Maybe you’re in college. Maybe you wanna go to grad school because, well, the job market. Or maybe you’re a nostalgic alumnus looking to drink the way you did in the old days. Whatever your motivations, we’ve got the place to get your scholarly libations. No surprise, you’ll find a lot of overlap (think fish bowls, $3 Fireball, cheap pitchers, manic football fandom, and even DJ sets). But even if college bar experiences tend to repeat themselves from place to place, it only matters if it’s special to you. If you got drunk, punched, kissed, or all of the above at any of these bars, kick back and enjoy the memories.
Momma Goldberg’s Deli, Auburn University – Auburn, Alabama
Any place that offers “Momma’s Love,” Frito Pie, Sweet Tea, and $4 pitchers of PBR is gonna go over well with the college crowd. Packed, FYI, with AU Tigers fans on game day.
Egan’s, University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
A tiny dive bar that also packs out on game day, so adored by students they visit as alumni—despite repeated reports of “horrifying” bathrooms and general dive-bar crustiness. (But isn’t that the point?)
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Bourbon Street, University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia
A slightly notorious, mostly beloved late night spot for undergrads, with Fish Bowls, $3 pitchers, and dancing on slippery tables. Don’t show up on game day if you’re not a Dawgs fan.
The Library, Ole Miss – Oxford, Mississippi
Not, well, renowned for its food. More a strong drinks and drinks-inspired dancing kind of place, with something called “Gummy Bear Shots” that now we have to have…
The Swamp, University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida
Double-decker home of Gator Nation where you can actually eat gator—as in alligator tail tacos—with your order of Swamp Juice (don’t worry, it’s just a bunch of delicious rum).
The Tombs, Georgetown University – Washington, DC
A block away from the main GU campus, named after a T.S. Eliot poem, and yet somehow also home to the 99 Day Club (seniors have to hit the bar every day in the, yes, 99 days leading up to commencement.)
Maggie’s Neighborhood Bar & Grille, Emory University – Atlanta, Georgia
“Meet at Maggie’s” AKA “Schwaggie’s.” The neighborhood dive bar split between Emory undergrads and a small contingent of locals and “adults.” Except $3 Jager shots make a kid out of everyone.
Josie Wood’s Pub, New York University – New York, New York
Surprisingly cozy for a college bar. Between the brick walls, fireplace, giant burgers and $3 Coors Light Pitchers, you could easily fall asleep here after finals. Except people will be shout-singing along with the jukebox.
Bullwinkle’s Saloon, Florida State University – Tallahassee, Florida
Their “Thirsty Moose Card” gives poor college students access to bottomless drink specials. And from what we can tell, girls tend to get ever so slightly undressed a lot. (See “bottomless drink specials…)
Shooters II Saloon, Duke University – Durham, North Carolina
Yes, your Duke ID will get you a $5 discount on the cover charge, but you better be ready to get up close and personal with your fellow students. Dance floor packs out, fueled by cheap booze.
Kilroy’s on Kirkwood, Indiana University – Bloomington, Indiana
A massive, like prodigiously abundant, list of shooters, plus dollar well drinks on Mondays (and basically specials every single day). Hard not to get drunk here, but try to stay sober-ish, especially if there’s a good DJ.
The Chimes, Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
More gator meat here, this time highly recommended “Blackened Alligator,” plus you can keep your studies going while you drink with their Beer University—and studying helps, since their massive beer list is full of craft picks.
Chimy’s Cerveceria, Texas A&M – College Station, Texas
Nachos, dollar tacos, hefty margaritas, and a pretty solid don’t drink and drive policy. Made for semi-responsible college livin’.
Kam’s, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, Illinois
“Home of the drinking Illini”—truly, it’s bustin’—and also home of something called the “Blue Boy,” a mix of energy drink and vodka which reason and science all say you should avoid. Except your friends will probably buy you three of them.
Rick’s American Café, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan
Named for the famous bar in Casablanca, except we’re pretty sure at Rick’s Café Americain they didn’t have beer pong tournaments or a DJ performing five nights a week.
