The Bear’s Lair, an on-campus restaurant at 2495 Bancroft Way, is expected to reopen in mid-September with a remodeled look, a new name and a new owner.
According to managing partner Reign Free, The Bear’s Lair will now be called “Bear’s Lair Tavern.” Free is the founder of The RedDoor Catering, an Oakland-based company that will now become the new owner of the restaurant.
Bear’s Lair Tavern will add new furniture and repurpose the two top tables into more communal tables, Free said. There will also be a beer garden with lights, a fire pit, a communal table and games.
“Our whole thing is about creating community and bringing that back to Bear’s Lair,” Free said. “It’s not what it looked like before, but we’re trying to create new memories.”
According to Free, prices at Bear’s Lair Tavern will likely remain unchanged. But because the prices are “a little higher” than those of other restaurants in the area, the restaurant will be offering UC Berkeley students discounts on food and nonalcoholic beverages, Free said.
One former student who previously visited The Bear’s Lair said she enjoyed the food but that the process of ordering food was unclear.
“I remember the service was a bit confusing because we walked in and weren’t sure if we just sit or wait to be seated — plus the ordering wasn’t super clear, so one of us had to go to the bar and order our food there,” said campus alumnus Kizal Butt in an email. “But overall, it wasn’t so inconvenient that I wouldn’t try it again, plus the food was good.”
The food service company Chartwells previously owned The Bear’s Lair, but it closed multiple restaurants in Eshleman Hall after ending its contract early in June 2017. Chartwells agreed to keep The Bear’s Lair open until May 2018.
The original Bear’s Lair has been on campus at the same location since 1962 and remained in business until December 2012, when it closed for the construction of Eshleman Hall. In fall 2015, The Bear’s Lair reopened in time for the new academic year within the new Eshleman Hall building. According to Free, the recent remodeling project began in July of this year.
When Bear’s Lair Tavern opens later this month, the restaurant will have an opening menu, a live band and different nights of activities, according to Free.
Bear’s Lair Tavern’s opening hours will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, with extended hours, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays, the restaurant will open its doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We do appreciate (student) support and look forward to serving the community,” Free said.