Mory's

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Mory’s
Mory's in New Haven, October 17, 2008.jpg
Entrance to Mory's
Mory's is located in Connecticut
Mory's
Location 306 York St., New Haven, Connecticut
Coordinates 41°18′41″N 72°55′54″W / 41.31139°N 72.93167°W / 41.31139; -72.93167Coordinates: 41°18′41″N 72°55′54″W / 41.31139°N 72.93167°W / 41.31139; -72.93167
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Architectural style Federal
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 04001552[1]
Added to NRHP January 25, 2005

Mory’s, known also as Mory’s Temple Bar, is a private club adjacent to the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, United States, founded in 1849 and housed in a clubhouse that was originally a private home built some time before 1817. Originally it was a restaurant, especially hospitable to Yale undergraduates (it extended them credit), located at the corner of Temple and Center Streets, but in 1912, when the building was to be demolished, the owner and proprietor (since 1898), Louis Linder (died Oct. 19, 1913), sold it to a group of Yale alumni who moved the bar to 306 York Street and turned it into a membership club. [2] The club's membership consists primarily of those who have an affiliation with Yale, and the culture of both institutions is deeply entangled. Originally an exclusive club only open to males affiliated with Yale College, the club gradually expanded membership over the years to the entire Yale community after much public wrangling about the exclusion of certain segments of the population when important meetings were held there over lunch, as was usual, by University decision makers.

After several years of operating losses and the 2008 financial crisis, the club closed indefinitely on December 19, 2008. Although the club had an endowment of $2 million, it was depleted by this poor performance and the market downturn in 2008-2009. [3] After completion of a comprehensive business plan at the end of 2009 and progress on a fundraising effort, Mory's committed to a major renovation and a new business model in 2010. The fundraising effort and construction were completed in 2010 and Mory's reopened on Wednesday, August 25, 2010.[4]

The building was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2005.[1][5]

Membership in Mory's is now offered to all Yale students, employees and alumni as well as members of the New Haven community with an affiliation to Yale. Yale undergraduates can join with a $15 membership fee that covers all four years at Yale. Alumni living within 30 miles of Mory's pay a $99 annual fee while alumni living over 30 miles away pay a $49 annual fee. [6]

Traditions[edit]

Several important traditions are maintained at Mory's that have deep resonance with certain Yale alumni and students.

The Whiffenpoofs[edit]

The Whiffenpoofs, the a cappella group made up of Yale seniors who are recruited from other Yale undergraduate singing groups, sings weekly most Monday evenings in the dining areas of the club. They often perform the famous "The Whiffenpoof Song" which mentions Mory's as the "place where Louis dwells." It was through this song, which was sung and recorded by the likes of Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley, that the Club became part of the national consciousness in the early part of the twentieth century.

Cups[edit]

Mory's, circa 1914

One of these is the ritualistic consumption of a "Cup," in which a party of members gather to share drinks of assorted colors and ingredients (usually containing alcohol, although a non-alcoholic "Imperial Cup" is available) from large silver trophy cups that look like handled urns and are passed amongst the gathered company. The cups are ordered by color, and some are based on sparkling wines, while others are based on beer. There is an elaborate ritual, including at the completion of a cup a drinking song, associated with the tradition. Cups come in many colors including Red, Gold, Purple, Blue, Green, and Velvet. The color of the potions made it easier to detect any remaining drops. One thing that made it extremely difficult to avoid remaining drops was the nearly invariable presence of a cylinder of ice in the center of the "loving cup". As the last drinker tried to drain the cup, the cylinder would come crashing down on the poor devil's nose. This may have been a perversion associated with the years 1950 to 1980; history is silent on the duration of the offense.

