Cafe 210 West, outside

Cafe 210 West on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 in State College, Pa. 

In a college town like Penn State, students and visitors do not have to look far to find a bar, club or apartment building downtown.

But in some buildings — like Greenwich Court Apartments on East College Avenue or the Cafe 210 Apartments — students live next to or on top of bars and clubs that are packed from dusk until dawn.

Michael Les lived in Greenwich Court last year, and never had an issue from the Stage West club. He spent most of his time away from the apartment when he needed to study, he said.

“It was a great space,” Les (senior-biomedical engineering) said. “It was really big and not too much money per month. We would always be doing something on a Friday or Saturday night with our friends, so the loud noise never bothered us.”

Where one aspect of off-campus living might function as a drawback — like being so close to a bar — other aspects make up for it, Les said.

“Our apartment was well run — we never had an issue with the leasing company, and we were literally seconds away from campus,” Les said.

Les and his cohort are not the only students who have a symbiotic relationship with their building’s location.

Zoe Sussman is another Greenwich Court resident and said she remains positive about her and her roommates’ living situation.

“There are good days and bad days, but that isn’t a function of where we are living,” Sussman (sophomore-chemistry) said.


Sussman and her three roommates knew where the location was and thought it would be fun to live near a local live music venue like Stage West, she said.

“Sometimes it gets loud on the street, like really early in the morning, but we usually find it funny,” Sussman said. “I think other places are also loud when students are walking by.”

Noah Hastey said he didn’t even know he lived next to a bar until he was walking home from class and saw a sign promoting a Happy Hour at Lion’s Den.

Hastey (sophomore-division of undergraduate studies) said he has had only uplifting experiences in his time at Centre Court, where he has easy access to classes, LionHeart Fitness and Training, and McLanahan’s.

“You honestly don’t even know there’s a bar there, even on Tuesdays — which is [Lion’s Den’s] big night,” Hastey said. “Plus, our apartment is really nice, so if we got a cheaper price because of the bar, that’s a plus.”

Another downtown bar, Cafe 210 West is a long-revered outdoor restaurant at Penn State — but equally revered are the apartments above it.

George O’Brien, a 2008 Penn State economics graduate, said he loved every minute of living above Cafe 210 West during both his junior and senior years.

O’Brien said he lived in a “glorified attic,” which did not disappoint.

“I turned 21 in my junior year, so it was the best thing,” he said.

Not only was getting to the bar easy, but it was also safer coming home, as the commute was measured in feet and seconds, not miles and minutes, O’Brien said.

It also introduced him and his friends to additional chums, who he said became in love with their apartment.

“The group just kept getting bigger and bigger, and it was incredible.”


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