Going to the GCB for the first time is a rite of passage for every 21-year-old Brown student. After you’ve become an esteemed elderly Brown student like myself, you find yourself trading youthful traditions like Chicken Finger Fridays for Friday night at the GCB, or even switching to studying in the GCB instead of the SciLi on a weekday. While the GCB is by no means the fanciest bar in town, it’s the home of many Brown students looking for a cheap drink and exceedingly cool vibes. Not being able to return to my natural habitat is yet another casualty of 2020, but I’ve since decided to figure out how to GCB@home. Here’s a couple of ways to bring the GCB back home!
Master the Dank Vibe & Smell: The first indication that you’ve made your way to the GCB is entering the elusive door on the right of Grad E and making your way down to the dark and very dank-smelling GCB. To recreate this atmosphere, just spill a couple of beers on the floor and turn most of the lights off.
Revert to Cheap Alcohol: Perhaps after you returned home, you’ve begun to spoil yourself with the exorbitant forbidden nectars of your parents’ earnings. To get that GCB feel, you need to stop sipping that aged fine scotch you’ve been mooching off your parents and bring yourself down to a barely drinkable yet fancy-sounding craft beer from somewhere in Rhode Island that the GCB has on tap.
Study while Drinking: If, like me, you’ve ever made your way to the GCB during a weekday night, you’ve also seen many people studying in the GCB with a beer nearby. While I personally can’t fathom that this helps with productivity, it certainly adds to the quirky feel of the bar. So if the GCB is your favorite study place, recreate its vibe with a virtual background and a cheap beer and “study” away. (I don’t recommend doing this during class hours, but then again, it’s 2020—you do you, boo.)
GCB decor: One of the defining qualities of the GCB is its very quirky decor. From comic book strips to old Spring Weekend posters to maps of the world, the GCB walls are a world of their own. To really recreate that feel, go grab some of these old prints you might have lying around and hang them all on your walls.
Become the Mixologist: I miss the bartenders at the GCB and all the GCB special cocktails. However, I can help you with only one of those :’(. Over quarantine, I’ve become something of a bartender myself (even though I can only make like three drinks). Fortunately, there are plenty of bartending tutorials on YouTube. So use all the extra time you have now to pick up a new skill! Bonus points if you do this with friends!
My go-to order at the GCB is a Nor’easter, which I’m happy to say I’ve learned how to competently recreate after months of experimentation. To make:
Start with a highball glass (although a red solo cup will do just fine) full of ice.
45 mL (~1 shot) of bourbon (use Jim Beam or Jack D for authentic vibes)
45mL (~½ a lemon/lime) of lemon/lime juice
30mL (~½ a shot glass) of maple syrup
Stir and mix all of this and then top off with ginger beer (ginger beer, NOT ginger ale, rookie mistake).
Card Games: To make any place feel like the GCB, grab any drink and start playing a card game with friends (your pod members or your virtual gang). Really, the GCB is about the homies, not the drinks.
Bring Jo’s home: As GCB tradition dictates, once you and your friends are sloshed or “just a little tipsy,” the entire group must file into Jo’s and binge on whatever fried food will sop up the forbidden nectar you’ve drowned yourself in. The GCB experience is absolutely incomplete without a trip to Jo’s. So, as my friend Gus mentioned, grab some greasy local takeout to really replicate the experience.