History of Gryphon's Pub
In 1923, 204 York St. was built to house the Yale chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. At the time, many of the surrounding buildings were also constructed as fraternity houses after several of the original fraternity houses on campus were demolished to make space for Sterling Memorial Library. You can still observe the Phi Gamma Delta owl on the Yale Cabaret building or the letters Psi Chi on the AFAM House. Similarly, the gryphon of “Gryphon’s Pub” comes from a reinterpretation of the dragon carved above the bay window over the building’s front door.
Remnants of the original inhabitants are still visible throughout the building. In the ballroom bar, for instance, our liquor bottles are housed on what were once bookshelves in the library. The wooden plaque that hangs over the fireplace in the lounge is dedicated to a member of the class of ’25. On Halloween, the public is also given a rare glimpse of the building’s third floor. Now the GPSS chambers, it was once a lodge room for the fraternity.
After the fraternity vacated the building in 1968, the University entertained proposals for the space and in the 1970s chose to re-purpose it for the graduate and professional student community. To that end, the top floor was devoted to meeting space for the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), where students representing all grad and professional schools at Yale could discuss issues pertaining to their lives, and the basement was devoted to the student-run Gryphon's Pub, where the lighter aspects of community-building took place. Altogether the entities at 204 York were referred to as the Graduate and Professional Student Center at Yale (GPSCY) until 2019, when the name was changed to The Gryphon.
In 1972, the Pub opened at 4pm for happy hour with 25¢ drafts and even served food. (The kitchen was located where the women’s bathroom and coat closet now are.) Today, Gryphon’s Pub still offers great drink specials and entertainment six nights a week, and together with their attic neighbors the GPSS, is thriving as the center of graduate and professional student life at Yale. The ballroom and lounge regularly host amazing events and parties for the entire graduate and professional student community, and can also be rented out by individual students, student groups and organizations, and entire departments or schools for public and private events.