With personal experiences, consulting with several others and running down memory lane, PubClub.com has assembled a list of the Top 10 iconic bars in college towns across America.
This is the best of the best in places across the country, from a place where they cut off your tie if you’re wearing one in Clemson to the “Star Wars” bar at USC. This list is what our team of college bar town experts – veterans of the bars – deemed to be the most worthy establishments.
They are the wildest, most fun, best places and best hangouts, the “must go to” bars that are as legendary as the institutions themselves. They are where alumni go when they are in town for games – driven there by instinct like migrating birds – where students go to drink on a regular basis and where students before them have gone to drink for decades.
1.) The Library On 6th, University of Texas
There’s a reason Texas is the head of the class on PubClub.com’s Top Party Schools, and one of the reasons is The Library. First of all, how clever is the name for a college bar? “Mom, dad, don’t worry – I was at The Library last night!” This two-level bar has beers and cocktails for $3.5o and is the heart of the college bar hangout area of Sixth Street in Austin. Shout outs to: The Aquarium on 6th, Maggie Maye’s (live music with an awesome rooftop, currently closed tho), Scholz Garten for pre-and post-game fun and away from campus the Hula Hut on Lake Austin.
2.) Gallette’s, University of Alabama
The closest bar to Bryant-Denny Stadium (it’s so close an errant pass from a quarterback could wind up there), Gallette’s is part game-day bar and all-weekends rocking nightclub. Gallette’s also has a “must-do” drink, the Rammer Jammer, served in a souvenir cup. Shout outs to: the awesome Innisfree Pub downtown (frankly it’s kind of a tie as to “the” T-town bar but Gallette’s gets the nod due to its proximity to Bryant-Denny) and the Houndstooth just down from Gallette’s as part of a long row of college town bars. There’ more bars there now than when I was at Alabama, that’s for sure! The go-to bar then was a place called Soloman’s. It was a steamed sandwich shop (mmm!) with a downstairs club that killed a few brain cells of mine.
3.) Tiger Town Tavern, Clemson
This is a legendary bar in Clemson where they will cut of your tie when you enter if you are wearing one. That don’t confront me to borrow a line from a George Thorogood song, but part of the Clemson football experience is going there after a game.
4.) Varsity Club Restaurant & Bar, Ohio State
Hands down, this is the center of pre-game activity for those not at one of the many tailgating areas before and after Ohio State games. Most everyone gets dropped off in front of the Varsity Club or starts their game day there as it’s across Lane Avenue from Ohio Stadium.
5.) 901 Bar, USC
This place just off campus gets such an interesting assortment of students and alumni so much so that is rumored to inspire George Lucas when he created a bar in the first Star Wars. Called the 9-0, it is in an unassuming building at the end of 28th Street by frat and sorority row. Shout out to: Julie’s. For decades this was THE pre- and post-game hangout and was where legendary coach John McKay used to hang out with friends and conduct media interviews while drinking “see throughs,” clear vodka cocktails (you could “see through” the glass, you see).
6.) Salty Dog Saloon, University of Florida
It is a little known fact that every town in the state of Florida must have a bar or restaurant/bar called the Salty Dog. The one in Gainesville is different from all others in that it’s a college bar, not a two-beer hangout at the beach. “Let’s meet at the Dog” is the expression in this college town ever since it first opened and that was when Charlie Pell was the Gators’ football coach.
7.) State Street Brats (or simply Brat’s), University of Wisconsin
Simply known as Brat’s, it’s been there forever. Well, since 1953 anyway. It’s where alumni and students go to watch games (away and home if they don’t have a ticket) and drink beers. Shout out to: Essen Haus, a German bar where they serve beers in a glass boot, Oktoberfest style, known as “das boot.”
8.) Primanti Brothers Restaurant and Bar, Penn State
This historic restaurant founded in Pittsburgh in 1933 (it created the french fries inside the sandwich) is the most popular sports bar in St. College. Penn State also has a “must try” cocktail, the Monkey Boy – Monkey Boy, a multi-alcohol concoction topped with a cherry. – at The Saloon just down Heister Street. Shout outs to: The Phyrst and the “Rath” (the All-American Rathskeller, a legendary Penn State bar that closed in 2018).
9.) The Rathskeller, The U (University of Miami)
This bar is on campus. With a patio overlooking a pond. Known by students past and present as being “at the Rat” it’s a unique drinking institution at “the U” and where many students hang out to watch Hurricanes games.
10.) Deadwood Tavern, University of Iowa
The Deadwood is a true, classic college town bar on 6 Dubuque Street in Iowa City. It is well known among locals and alumni to have great Bloody Marys, ideal for those Noon kickoff games.