Studying with a View
Refurbished Tower Club draws students.
By Gillian Smith ’12
Last September 28, the former Tower Club on the 14th floor of East Tower reopened as tc lounge, a late-night, high-end café with a beautiful view.
The Tower Club restaurant had been closed for about 16 months. The space had been used for certain catering events but remained largely unoccupied.
Paul Warrender, retail dining operations manager, said the College had determined that the best view of Ithaca — on campus and in Ithaca — was the tower, and it needed to be reopened and transformed. Dining services met with the Student Government Association Food Service Advisory Committee and brainstormed ideas. The focus of the project was, and the tc lounge is about, the students at Ithaca College.
Open from 8 p.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday, the café serves specialty drinks and chocolate desserts such as cake and fondue.
“It’s a place to kick back, share some unique coffee drinks and desserts with College peers, maybe study or read, listen to some smooth music, and enjoy a beautiful night view of the area,” Warrender says. “What could be better?”
Kloe Boeckel, a sophomore business major, says she often comes to tc lounge because it is a nice change from the library.
“I used to go study at the library, but it was a struggle to find a table. Even if I did find a table, I’d get bored and distract myself with the Internet,” she says. “The tc lounge has such a great atmosphere, and it really helps me relax so that studying doesn’t seem so tedious.”
Boeckel says her favorite part of tc lounge is the drinks and desserts she would not be able to find in other areas around campus.
“I love the brownies and hot chocolate,” she says. “It’s what gets me through the night.”
From conceptualization through renovation, the transformation process took about eight weeks. Warrender says that overall they could have used more time but are very happy with the results.
The College is still waiting to see if tc lounge will do better financially than the Tower Club restaurant, but Warrender says he has faith the project will work out.
“As with the opening of many businesses, there is a learning curve involved,” he says. “Getting the right staff, the right products, and the right operating hours is stressful, but in the long run, this entire project will prove to be a good one.”
Pedro Maldonado, a sophomore pre-professional student, says tc lounge is a place where he can hang out with friends in a setting that is quite different from the pub.
“We are always meeting up for coffee with people in the pub,” he says, “but it’s always so loud and busy. Here, we can talk and not have to scream to hear each other.”
The response of students to tc lounge has been better than expected. Warrender says the cold weather hurt a bit because customers are much less inclined to walk across campus on a freezing night to get there. He admits he is not sure what they can do to entice customers to come during the winter months, but he is willing to try anything.“We do have a cadre of very loyal student customers, all of whom are here quite often,” he says. “As for faculty and staff, those who have been here love it!”