A new beginning for Chum’s

Cholmondeley’s, more commonly known as Chum’s, is a student-run coffeehouse located in Usen Castle and founded in 1955. Students working at Chum’s make all the decisions, from what gets served to the decor of the space. Chum’s serves dollar coffee, tea and hot chocolate, as well as other drinks and snacks. According to its website, it was named after a “Black and Tan Coonhound belonging to the campus photographer Ralph Norman.” He is remembered to this day with his portrait on one of the walls in Chum’s and their logo. 

According to Anna Bartusis ’20, the co-general manager, Chum’s is the only place on campus where you can get latte art. “If you are looking for a late night study alternative to the library, Chum’s is the place to go,” said Gabe Trevino ’20, another co-general manager, in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. Chum’s is open on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to midnight. A new addition is Sunday brunch hours, which are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bartusis and Trevino agreed that the best part about working at Chum’s is the events:  “My favorite part is definitely the cool events and concerts I get to run,” said Bartusis in an interview with The Hoot. Trevino added that working at Chum’s was how he got to meet a lot of people at Brandeis.  

However, ever since the destruction of the castle, Chum’s has become slightly forgotten by the student body, and the Chum’s team has been working on recreating its image. “We repainted the walls into a warm orange-yellow color,” Bartusis told The Hoot in an interview. “Although the blue walls were very much in the Brandeis spirit, the blue is everywhere on campus: we wanted Chum’s to stand out,” added Trevino.   

Now Chum’s functions not only as a coffeehouse, but also as a space that can be reserved by clubs on campus for smaller, more intimate events. There are regular performances that happen there as well. According to the website, Chum’s has hosted “Tracy Chapman, the J. Geils Band, Joan Baez and the first American performance of Genesis.” According to Bartusis, there is also a legend that the famous coffeehouse in the show Friends was inspired by Chum’s. This is confirmed by a Facebook post by Brandeis, which stated that “the gang’s favorite coffee shop, the Central Perk, was inspired by Cholmondeley’s, better known as Chum’s.” It is also said that Angela Davis worked at Chum’s during her time at Brandeis, according to Bartusis.

Additionally, the Chum’s team is starting a lot of new initiatives in the space. “We are always looking for artists to give us their artwork to display,” said Bartusis to The Hoot. They also started a “leave a book, take a book” shelf, where you can come and take a free book to read. If reading is not your thing and drawing is your preference, they also have coloring books available. They are also in the process of getting board games. Another exciting change is that Chum’s will start accepting card payments (as opposed to being cash-only) by the end of February, and they also started an Instagram page

Chum’s will be having its “re-opening” on Thursday, Feb. 6: it will be open for longer hours, particularly during the day, to allow students to come see the changes that they have made.  


Editor’s Note: Sasha Skarboviychuk is a member of the executive board for the Campus Activities Board under the Department of Student Activities, which also oversees Chum’s. Skarboviychuk has no connection with the management or work of Chum’s. 

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