Stanford to Close CoHo Permanently

Posted by at 6:16PM

coho_logo.gifGet ready to say goodbye to the CoHo: according to the Stanford Report, it’s not re-opening when students return to campus later this month. With the exciting renovations to Old Union and its plethora of new student spaces, clearly this isn’t a complete bust. But you’d think the University could have been a bit more transparent about the fact that they were eliminating the only chill environment where students could study, load up on caffeine, grab a bite, and listen to artsy live performances all in the same space. It was the only place on campus that you could go to have some sense that you were still alive while finishing up on that Econ problem set. Maybe the Starbucks on Stanford Ave can fill that role somewhat, but it’s hardly in a central location.
In the article disclosing the death of the CoHo, Old Union cheerleader-in-chief, Jeanette Smith-Laws claims that much of the “CoHo feel” and “CoHo look” will be replicated by the new performance space in the basement of Old Union. But who knows if it will measure up? If you want food or coffee with that live performance, you’ll have to go upstairs to the lamely-named “Axe and Palm” cafe (I’m sure Stanford Dining picked the name) to buy your food and (presumably) bring it downstairs to the performance space. And if you wanted to study down there, you’ll probably have to forget it. With the emphasis on performance rather than hanging out, and with the food a decent trek away, I just don’t see many people making an attempt to study there.
It’s sad that the University assumed Old Union’s new additions wouldn’t thrive without driving students from the other union. Or maybe Stanford Dining couldn’t figure out how to run a budget surplus with two cafes operating late right next to each other. Either way, I’m sad to see the CoHo go, and sad that there wasn’t more transparency in the decision, or in any decision made surrounding the student unions. I mean, with a student union presumably for students, well… maybe I shouldn’t kick that dead horse. Long live the CoHo.


11 Responses to “Stanford to Close CoHo Permanently”

  1. john hamilton says:

    lame… they could’ve at least kept the name alive in the new location. maybe they’ve never heard of branding.

  2. megan says:

    So, I’m helping work on transferring the CoHo “feel” to the basement of Old Union – which, btw is really cool. But, even though Jeanette mentions in the article how it is going to be a “hang out and performance space” — it really isn’t ideal for “performances” per say, and it’s going to take a lot of work and student energy to get “The Basement” (which is a cool name!) to become what it could be. Basically, we need a dedicated group of students to make sure that the Basement in Old Union becomes a cool hang out spot. If you are interested in helping, email me –

  3. tlow says:

    Let me be the first to say Old Union is lame. I’ve been participating in a focus on Old Union and every meeting the outlook becomes less exciting.
    The people in charge don’t have student interest in mind, they are merely seeking ways to profit most.

  4. tom ’00 says:

    “Axe and Palm” cafe (I’m sure Stanford Dining picked the name)
    Bingo. (Seriously: what about this name “clicked” with the Dining crowd? Axes cut down trees. A palm is a type of tree. Yeesh.)
    But I’m far away from the Farm (unfortunately for me). Maybe it just sounds horrible on paper.

  5. Maxwell Demon says:

    Gadzooks–Tom ’00, thanks for nailing the unintentional hilarity of the new name. Perhaps they rejected “Artery and Clog” or “The Baby Seal Club.”
    I’m old, but my memories of the Coffee House are good ones. This retroactively bums me.

  6. Jessi ’99 says:

    Holy hand grenades Batman! What are they doing to my old alma mater? The Coffee House (I hate the name CoHo!) was one of the best things about college life at the Farm! Some of my best (and worst) times were had frantically drinking coffee and cramming for midterms on the benches outside. Sad to see that Stanford chose profits over substance…again.

  7. Barbara Saunders says:

    How sad! I worked at the old, student-run Coffee House in the 1980s. Those were different times…

  8. Belinda ’96 says:

    Wow. The CoHo closure is depressing news. Was there any reaction to this among the current students? The Coho was one of my absolute favorite places on campus, and it was one of the few places that was REAL. Although I appreciate the modern aesthetic and functionality of the gleaming new spaces created in the last decade, they are all somewhat sterile. I will miss the authenticity of the coho — the pocked and thick-lacquered wood tables, the tchotchke over the counter, the imperfect murals, the wacky lighting, the non-dining-service food, the ambiance and history and great memories. Hold on to those old coho pint glasses, they’re a thing of the past.

  9. Kamron says:

    Wow. Very disappointing. However, I was already bummed from my visit to Stanford a year or two after graduating in ’98 to find that the CoHo had a new look– a bit bright and sterile. It was clear to me that the millennium was definitely upon us. Now, we must say adios completely. So sad. Well, I will hold on to my fond memories, remain optimistic and give this new joint a shot. Best of luck to the developers!

  10. Jim Chaney ’79 says:

    As one of the “artsy” performers (although Bill Monroe is spinning in his grave at the suggestion that bluegrass, which is what I played there, is artsy) I weep over this development. And since I played there 30 years ago (yes … three-zero … DAMN)this really is the loss of a tradition, and a piece of Farm history.

  11. Jeff Jackson ’92 says:

    And we would be remiss not to mention $2.50 pitchers of Henry Weinhardt’s on Friday and Saturday nights in the early 90’s.
    That’s correct – cheap beers within walking distance of everywhere on campus.


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