NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Mory's, a legendary Yale eating and drinking club patronized by the Bush family and numerous celebrities, has reopened nearly two years after closing amid tough economic times.
The club opened Wednesday after raising $3.5 million that paid for renovations, including a new bar and outdoor seating areas. Mory's also revamped its menu, hoping to attract Yale students who increasingly turned to the growing number of trendy restaurants and bars that have opened in recent years in New Haven.
Christopher Getman, president of Mory's council, said Friday he was "ecstatic" that the club had opened for the first time since December 2008.
"It's a real testimony to a lot of people, including 3,400 donors," Getman said. "The place is really spiffed up. The entrance is much nicer."
Mory's has expanded its membership to include not only students and faculty but all Yale employees, Getman said.
Foreign leaders and movie stars including Al Pacino, Paul Newman, Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks and Jodie Foster have patronized the club, which traces its roots to the Civil War.
The club had an endowment of about $2 million a few years ago, which was "crushed" in the financial meltdown, Getman said.
Former President George H.W. Bush visited Mory's in 2007 to receive the Mory's Cup award. He was known to dine at the club with his granddaughter, Barbara, who graduated from Yale in 2004.
Secret Service agents were regulars outside the club, which has drawn royalty from Jordan to Belgium. Former Presidents Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford and William Howard Taft have visited Mory's, as did Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, according to Getman.
Mory's calls itself the largest private club in the world, with about 13,000 members.
The famous "Whiffenpoofs" singing group at Yale returned this week to mark the opening. The male singing group, whose theme song about Mory's was sung by Elvis Presley and Bing Crosby, sang weekly at the club and have performed at the White House and Lincoln Center.
Getman said he's confident with the new menu, renovations and other changes Mory's will be successful.