Class of 2014 Love/Hate Relationship with MA's

Ask anyone at Boston College and I am sure they will say that their four years here would feel incomplete not only if they never got their diploma, but also if they never walked through those beat up wooden doors of Mary Ann’s in Cleveland Circle. The lighting is dim, the beer is cheap, the bathrooms lack soap and you are bound to get something spilled on you and walk out in a haze. Despite all these less than glamorous factors, the memories at MA’s are unforgettable (for better or worse) to any BC student 21 and over (supposedly), it is a staple of our college careers.

Coming to BC, I had heard all about Mary Ann’s from friends and relatives that are alumni. Of course they mentioned how gross it was, but always with smirks on their faces and tone of nostalgia in their voices. As much as I looked forward to my first warm beer within this antique haven, I KNEW that MA’s was off limits until I was 21. I envisioned a huge bouncer kicking me out and glares of upperclassmen piercing through me if I ever showed up before my 21st. Even when I was 21, I was also well aware of another socially established rule: Tuesday night is Senior Night… THE END. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I still believe that Mary Ann’s is a beloved BC bar and the memories here are some of the best I’ve had, but I cannot help but notice the LOVE/HATE relationship much of my class of 2014 has with this establishment. We love getting in and spending time with our friends, blasting our songs on the jukebox and conveniently having Roggies or Pino’s nearby for our late night munchies. But we hate the “crooked” practices this bar seems to have set in place during our senior year. Our love was clear and proud in the beginning of the year when you literally had to show up at 9pm to not simply get a seat, but actually get in. Our hate, however, has bubbled up as we are frustrated from seeing sophomores in our seats throughout the weekend and most disturbingly on Tuesday’s. Our distaste was evident this past Friday when the traditional senior “Open to Close” had what some claim as sub-par attendance for most of the day.

Personally, I looked forward to Open to Close and discussed with my closest friends how early we would be getting up just so we would not be in line for five hours (true fact: former Class of 2013 Eagle got in line at 7am last year only to first step in at noon). Well, I showed up at 9am for the 10am opening only to find a naked sidewalk. I thought I was being “Punk’d” and actually checked the Facebook event to make sure it was not cancelled. Why was attendance so poor? Could it have been “THAT TWEET” of exclusivity that turned so many seniors away? Even so, wasn’t this a tradition?

MA's posted their tweet Thursday night and then this was the backlash!

The MA’s enthusiasm I had anticipated for my senior year has not truly lived up to the hype. There have been multiple complaints from students of sophomores slipping by the staff and disgrace by the staff on our “weak” attendance, support and enthusiasm. Despite all this, I believe we really do love this place deep down. It is just in our maroon and gold blood! To get the scoop on how seniors feel about MA’s and where they lie on the love-hate spectrum, I did a little investigation. This is what I found:

“Oh, MA's. I love/hate you so much. I've had some of my best (worst?) blackouts at MA's, and for less than $20 - that's what I'd call a bargain. As much as its definitely my favourite place to publicly mortify myself, any fourteen year old in Brighton could get into MA's these days, and that takes a big fun factor out of it. I don't think MA's has the same appeal it used to as a "seniors only" place - I mean how could it when the place is overflowed with the Class of 2038. That being said, we can order delivery right to the door and anywhere that allows me to do that is fine by me.” –Maria Vellante

“Overall, MA's has been such a staple in BC history, and some major traditions take place in this bar. it has been really sad to see the relationship turn sour, but doing things like making seniors wait in huge lines on Tuesdays only to walk in and see sophomores is upsetting.” –Liz Viruete

 Liz even wanted to share the MA’s tradition with her family during her last parent’s weekend at BC.

