’s Winter Formals, one of our bi-semester Semi-Formals, House Parties, or any other theme party – are made all the more special thanks to his gifts as both a chef and an artist. He can whip up a feast, carve an ice sculpture, and paint extraordinary backdrops for any theme. He is also a musician (drummer) and an expert dog trainer. Most of all, he has the most fun sitting around telling stories about Cap lore.

Service & Sustainability

Cap and Gown initiates and participates in community service projects all year long.  Recent service projects include:

  • Pie an Officer! An annual Spring semester charity event to raise money for Princeton Mutual Aid.
  • Cap Water Assassins! An annual Fall semester charity event, donations require to participate and winners donate all funds raised to a local charity of their choosing.

Cap and Gown was the first club to create a position for a Sustainability Chair.  This has been followed by other clubs, and the clubs are all now focused on finding ways to save energy, recycle, and reduce waste as much as possible.

About Cap and Gown Club

61 Prospect Avenue


Grad Board Chair: Eric Barnes
Head Chef: Chef Greg Bonagura
Club Steward: Dennis Normile


Undergraduate Officers

Club President: Isis Arevalo
Vice President: Jason Ding
Treasurer: Aidan Phillips
Social Chair: David Herrera
Membership Chair: Krishna Parikh
House Manager: Shailee Desai
Athletics Chair: Na'im Ahdieh
Technology Chair: Brandon Cheng
Community Service Co-chairs: Mariana Icaza & Melody Choi
Alumni Relations Chair: Charlie McWeeny, Rishi Gorrepati, & Sophie Main
Culturally Cap Co-Chairs: Maxfield Evers & Paolo Montoya
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chairs: Gabriela Cejas & Thomas Coulouras
Sustainability Chair: David Prilutsky
Safety Chairs: Madison Qualls & Michael Hein

Total club members:


Club Dues

Meals: $2348
Social: $650
Other Fees: $7700
Juniors/Seniors: $10698

Thursday night dinner + 1 other lunch/dinner per week, full social benefits

Shared Meal Plans Available:


Meals & Menu

Breakfast (8:00 – 9:30)
Lunch (11:30 – 1:30)
Dinner (6:00 – 7:30)

Brunch (11:30 – 1:30)
Dinner (6:00 – 7:30)

View a sample menu

Community Service, Sustainability & Improvements

View our latest report to the Princeton Prospect Foundation