On the seventh day God rested.

What many don’t know is that on the eighth day the Almighty created the Fairfield University social scene and little has changed since.

For decades, Fairfield University students have herded into the all-to familiar haunts of beach parties and the SeaGrape, equipped with little more than a fistful of jukebox money and an unwavering desire to mix up their evenings with just the right amount of binge drinking and debauchery that the average person is able to forget by the next day.

But some courageous students have begun to venture elsewhere in search of something more meaningful and original: the neighboring section of Bridgeport known as Black Rock.

“I decided to live in Black Rock because it allows me to be in a thriving community and get’s me out of the bubble that is the beach,” said Jim McCaffrey ’04.

“For me the experience is very unique, especially when after a while you get tired of the same thing all the time in Fairfield,” McCaffrey added. “There are so many things going on here that I never hear about on campus and I can walk to them all.”

Black Rock’s attraction to students is not just its status as an accessible alternative to the monotony of the time-dishonored tradition of the beach, or even its close proximity to school (about two miles from campus). Instead it’s a unique and urban blend of neighborhoods, pubs, restaurants, artistic centers, stores and parks that they say provide a sense of character unlike anywhere else in the area.

It is the kind of place where a simple afternoon’s walk can bring one from a breathtaking view of Long Island Sound at St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea to a welcoming bar stool with a waiting pint of Guinness at The Black Rock Castle, or to a waffle cone full of homemade ice cream at Timothy’s, or to perhaps the most unique of all experiences a listen in on creative and original music at The Acoustic Café.

“Black Rock is a great neighborhood with a real community and all sorts of shopping and things are in walking distance. I know way more of my neighbors living in Black Rock for six years then I knew in Fairfield after 24 years,” said politics professor Donald Greenberg.

According to Greenberg the Black Rock and Blue Bar located at 3490 Fairfield Avenue is just one of Black Rock’s “many great things for students [to do].”

“I went there because it’s a place where a lot of people go to,” said student James Lagatola.

The largest of Black Rock’s bars features cheap nightly drink specials, large crowds and DJs spinning popular music throughout the week.

According to some students, Black Rock and Blue does have a tendency to pack people in and overcrowding is a major issue.

“Now it is way too crowded. You can’t even move in there,” said Paul Calluzzo ’06. Just a few doors down at 3442 Fairfield Avenue the quainter, smaller and more homely Green Room will reopen its doors this November.

This favorite amongst amateur musicians and trivia night fanatics is in the process of moving closer to the university from its former location at 2720 Fairfield Avenue and plans to maintain its status as a quiet, intimate tavern that attracts an eclectic group of customers.

“We’re still going to be the kind of place people can go to to grab a drink and talk, play a board game, read a book,” said owner Kathy Alexander.

Perhaps the most popular place for music in the area is the Acoustic Café located at 2926 Fairfield Ave.

“I’m old, but I like music that is young and I like to listen to any ideas that people have, especially students,” said Rich Franzino, the owner of The Acoustic Café. “We offer a place where you can sit close to the stage and enjoy the energy of a small place.”

The Acoustic has developed into a warm and atmospheric spot to catch a variety of acts, ranging from groove-inducing jam bands to spirit lifting spoken word.

“We have a bar but this is not the kind of place you go to hear top 40 rock and get drunk,” Franzino added, although they do run an attractive beer special on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

“There’s a good chance you’ll hear a good act any night you go in there,” said Dan Carlucci, Fairfield University student and musician.

According to Franzino, the Acoustic’s most popular draw amongst students are the weekly open mic nights, the Wednesday night jam, and the bluegrass jam at the end of every month, as well as the poetry readings on the first Wednesday of every month.

Franzino also mentioned he liked to pursue bands that tend to carry a university following, including Tim Warren and Eric Donnelly of the Alternate Routes.

“I like to draw students that are into original music (no cover bands) and want to educate themselves by listening to quality music,” said Franzino.

“It’s very cool how a place like the Acoustic offers a place to hang out with musicians and is willing to stay on top of whatever people are into at the time,” Carlucci said. “Kids don’t just have to go the beach … or SoNo … or the City.”

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