“Personally, I think we had weak attendance because of the threatening tweet they sent haha... But I think in general our grade doesn't enjoy MAs as much because it's kind of run down and it's biggest asset (cheapest beer in Cleveland circle) is no more. It used to be a no brainer to go there, but now we can go to Cityside or Roggies and have a nicer experience and cheaper beers.” –Domenico Nicolla

“Before the second semester of my junior year, I had never entered MA’s. I had only heard talk amongst upperclassmen about the disgusting bathrooms, lack of space, and beer covered floors; however, it soon became the go-to bar on the weekends for cheap drinks and a good time with close friends. This year, I’ve spent almost every Senior Night perched up at one of the tables with my roommates, making memories with the rest of the class of 2014. For that reason alone, I love MA’s. But that’s the key: it’s not the bar or the cheap drinks I go for. It’s the people. Yesterday morning when I showed up to Open to Close, I may have been disappointed by the turnout; but, I enjoyed the hours of the day I did spend there, partaking in a power hour, dancing to the juke box music, and honoring a longstanding BC tradition with some of my closest friends. But I don’t think the lack of attendance has anything to do with class of 2014’s inability to “turn up.” I think it’s unfortunate that the one in charge of MA’s Twitter account made the event come across as an “exclusive” day for their “loyal patrons,” because I’ve never considered MA’s as such a place. I had fun during my time at Open to Close, but also enjoyed the hours spent outside on such a beautiful day, drinking in the Mods and watching the baseball game with the people that make my nights out enjoyable in the first place.” –Alex Donovan

“I thoroughly enjoy senior nights at MA’s because they’re a great way to bond with your class and hang out with people you don’t have the opportunity to see on a daily basis. I also appreciate the cleanliness of the establishment, great selection of craft beer, fine cuisine, and bathroom upgrades.” –Saaj Parikh

“I’ve been going to MAs since I’m a junior and like to consider myself a pretty loyal customer. I’ve had a lot of fun on Senior Night and pretty much any night I end up there, and the drinks are relevantly cheap. I think that our class developed a really close relationship with the bar and everyone that works there since so many of us spent last summer interning in Boston and going all the time. And even people who didn’t still love going over there on slow nights on campus and Tuesdays. I think a lot of people can get frustrated when they go into MAs and don’t recognize anybody, and I’ll admit I do, too. But one, it tells me I didn’t do a very good job of getting to know everyone in my class. Two, I think is just a surface reaction to the fact that we’re graduating, and our presence at BC is dwindling. I don’t think it’s fair to beat up on the staff and younger grades as being the reasons why “MAs isn’t fun anymore,” because I think the lack of windows and the vending machine are proof we aren’t going there for the super-hip ambiance and really clean bathrooms. We go there because that’s where we see all our friends at the exact same time and play “Timber” 15 times in a row on the jukebox and to play Hoop Fever. I love MAs because it’s somewhere to all be together and I would hate to see a tradition like it fall apart.” –Brigid Wright

According to senior, Laura Hymes, a picture says a thousand words.

Sure the tweets from @theMaryAnns are often a little bit aggressive, but sometimes we have to take the good with the bad. I have hopes that over the next three weeks before our seniors take part in the “G-word,” a respect between MA’s and the Class of 2014 will be reestablished so we can make some final memories here in a traditional BC fashion.

As cliché as it may be, I think now is the time to remind ourselves about why we choose to go to MA’s on the nights when there are long lines, spilled drinks and no space to breathe: it is because of the people we are with. Sure MA’s has given a little bit of frustration this year, but it has also given us a place to get our drinks cheap and to create lasting memories with our friends. It sometimes isn’t about who is at the door, behind the bar or controlling the Twitter account, but it’s about the people you are with and the memories you will make. So love it or hate it, Mary Ann’s is part of the BC culture that I hope to see last for generations to come. We don’t even care if our beers are warm or our clothes smell like cheap alcohol the next morning, as long as respect is given by the staff and more importantly the underclassman (keep Tuesdays as senior night...your time will come), we will be happy. Cheers to that!


Photo Sources:

Contributions from Class of 2014