Brandeis at 75

Toasting 50 Years of the Stein

Black and white image of a man wearing a suit and cutting a ribbon.
Alan Rosenberg ’74, P’07, left, cuts the ribbon for The Stein’s grand opening on October 2, 1973, as Brandeis Food Service Director Larry Jeffrey, right, looks on.

Photo Credit: The Justice Newspaper/Brandeis Library

By David Marino

While running for student body president in the spring of 1973, Alan Rosenberg ’74, P’07, campaigned on an ambitious idea: He wanted to open a bar on campus. (The drinking age was 18 at the time.)

He wasn’t looking to turn Brandeis into a party school. Rather, he wanted to build a space where students could hang out with and get to know faculty outside the confines of the classroom. 

“Students weren’t allowed to go to the Faculty Club,” he says. “I envisioned a tavern that would be open to both students and professors. They could meet, have a beer, or just talk in a casual setting.”

Rosenberg won his election and officially made good on his campaign promise in October that same year, opening The Stein above Sherman Dining Hall. 

Now, half a century later, the bar remains a vibrant hang-out spot for Brandeis students and faculty, and has served up cold pints and good times to thousands. 

The Grand Opening

To actually fulfill his campaign promise,  Rosenberg partnered with then-Food Services Director Larry Jeffrey, who played an instrumental role in making the Stein a reality and furnished the pub with booths, tables, and chairs from a nearby diner that had gone out of business. They also hired Frank Linde ’75, Eddie Moccia ’75, and Kevin Smith ’75 to refurbish the furniture, one sanded table at a time: 

As for naming it “The Stein,” Rosenberg’s inspiration was two-fold. On the one hand, the name evoked the German beer glasses of the same name, while on the other, it paid homage to his grandfather, Ernest Stein, who helped his family escape Nazi Germany.

“My grandfather was a brilliant man,” he says. “He knew what he was doing. That’s why I wanted to name The Stein after him.”

Rosenberg remembers creating Stein buttons and promoting the pub across campus with homemade signs. Once it opened, he says word-of-mouth helped to fill even more seats.

Students watching a soccer game on TV while eating and drinking.
Brandeis students watch the Brandeis Men’s Soccer Team play in the NCAA Tournament National Semifinal in a watch party at The Stein on December 1, 2017.

What's on Tap Now

Today, Rosenberg lives in Stuttgart, Germany, with two of his daughters, including Anne Rosenberg ’07, who followed in his footsteps to Brandeis. 

A retired lawyer, he says he can hardly believe it’s been half a century since his idea for a campus tavern became a reality. 

In addition to serving beer and wine to students 21 and over, The Stein now also offers up a late-night breakfast buffet for all students– whether they’re looking for academic fuel, or just a midnight snack. So it’s no surprise Brandeis students and faculty still love The Stein.

Rosenberg says he hopes the tavern will stay open for generations of Brandeisians to come.

“When you get to be my age, you tend to think about what you’ve accomplished,” Rosenberg says. “Back then, I didn’t know if students would even come to the tavern. To see its continued success has been one of the highlights of my life.”