Top of the Stairs, Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, Virginia
Football, aggressive karaoke, the ability to drink outside, and a terrifying concoction called The Rail (it’s got bourbon, vodka, gin, and rum, plus, we gotta assume, something sweet).
Cain and Abel’s, University of Texas – Austin, Texas
Literally located on West Campus, with $2 Tuesdays and a beer menu that dares to dream of a world beyond Bud Light. Beware, the “Texas Tea” is not what it seems…
The Sink, University of Colorado at Boulder – Boulder, Colorado
Art all over the walls, a visit from both Guy Fieri and President Barack Obama, and something called the Elvis Waffle—bananas, chocolate chips, and, of course, bacon. Maybe not surprising coming from the oldest bar and restaurant in Boulder (93 years young!)
He’s Not Here, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Home of the “Blue Cup” (which you’ll fill with beer) and pint nights, basically a stubbornly, awesomely unchanging, true-to-form dive bar for UNC students.
Boylan Heights, University of Virginia – Charlottesville, VA
Not quite sure how it’s “prep school-themed,” but gourmet burgers and a beer list with local (as in VA) craft selections do give it a bit more sophistication than your average college bar. Khakis not required.
The Boot, Tulane University – New Orleans, Louisiana
Don’t go for the elbow room (there is none). Go for the drink specials, like after a $5 cover you get $.50 drinks on Tuesdays. Supposedly open til 6am, if you make it that long…
The Wagon Wheel, University of Kansas – Lawrence, Kansas
A good bar doesn’t necessarily need more than cheap beer and greasy pizza, though being able to write on the walls after a night of drinking could be creatively…gratifying. Don’t go during March Madness if you value your hearing.
The Kollege Klub, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin
Family-owned (and now run by the 4th generation) since 1953. Don’t worry, though, it’s not wholesome. A divvy college bar with many 1/3 pound burger options to go with your third, or fourth, beer.
Brother’s Bar and Grill, University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa
If it’s too late to get the pumpkin pie shot (Goldschlager, Kahlua, and Irish Cream), try the Mug Club (a $5 mug gets you refills of Long Island Iced Teas and well drinks for just a buck). But don’t follow that up with beer-battered Wisconsin cheese curds. It just seems like trouble.
Zuma Grill, Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona
Zuma’s got the classic split allegiance between sports and music, with flat screens showing the game and DJs keeping tipsy undergrads on their toes. “Toxic Mondays” are what they sound like. You’ve been warned.
Pavlov’s, University of South Carolina – Columbia, South Carolina
If you’re going to a bar that Tweets “Got a test tomorrow? Who gives a shit, let’s get hammered,” you know what you’re in for. A biiiit of a fratty scene, packs out, but there’s a patio for fresh air and/or fighting.
T.D.’s of Clemson, Clemson University – Clemson, South Carolina
If you’re not wearing orange and shouting “Go Tigers,” you may feel a bit left (or forced) out. Post-season, it’s still packed, thanks to $5 pitchers and Garbage Fries.
Cornerstone Grill, University of Maryland – College Park, Maryland
Half-priced wings is reason enough for college student to go just about anywhere (even class), but daily drink specials—yes, the ubiquitous $3 Fireball shot—is probably why the line’s always long.
Harpo’s, University of Missouri – Columbia, Missouri
John Hamm went to Mizzou. Not sure if he went to Harpo’s, but just in case he did, you should go. Also they have tons of events, like the annual luau, Christmas party, or “Shots Around the World” party, which we’re guessing has no historic value whatsoever.
Ugly Tuna Saloona, Ohio State University – Columbus, Ohio
It’s only right a place called “Ugly Tuna” would be famous for their Fish Bowls. Trippy décor that you probably won’t be able to see through the throngs of undergrads. And the place becomes a straight-up party at night.
Cool Beans Bar, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Tennessee
Chili cheese dogs, occasional crawfish boils, undying Volunteers fandom, drinks specials, and Buck Hunter. As close to the perfect formula as we can find.
Tin Roof, Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee
There are Tin Roof locations all over Nashville, but if you want ice cold (macro) lager and some really good music, hit up the original.
Knight Library, University of Central Florida – Orlando, Florida
Ten bucks for two shots, and a rowdy, crowdy college vibe. But yes, according to at least one Yelper, you may step in a puddle of vomit.
