The 18 Best College Bars In America
Maybe this will ruffle some feathers, maybe you’ll agree. One thing is for sure, the Big Ten has some of the best college bars in the country.
18. Mickey’s Irish Pub – Ames, Iowa
School: Iowa State University
17. Bourbon Street – Athens, GA
School: University of Georgia
16. Aquarium – Austin, Texas
School: University of Texas – Austin
15. Top of the Stairs – Blacksburg, VA
School: Virginia Tech
14. The Sink – Boulder, CO
School: University of Colorado – Boulder
13. Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub – Cambridge, MA
School: Harvard University
12.Ugly Tuna Saloona – Columbus, Ohio
School: Ohio State University
OSU students have a heap ton of Buckeye pride, and one of the most popular places to celebrate victories — or any occasion, really — is Ugly Tuna.
Columbus is known for its wide array of happening bars and clubs in the area, but Ugly Tuna is always a safe bet for a no-frills fun time. From $3 pitchers during their “Ugly Hours” to 50-cent wings and plenty of screens to catch Big 10 games, it’s hard not to find a way to party.
11. He’s Not Here – Chapel Hill, N.C.
School: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
10. Cornerstone Grill & Loft – College Park, MD
School: University of Maryland – College Park
Since Cornerstone took over the old Rendezvous Inn space in 1997, it’s been a fixture in the social and night lives of UMD students. They keep 16 beers on tap at this pub-style bar, and their best drink specials are on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
A fierce supporter of the Terrapins, Cornerstone posts a link to Maryland’s sports schedule on their website so those who come to watch on the screens know when to drop by.
9. Hurricane Harry’s – College Station, Texas
School: Texas A&M
8. Kam’s – Urbana-Champaign, IL
School: University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Underclassmen rejoice — most of the bars in and around campus admit anyone 19 and over (but sorry, the legal age to drink is still 21).
Still, the lax entry rules allow freshmen and sophomores to mingle with their upperclassmen cohorts at places like Kam’s, one of the more popular campus-area bars with an upstairs, downstairs, beer garden, and dance floor. The bar has drink specials every night, and on certain nights it even has specials just for UIUC seniors.
7. Rick’s American Cafe – Ann Arbor, MI
School: University of Michigan
In the heart of Ann Arbor with a second location in East Lansing, Rick’s is among U of M students’ favorite places to party. Tuesday night is college night, with $1 well drinks all night and no cover when you show your student ID.
The atmosphere is more club-like than cafe-like, so students who arrive at Rick’s should be ready for a good time.
6. Salty Dog Saloon – Gainesville, Fla.
School: University of Florida
5. Brother’s Bar & Grill – Iowa City, Iowa
School: University of Iowa
The number one party school in the country, according to Princeton Review’s 2013 ranking, has no shortage of bars for Hawkeyes to choose from, but students flock to Brother’s for its Mug Club. On Thursday nights students bring $4 reusable mugs for unlimited $1 refills on well drinks and beer.
The line at the bar counter can seem never ending, but is always worth it when 25-cent wings are at stake.
4. Phyrst – State College, PA
School: Penn State University
Phyrst is the 21st birthday celebration capital of State College. Nittany Lions fans swarm this divey basement bar for its nightly live music performances and cast of smoking hot bartenders, known as the Phyrst Girls.
Students can show off their school spirit by grabbing a drumstick and playing the drum cadence by Penn State’s Blue Band against the wall. The bar will join in with “P-S-U!”, or make you chug if you mess up.
3. Kilroy’s – Bloomington, IN
Sometimes a night out at IU all depends on which one of the Kilroy’s bars everyone’s in the mood for. Kilroy’s Sports Bar, on Walnut, is a three-level bar and club with a dance floor that holds 200. And, as the name implies, “Sports” frequently shows IU games and serves all the game day munchies ever needed.
Kilroy’s on Kirkwood also shows games and has great food, and it’s the better choice for underclassmen who can get in and hang out before nightfall.
2. The Neon Cactus – West Lafayette, IN
The Neon Cactus, where the only thing bigger than the dance floor is the staff’s personality, is the go-to bar and dance club on Thursday nights. Bruce “The Piano Man” Barker, a Purdue alum, has been performing in the interior piano bar for 19 years, and is known for making fun of patrons who text while he’s on stage.
Thursdays also offer incredible drink specials, organized by “level of party preparedness.” Ordering a Code Red gets you a $2 well drink, while those in the Code Blue zone snatch up $5 Long Islands.
1. Kollege Klub – Madison, WI
Affectionately dubbed “KK,” this downtown Madison landmark overflows with old memorabilia from past Badger legends. Current athletes on the Wisconsin basketball and football teams can also be spotted in KK on the weekends.
When school is in session, students delight in seasonal drink specials such as “beer-n-shot” night, when the purchase of any bottled beer comes with a free shot. Bring your own mug on Sunday nights for $1 any taps.
h/t Business Insider