When a member finds himself (or herself, as Mory's has welcomed women into its membership ranks since 1972, three years after Yale College) about to finish a Cup, he or she faces the decades-old challenge of "cleaning the cup"—removing all moisture from the cup by using only his or her mouth and, to finish the job, hair. Friends to the left and right are at the ready with napkins to minimize drippage during this process. While the member is finishing, and to give that member extra time to "clean the cup," his or her friends are wont to chant the Mory's Song (an adaptation, for a diametrically opposite purpose, of the Salvation Army camp song "Put a nickel on the drum")[unreliable source?], with the finishing member's name as the hero of the song:

It's [Name],
It's [Name],
It's [Name] that makes the world go 'round,
It's [Na-ame], It's [Na-me],
It's [Name] that makes the world go 'round,
It's [Na-ame], It's [Na-me],
It's [Name] that makes the world go 'round,
It's [Name] that makes the world go 'ro-ou-ound,

Sing Hallelujah! Sing Hallelujah!
Put a nickel on the drum,
Save another drunken bum
Sing Hallelujah! Sing Hallelujah!
Put a nickel on the drum and you'll be saved.

I was h-a-p-p-y to be f-r-double-e
f-r-double-e to be s-a-v-e-d
s-a-v-e-d from the bonds of s-i-n
Glory glory Hallelujah hip hooray amen.

Sing Hallelujah! Sing Hallelujah!
Put a nickel on the drum,
Save another drunken bum
Sing Hallelujah! Sing Hallelujah!
Put a nickel on the drum and you'll be saved.

I was lying in the gutter,
I was covered up in beer,
Pretzels in my moustache,
I thought the end was near,
Then along came [Name]!
And saved me from my curse,
Glory glory Hallelujah sing another verse!

Sing Hallelujah! Sing Hallelujah!
Put a nickel on the drum,
Save another drunken bum
Sing Hallelujah! Sing Hallelujah!
Put a nickel on the drum and you'll be sa-aa-aved.

At the conclusion of the Mory's Song, the member places the trophy cup, upside down, on top of a cloth (or, more challenging, paper) napkin, whereupon three friends place their respective hands atop the base of the cup and tap firmly. The cup is then whisked away, and the napkin is inspected for any signs of moisture. In decades past, if the napkin were wet, then the finishing member would be forced to pay for the cup; if the napkin were dry, the member to the finishing member's right—who himself chose to forego finishing the cup—would have to pay. In more modern times, most toasting parties split the bill evenly amongst members, regardless of who finishes or doesn't finish a cup.

Table carving[edit]

Another tradition was the encouraged practice of carving the tops of the dining tables at which one sat. The carving might be simply initials or names, and in the case of the Whiff's table, a rampant Pendragon.

Yale Political Union[edit]

Since the early-to-middle 20th century, some of the parties of the Yale Political Union (particularly those on the right) have adjourned to Mory's, "as is traditional." While the parties no longer actually go to Mory's after debates as party debates have gotten longer and Mory's hours shorter over the years, the tradition of saying that a debate caucus adjourns to Mory's remains. The parties of the Union have, over time, picked up the tradition of dining at Mory's, though, particularly for weekly Friday lunches, and most hold toasting sessions there as often as two or three times each semester. Current and past Club members include John Kerry, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, John R. Bolton, George Pataki, Joe Lieberman, John Heinz, Paul Mellon, William Howard Taft, and William F. Buckley, Jr..

Special menu items[edit]

Denizens of Mory's had (perhaps still do have) at least two special menu items that brought them back to the carved wooden tables and the walls covered with trophies of the past. The most notable is Cream of Baker Soup, a potage heavy on tomato, curry, and cream and topped with croutons. Its supposed change by the kitchen was the reason for several members abandoning what came to be a curious restaurant. The other item is known as "The Rabbit", a version of Welsh Rarebit (or Rabbit).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ George Washington Patterson IV, ed., The Class of Nineteen Hundred and Fourteen: Yale College (Yale Univ., 1914) pages 35, 400-403; Robert Kimball, ed., The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter (NY, Knopf, 1983) page 5.
  3. ^ Bailey, Melissa. "Mory's Closes Doors". New Haven Independent. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Mary Dunne (September 15, 2003). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Mory's". National Park Service.  and Accompanying 18 photos, exterior and interior, from 2003
  6. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (2010-08-27). "After 20-month hiatus, Mory’s is back". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 

Additional sources[edit]

  • Norris G. Osborn, The Moriartys of Yale, New Haven, Yale, 1912.
  • George D. Vaill, Mory’s: A Brief History, New Haven, 1977.

External links[edit]