As the Stanford campus returns to post-pandemic routines, The Arbor is once again providing a place for casual student gatherings.

Students standing together under string lights

On Thursday and Friday evenings, Tresidder is transformed into The Arbor, a largely student-run outdoor bar and entertainment space. (Image credit: Snehal Naik)

The Arbor, a largely student-run outdoor bar and entertainment space located in the Tresidder Memorial Union courtyard, opened for spring quarter on April 15, to a warm  reception. It is open on Thursday and Friday nights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“Students are able to hang out together for the first time in a long time,” said Nate Boswell, Special Assistant in the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

Unlike some bars, which restrict entry to those 21 and older, The Arbor is open to everyone. It offers food and nonalcoholic drinks in collaboration with two nearby restaurants, The Treehouse and the Coffee House (CoHo), as well as local draft beer for those 21 and over (who must show ID when ordering).

The most recent incarnation of The Arbor is “a marriage between what the pandemic necessitates and the vision to really build this space out,” Boswell said. Tables are spaced far enough apart to allow for social distancing, and food is delivered to the tables.

The idea for The Arbor came from Stanford students. Students also plan the bar’s activities, which include live performers, movie screenings, trivia nights, live sports broadcasts, and a paint and sip night.

Arielle Wenokur and Emily Arbuthnott pitched the idea to the Student Affairs office in 2019.

The Arbor first opened in the spring of 2019, and its initial success led to plans to continue it during fall and spring quarters.

“The thing that we found most rewarding was that a lot of students came up to us and said, ‘We’ve been hoping for something like this for so long,’” Arbuthnott said, a co-term student in management science and engineering.

By spring 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic had closed The Arbor along with the rest of campus.

Now that The Arbor has reopened, word is spreading via social media, student mailing lists, a sign hand-painted by students, and promotions such as hand-made t-shirts and gift cards.

Arbuthnott and Wenokur, who is a co-term student in sustainability science and practice, are about to graduate and are working to assemble a group of students to continue to develop The Arbor next year.

The reopening has provided a place for students to reconnect after having been away from campus – and each other.

“We were really excited to be able to reopen this quarter after so long, and after everyone has been away from each for an extended period of time – to have a place on campus where everyone can come together in a safe way, that respects COVID guidelines but allows people to engage in person again,” Wenokur said.

“We greatly appreciate students following public health guidance at the Arbor and other outdoor campus venues,” said Snehal Naik, Senior Director of Student Engagement. “This is a sign that operations like this are a success, and students are ready for more.”

Students interested in getting involved with the Arbor next year are invited to contact Trista Shideler, Associate Director of Student Engagement, at