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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
friendships.

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

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Founded in 1912, Cloister Inn fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, encourages its members to make their mark, and inspires members to use the Inn as a starting point for whatever pursuits impassion them. With a membership that has attracted more Olympic athletes over the years than any other eating club, Cloister Inn is a community that promotes success and happiness for all of its members, whether they are Olympians or not.

Club motto: “Where everybody knows your name”
We provide an Eating Club experience for all without restriction on membership, because we believe you should not have to jump through hoops in order to eat meals with your peers and socialize with your friends. For the past 107 years Cloister Inn has demonstrated that our model works as we continue to provide a warm environment for all who walk through our doors to eat, relax, study, and have fun.

 

Members of Cloister Inn — or Innmates, as we like to call them — take full advantage of our offerings from day one of joining as sophomores. Whether that means requesting a new item for our dinner menu rotation, spontaneously organizing a hot tub party, getting a fire going in the hearth, or simply catching a nap on one of the many incredibly comfortable sofas in the house, members are always encouraged to make use of every amenity the club has to offer. Cloister Inn is also unique in providing leadership opportunities to every member of the club, whether they’re a new sophomore member or a second-semester senior.

If you’d like to learn more about Cloister Inn, come by 65 Prospect Avenue, where the door’s always open, and everybody knows your name!

 

More About Cloister Inn

Facilities
 Cloister Inn is a Collegiate Gothic-style mansion located at 65 Prospect Avenue, built from the local stone used in many of the University’s dormitories. Drawing on medieval English precedents, the Inn’s architecture contributes to its rustic, cozy atmosphere: iron chandeliers light the dining room, soft leather couches sit in every corner, a massive stone hearth warms the living room. There is no better place to spend a cold day.

Our popular billiards room, home to many friendly competitions between members, is recently refurbished. More importantly, it’s also now home to our Wall of Olympians — the Inn’s new tribute to our 24-and-counting Innmates who have represented their countries in the Olympic Games. From Tokyo 1962 to Rio 2016, from cycling and swimming to fencing and rowing, we’re honored to have these legendary athletes among us, and we’re looking forward to expanding the Wall with some new additions.

In response to increasing member demand for educational facilities at the Inn, Cloister’s second-floor library is also newly renovated to maximize space for both quiet studying and collaborative group work. Finally, the third floor is home to two TV rooms where you can find members relaxing after dinner or catching a nap.

Outside, our backyard is one of the biggest on the Street, with a basketball hoop and a volleyball court that fills up with energetic Innmates in the warm weather. And, yes, as you may have heard, we are the only club on the Street with a hot tub.

If you’d like to take a tour of the Inn and see for yourself what Cloister Inn is like when we’re not on tap, email club President Meghan Slattery (meghancs@) or Vice President Tait Helgaas (thelgaas@) and we’ll have you over for a meal.

Events
 Some of our more legendary social events have been Cloister traditions for decades — something we’re very proud of — and our outdoor events during Freshman Week are one of the most beloved traditions for Princetonians celebrating the start to a new school year. And in accordance with our belief that every Innmate can be a leader within Cloister, members are highly encouraged to organize their own impromptu events, whether it’s a Game of Thrones viewing, a billiards match, or a party in the hot tub.

Yet we’re not afraid to get a bit more dignified, with our members-only wine tastings drawing great amounts of excitement, and our Winter Formals, Spring Houseparties, and regular semiformals are highly anticipated occasions on the social calendar.

Food

Simply put, the members of Cloister Inn appreciate food and Executive Chef Tim Murphy delivers big time!  Chef Tim has delighted his guests in casual and fine dining settings, as well as intimate and large-scale catering events, and as a personal chef.

Along his culinary journey, Tim has been honored to have cooked for numerous entertainers, fashion designers, NYC socialites, and political figures,  including former US Presidents.

Chef Tim serves exactly what our members have asked for: fresh ingredients, a focus on healthy recipes to fuel an active lifestyle, and creativity that introduces members to new cuisines and concepts. Tim’s farm-to- table philosophy makes sure the members of Cloister Inn consistently dine on high-quality food that will remind you of home cooking, or an elegant restaurant, not a dining hall, and which strikes a balance between comfort food and an attention to healthy ingredients in order to satisfy all palates. Members consistently rave about our entrees, sides, and desserts, including his popular vegetarian options –plus daytime (and nightly) snacks are a huge hit!

Thursday and Saturday night members’ dinners are the best dinners served anywhere at Princeton, on par with what you would find at a fine dining restaurant. With top-quality steaks, fresh seafood, a fully loaded salad bar, delicious desserts, and select bottled beers and wine, members’ dinners are the perfect way to celebrate the end of the week and begin transitioning into the weekend.

The responsiveness of Cloister Inn’s kitchen to the requests of the members may be the most unique aspect of dining at Cloister. Our culinary team actively responds to requests for specific dishes from the membership (no matter how obscure) through an online suggestion box and makes sure to add them on the menu. Moreover, dishes can always be made to order for members who have specific dietary restrictions or who just want something different on a whim.

