Thursday, July 18, 2024
The Hyde-Taylor House at 96 Winthrop St., Harvard Square – once home to the original House of Blues – will soon host Harvard’s Hasty Pudding organization. (Photo: City of Cambridge)

The Hyde-Taylor House at 96 Winthrop St., Harvard Square – once home to the original House of Blues – will soon host Harvard’s Hasty Pudding organization. (Photo: City of Cambridge)

Irish pub Tommy Doyle’s is leaving Harvard Square, but its historic home at 96 Winthrop St. – known as the Hyde-Taylor House – already has a new tenant: The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770, the Harvard group that stages comedic drag musicals and annually anoints a favorite man and woman to immense press attention.

The Pudding announced the move Thursday.

An inauguration of the new clubhouse will come after the college’s holiday break, said officials at the organization, scheduled in time to host part of its Woman of the Year award festivities Jan. 30.

The Pudding has been at 2 Garden St. for nearly a decade, and the Hyde-Taylor House will be its sixth clubhouse in a 200-plus year history. The Hasty Pudding Theatricals annual production will stay at the Pudding’s ancestral home and theater, Farkas Hall, at 12 Holyoke St., along with the “Hasty Pudding Lobby,” a permanent museum of original artwork and ephemera from the Pudding’s past.

Tommy Doyle’s, opting to leave instead of pay higher rents, worked with landlord Raj Dhanda to hire a firm seeking a new tenant. “The Hasty Pudding Institute began negotiations with Tommy Doyle’s and the landlord at the end of the summer,” Pudding officials said.

According to their press release:

After a long search for a new house in Harvard Square, the opportunity to rent 96 Winthrop St. presented itself. The Hyde-Taylor House immediately appeared to be a perfect fit, as its extensive history of performing arts and philanthropy complements the Hasty Pudding Institute’s own history and mission. The Pudding will aim to further the great traditions deeply rooted in its new home and add their own to the centuries-old history of 96 Winthrop St.

“It was important to find a new location to meet the diverse needs of the Hasty Pudding Club, Hasty Pudding Theatricals and Kroks, and to serve as a place where our longstanding traditions can continue to thrive,” said Andrew L. Farkas, an alum and benefactor of the club who bears the title Grand Sphinx of the Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770. “We are thrilled that we have found the perfect complement with our new home and we look forward to adding our own history to the building.”

The history

The first house at 96 Winthrop St. went up in 1635, when Cambridge was still Newe Towne, one year before Harvard was founded. The current house was built in 1846 by Isaac Hyde in the Greek revival style, according to a history provided by the organization.

In 1900, George Mendell Taylor bought the house, where he lived and gave piano lessons. In 1950, Geneviève MacMillan used it as the home of Club Henry IV, the first French restaurant in the Square, which drew such customers as writer William Faulkner, playwright Thornton Wilder and artist Joan Miró.

“MacMillan also collected art and established fellowships and grants, beginning a legacy of philanthropy and education that, like Taylor’s, has been passed down through the building’s history,” the Pudding said in its press release.

In 1965, the area’s first discotheque, La Discotheque Nicole, opened in the basement of Club Henry IV. In 1992, the site became home to the world’s first House of Blues and the Massachusetts House of Blues Foundation, which promoted education and multiculturalism through art and music. After the House of Blues moved to a bigger venue in Boston, Brother Jimmy’s barbecue opened in 2003.

The eatery never gained a foothold, and in 2005, the house was painted a deep shade of green and became Tommy Doyle’s. The Irish restaurant will keep its site in Kendall Square, and its owners intend to relocate the Harvard site in Cambridge, Somerville or Boston, according to The Cambridge Chronicle.

This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.