Students reel with excitement over the reopening of USC’s beloved Study Hall

A student body once devastated by the local bar’s closure is eager to welcome back the local hotspot.

A photo of the Study Hall bar with a sign that reads "Study Hall is Back In Session."

To USC students, the term “Study Hall” is not associated with academic obligations, but rather with fond memories and nights of eating and drinking with friends. Study Hall, a local bar and restaurant that closed in 2019, reopened Sept. 11, giving upperclassmen an opportunity to revisit their old hang out spot.

“It’s just another one of those really good places if you want to hang out with friends, you want to just go watch a game or you have to get some work done,” said senior journalism major Daniel Hailpern who ordered the very first beer at Study Hall after its reopening. “I know it’s kind of funny to call it Study Hall at a place where you’re typically getting drunk.”

For Hailpern, the reopening of Study Hall meant a return to early-college traditions. As the executive producer of sports talk show The Water Cooler, he and his friends were able to resume their post-show routine.

“It was this place where our entire friend group pretty much lived every Friday after our show. We put in a lot of work all week, and then we just go and drink, eat, have a lot of fun,” Hailpern said. “But actually walking in [to Study Hall], I didn’t think that it was ever going to happen again. It is definitely a cool, nostalgic experience to see it again.”

Kara Bittman, a senior majoring in business administration and theater, was one of the many students disappointed when she heard of Study Hall’s closing.

“To be quite honest, I was devastated. This establishment allowed students to meet up casually. It helped bring the USC community closer because it was just a really fun place in a really prime location for all students to go to,” Bittman said. “It was just like a place that was open to all.”

The Victorian style house-turned-restaurant sits on the corner of South Hoover Street and 29th Street, providing an optimal location for students who live off campus.

Morgan Reid, a senior studying business administration, was a frequent customer prior to the pandemic and was one of the first five customers on opening day.

“I was really happy. My first thought was, ‘Is it the same owners? Is it the same menu? Like, what’s the deal?’” Reid said. “Because the chicken tenders are what they’re known for.”

The restaurant closed in December 2019 for undisclosed reasons. In July, the current landlord under BRAD Management reached out to former Study Hall co-owner Ray Lee to ask if he was interested in reopening the restaurant. Lee agreed to open its doors again with his wife and co-owner Sheena Kwon.

They attempted to replicate the nostalgic feeling by keeping the menu mostly the same and redecorating with the same furniture, Kwon said. Kwon herself is a USC alumna and emphasized her Trojan pride when reopening the restaurant.

“We got a lot of input from students saying that there’s no restaurant like ours that’s not a corporate franchise,” Kwon said. “Once we opened it, I’m not exaggerating, at least 100 students came up and said, ‘We’re so happy that you guys are back. Once you guys left, we didn’t know where to go.’”

Study Hall, located at 2827 S. Hoover St., is open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.