Sandy and Nemo may have done all they can to derail the class of 2013’s year at the beach, but even mother nature can’t stop these seniors from going out with a bang.

Closed for six weeks due to major flooding from last semester’s superstorm, The Seagrape Cafe is working hard to ensure that the end of this year is one to remember.

“[Sandy] was devastating for us,” said owner Robert Manere.  “I really felt for the kids … all the college kids down here got rooked.”

Although Manere mentioned the financial difficulties that go along with closing a business during one of it’s busiest seasons, he mentioned a big motivator for The Seagrape’s speedy recovery were the students: “This is their bar, I’m just the caretaker.”

“It’s like when we closed they lost another part of their home,” said Manere.

Growing up just about 15 minutes away in Weston, Conn., Manere mentioned he used to frequent The Seagrape when it was known as The Nautilus.  However, the Fairfield Beach bar has come a long way since then.

“This is Fairfield University’s college bar, and it’s pretty well known as a college bar throughout the country,” Manere said.  “And it’s not because of the name “Seagrape,” it’s because of Fairfield University, the kids, this is the place where they come to party.”

According to, a college blog and forum, The Seagrape is now ranked 17th in their list of top 100 college bars in the country.  Also in the top 20 are schools such as USC, Duke, and West Virginia.

Although Manere took over ownership of The Seagrape in the summer of 2011, he refuses to take credit for his bar’s recent success.

“For the size of Fairfield University, compared to some of the other schools out there, you guys really freaking know how to party,” says Manere.

The former restaurant owner mentioned that, while owning a bar keeps you young, but “it’ll kill you otherwise”, he said he is having a lot of fun.

“I think this is the most gratifying thing I’ve done,” said Manere, mentioning how much of an honor it is to be able to be such a big part of the students’ senior years.

Although he has been invited to a couple of graduation parties down at the beach, Manere has not yet been invited to Fairfield’s 2013 commencement. He added, “I’ll totally be there if I’m invited.”

In closing, Manere mentioned how pleased and impressed he was with this year’s seniors: “I’m so proud to have been able to be a part of their class.”

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