The Once-Beating Heart of AUB’s Community

Vol. XXII, No. 1, 2024

Imagine a bustling cafe that was once a hive of activity, a place where people from across campus came together to connect over a cup of Turkish coffee or a bite to eat. It was a place where students crammed for exams, caught up with friends, and argued about politics. But more than that, it was a place where the AUB community came to life.

We are, of course, describing the legendary Milk Bar, a campus snack shop that acquired its name from British troops stationed in Lebanon during World War II. It was once located in Ada Dodge Hall, the old student union building that closed over 30 years ago. There are many rumors as to why the famed space closed. Some say that after College Hall was bombed in 1991, it was converted into office space. Others will tell you it was closed in the late 1980s to reduce costs.

The truth is that no one remembers, but whatever the reason was, it still holds a special place in AUB’s history. And it remains very much alive in the memories of alumni who were lucky enough to experience its vibrant community.

These never-before-seen photos were pulled from our archives for a special photo essay exploring the memory of our beloved Milk Bar.


“Imagine a cafeteria where you get in line with a tray as you do at any other cafeteria in the world, but it’s not like any other cafeteria in the world. At this cafeteria, you order a Turkish coffee to taste, and it reaches the cashier at the same time you do,” says Vahan Zanoyan (BA ’72).

“My best spot at AUB was the Milk Bar. It was the post office and the banyan tree, it was where we all met. It was like a dating scene,” says Fatima Sbeiti (BA ’65, MA ’70).


“It stood at the center of the AUB student experience. It was the one place where students gathered between classes to have coffee, talk, and exchange ideas, all while listening to the songs played on the jukebox in the middle. I can hardly recall any fond memories at AUB that do not involve the Milk Bar, and I cannot listen to certain Fairouz songs without vivid feelings of my time at AUB gushing out. The Milk Bar was a witness to a whole era now bygone,” says Trustee Marwan Muasher (former student 1972–75)


Milk Bar was the place to fall in love, meet new people, or simply enjoy a strong coffee among friends. It was once the heart of AUB’s vibrant community. It reflected the diversity of the campus and made everyone feel at home.


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