Hemingway’s Café, University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Beer specials here actually extend to craft beer (think Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA for $2.50). Add some classic bar fare (nachos, wings, melted cheese on things) and 40 taps, and you’ll be lucky to get kids to go to class.
Indigo, Penn State University – State College, Pennsylvania
This is where college bars go full-on nightclub. Basically a massive dance party, with a throbbing dance floor, VIP tables, a DJ lineup, disco balls, and a very long line to get in. Expect a cover (the most expensive it gets is $7 on a Saturday night) and probably dress like you’re in Miami Vice.
Mary Ann’s, Boston College – Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Unapologetic BC dive bar with warm beer and a salty no-frills attitude. Nicknamed “Scary Ann’s,” but if BC kids can handle it, it can’t be all that bad.
Sunset Cantina, Boston University – Allston, Massachusetts
Any place that serves a peanut butter and fluff sandwich will get a good supply of undergrads looking for homey comfort, and/or something to sip on top of tequila shots. Sunset’s got a pretty great food menu (Mex, Tex-Mex, and BBQ) to go along with a vast drinks menu (pretty sure they serve mead, alongside beer and Margaritas).
Level B, Cornell University – Ithaca, New York
This is the place where Big Red goes to lose a few hard-earned brain cells, courtesy of things like “Fish Bowl Wednesday.” (Those fish bowls are $18, for a gallon of vodka and Kool Aid.) Be careful how much you drink, since a dude got stabbed there last year.
Olde Queens Tavern, Rutgers University – New Brunswick, New Jersey
Open since 1933, yes, but the place won’t exude history so much as hormones and beer sweat. Drinks specials include a Tuesday night deal on Red Bull—free in any mixed drink.
Eskimo Joe’s, Oklahoma State University – Stillwater, Oklahoma
$5 cheese fries, ladies drink free Thursdays after 10pm, and some super weird Eskimo imagery that we’re not sure we’re OK with.
Duffy’s Tavern, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Nebraska
Every college bar seems like it’s “home of the fishbowl,” but at Duffy’s, you’ll actually get your colorful, massive quantity of sweet alcohol IN a fish bowl. And, maybe the longest list of fish bowls we’ve ever seen, including options like the “Toxic Shark Water” and “Blue Bomb Pop.”
Crunchy’s, Michigan State University – Lansing, Michigan
The classic beer-burgers-pizza trifecta, except the burgers here are really good, and they pair well with a pretty damn luxurious craft beer list.
Landmark Bar and Kitchen, Texas Christian University – Fort Worth, Texas
Have a drink and catch a Rangers game while perched upon the mechanical bull patrons can ride at this chill Forth Worth spot.
Mark II, Northwestern University – Chicago, IL
Friday nights at this bar mean karaoke with Dj Billy D. The bar’s website promises that “he’ll spin your favorite jams until 4 in the morning.”
PJs Pub, Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, MD
According to its clientele, PJs is a hole, but how could you not love it?
Sign of the Whale, George Washington University – Washington, D.C.
Where co-eds come to imbibe alongside politicians, lobbyists, and other scandal-makers.
Tom & Marty’s, SUNY Binghamton – Binghamtom, NY
The best place in “Bing” to get weird on the weekends, while throwing back some cold ones and belting out Jack & Diane, or any one of the other ’80s hits the bar staff loves to play.
Harry’s Chocolate Shop, Purdue University – Lafayette, Indiana
This 80-year old establishment began as a café that served fountain drinks and luncheonette items, until they acquired a liquor license, at which point, they began spiking those fountain drinks.
Feagan’s, Syracuse University – Syracuse, NY
An Irish-themed, family-owned pub with Wednesday night flip cup. Also, every Tuesday, 4 different tours take place with a variety of destinations (a.k.a. beers). We’re ready to embark on that journey.
901 Bar and Grill, University of Southern California – Los Angeles, California
Taco Tuesdays, $.50 wings and buy-one-get-one-free drinks on Wednesdays, and as many USC students as can pack onto the dance floor. Go ahead, try to ask someone their major over the music (just FYI, it’s “Partying”).