Our locally sourced products include fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, poultry, and meats. Fresh baked breads, muffins, bagels, and scones are delivered daily from local and New York City bakeries. Gluten-free products are always available.

History
 Cloister Inn, Princeton’s 16th eating club, was founded in 1912. It initially occupied Cottage Club’s second building, which had been recently vacated by Tower Club. Cloister remained in this structure through the first World War, selling it to the now-defunct Court Club in 1920. The funds from this sale were used to purchase the current Cloister lot, between Cap and Gown and Charter. Cloister had begun contemplating a new home as early as 1920 and rejected two designs before settling on a third by Robert Henry Scannell ’15; the building was completed in 1924.

In 1972, Cloister closed temporarily and became an alternate dining facility for underclass students as well as an alumni center. This was short-lived, however, because in 1977 a student initiative reopened the building as an eating club, and it has been in operation ever since. An expansion in the 1980s added the billiards room and outdoor deck as well as increased the space in the dining hall.

In the mid-1990s Cloister Inn was the site of one of the Street’s greatest revival stories, with a “takeover” by a coalition of students looking for a new home on Prospect Avenue that would give them the lively social life they were looking for without a restrictive barrier to entry that would divide them from their roommates, teammates, and friends.. In the two decades since the legendary Class of 1996, Cloister has maintained this core identity: The most fun you’ll have on campus, whether highbrow or lowbrow or something in between, with a close-knit group of fellow Innmates who will be your loyal friends for life.

Cloister Inn featured prominently in Ian Caldwell (Cloister ‘98) and Dustin Thomason’s bestselling suspense novel “The Rule Of Four,” in which several fictional characters were members. (Spoiler alert: Though one of Princeton’s eating clubs burns down in “The Rule Of Four,” it isn’t Cloister.)

Alumni

Over the decades, dozens Cloister Inn’s alumni have gone on to world-class accomplishments in business, politics, and the arts; we count Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan ‘81, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer ‘81, novelist Jodi Picoult ‘87, Sirius Satellite Radio co-founder Robert Briskman ‘54, and screenwriter Craig Mazin ‘92 among our notable Innmates.

When Cloister Inn’s alumni go on to great things, we love to celebrate their accomplishments — just take a look at our Wall of Olympians, which features alumni from two-time rowing gold medalist Caroline Lind ‘06 to Olympic cyclist and current USA Cycling CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall ‘92. (Back issues of our twice-yearly newsletter, the Innsider, are available online for anyone who wants to learn about what some of our alumni have been up to.)

But you need not be a leader in the business world or a renowned athlete to know that as a member of Cloister, you are an Innmate for life. To that end, our members are welcomed back to the Inn on regular occasions for exclusive events that help them connect with one another as well as make new friends from other classes. Our Reunions and Homecoming receptions draw hundreds of alumni back to the clubhouse, and alumni in cities around the world regularly hold gatherings in their homes to reconnect with Innmates young and old. Alumni are also invited to participate in Cloister’s future in ways that go beyond traditional financial support, with dozens of alumni returning every summer for Cloisterfest, our annual renovations (and celebrations) weekend that is unique on the Street.

Alumni affairs at Cloister Inn are managed by our Graduate Board of Trustees, who have a hands-on approach to the past, present, and future of the club. Our Board leadership — chair Caroline McCarthy ‘06 and vice chair Michael Rudolph ‘96 — invites any and all inquiries from alumni, members, and prospective members alike.

About Cloister Inn

65 Prospect Avenue
609-258-0652
www.cloisterinn.com


Contacts

Grad Board Chair: Caroline McCarthy
General Manager: Glenn Gang
Executive Chef: Tim Murphy
Grad Board Vice Chair: Stephen Pearson


 

Undergraduate Officers

Club President: Meghan Slattery
Vice President: Tait Helgaas
Social Chair: Amelia Stucke
House Manager: Elizabeth Keim
Treasurer: Kesin Ryan Dehejia



Total club members:

107


Club Dues

Juniors/Seniors 2018-2019: $9725

Sophomore (spring) dues: $800
2 meals a week, Breakfast Mon-Fri, full social benefits. Sophomores who sign in with a group may be eligible for special benefits. Contact meghancs@princeton.edu for more information.


Shared Meal Plans Available:

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Upperclassmen Dues: $9,725 / Sophomore Dues: $800 / Payment offers include full year, semester, and monthly. RCA discount available. Cloister offers financial assistance via an application process on a case-by-case basis; please contact meghancs@princeton.edu for more information.


Meals & Menu

Monday-Friday:
Breakfast (8:30-10:00)
Lunch (12:00 – 1:30)
Dinner (6:00 – 7:45)

Weekend:
Brunch (11:30 – 1:15)
Dinner (5:30 – 7:15)




Community Service, Sustainability & Improvements

View our latest report to the Princeton Prospect Foundation