Billiards and beer taps are coming to Kenmore Square.
Complete with pool tables, dart boards and a new mushroom tap with seasonal beers, Cornwall’s, a restaurant and bar that college students and Boston residents alike used as a release from the stress of daily life, is coming back to Kenmore Square after more than a year’s hiatus.
The popular night spot, which was formerly located at the site of BU’s planned luxury hotel, was closed last year when BU ended its lease with owner John Beale.
Now, Cornwall’s is being rebuilt across the street from its prior location, and the University has again offered the lease to Beale, BU spokesman Colin Riley said. However, paperwork and licensing delays could prevent it from opening on schedule at the beginning of the year.
In the 1980s, Kenmore Square was filled with nightclubs and pubs, contributing to an increased crime rate. BU has since moved out many Kenmore tenants in an attempt to clean up the area.
BU spokesman Colin Riley said due to BU’s construction plans, they “relocated every tenant with a lease,” including Cornwall’s. He said the recent and upcoming changes in Kenmore Square will make it safer and better than what it was before renovations.
On Sept. 27, the Boston Licensing Board approved Cornwall’s alcohol license. However, approval of the license was sent to the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, and the final decision is still pending.
The restaurant’s return has received much support from the business community.
In September, a letter written to City Hall by a member of the Kenmore Community and Economic Development Corporation urged the Boston licensing board to approve Beale’s request to move Cornwall’s to 654 Beacon St.
In the letter, KCEDC board member and Kenmore resident Kathy Conley wrote, “The move of Cornwall’s across the street at 654 Beacon will create one more spot on our neighborhood map that should favorably affect the Square’s business and social character.”
Despite corporate acceptance, however, students are mixed on the return of a restaurant and bar.
College of Arts and Sciences freshman Joseph Hardin said as the president of his class, he represents his classmates in saying the new establishment doesn’t fit renovation plans.
“I have doubts about it,” Hardin said. “If BU wants to revitalize Kenmore Square, their projected image isn’t going to be portrayed with a bar.”
Hardin also said BU’s leasing decisions do not comply with the demanding policies they hold for students.
“Knowing how BU is intensely strict on the alcohol policies, the allowance of a bar to become part of the campus is contradictory in their mindset of having a dry campus,” he said.
For students like CAS sophomore Ariel Kraten, Cornwall’s reopening is a welcome return to the past.
“It’s a great location, and the area needs a nice place like that for friends to socialize,” she said.
College of Communication sophomore Sarah Zeitlin’s first memory of BU is at the restaurant.
“I remember going to Cornwall’s during my summer orientation two years ago,” Zeitlin said. “The girls I met at orientation and I had no clue what to do, so we went there and had so much fun. It’s a lively place.”
Zeitlin said she had been waiting for Cornwall’s return, hoping her experience wasn’t just a one time thing.
“When I came back to BU for my freshman year, I wanted to go back, but it was already closed. I’m excited it’s reopening. It’s such a great place to relax and have a great time with friends,” she said.
Cornwall’s customers aren’t limited to college students, however.
BU women’s novice crew coach Gailyn Perrin said she frequented the restaurant and bar with her roommate because of its uniqueness and personality.
“From the BU perspective, it didn’t seem like a normal place,” she said. “Everyone seemed to know each other, like a typical small bar. I would definitely go back.”
John and Pamela Beale did not return repeated calls from The Daily Free Press, nor did Great Bay Holdings, the BU subsidiary in control of the Kenmore leases.