Guest Post by IHG Hotels
When classes are out and homework is done for the day (well, sometimes on that last one), college students gather at one place — the favorite local bar. Most weeknights and every weekend, students gather with their friends to drink an ice-cold beer and watch the game being played that night, shoot some pool or even play some beer pong.
Each college has its favorite bars students frequent, and in the state of Illinois, there are plenty of schools and campus bars to choose from. So whether you’re a new student or visiting a friend of yours who’s attending an Illinois university, below is your guide to the best college campus bars in relation to some of the major Illinois universities. Party on!
949 West Webster Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
Since 1933, this Chicago-Irish pub has been taking care of DePaul students and other neighborhood residents looking for some good pub grub and cheap, cold drinks. Kelly’s Pub offers drink and food specials almost daily, like $1 burgers and $1 draft beers, and several students love the wings, which you can get for $0.10/wing on Wednesday nights. On a nice Chicago evening, sit outside in the beer garden to enjoy your cold brew with some of your college chumps.
2432 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
Lincoln Station is a local hangout for DePaul students. It’s a simple, neighborhood bar and grill that gets you out socializing with those in your neighborhood while still feeling like you’re at home. Anything you want off Lincoln Station’s menu is made to order and nicely paired with topnotch local craft beer. There’s a new drink or food special each day of the week, and during baseball season, this is the place to come to watch the hometown Cubs play.
511 North Main St., Bloomington, IL 61701
What sets Fat Jack’s apart from other bars? It has a room for whatever kind of mood you’re in. There’s a fun dance room, a lounge room to sip on your cocktail, an energetic main bar and a tranquil cigar room filled with couches. Each weekday has its own nickname and drink specials, the favorite being Sunday Funday where all of Fat Jack’s daily $3 drink specials are the special for the day. You just can’t have a bad time at this Illinois State bar.
102 North Linden St., Normal, IL 61761
The sports fans of Illinois State gather at Pub II. At this sports bar and grill in Uptown Normal, the dress code varies from casual to somewhat dressy (be sure you’re dressed appropriately when you arrive), but some things remain the same no matter when you go — the atmosphere is fantastic, sports games show on the TVs and students play flip cup. Pub II remains one of the most popular of all the ISU campus bars, which is why many alumnus come regularly come back to enjoy the good vibe, food and beer.
Mark II Lounge
7436 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60645
The Mark II Lounge is a family-owned watering hole that’s been serving generations since 1958. You’ll have plenty of drink options and plenty of times to try your luck at the different games offered: billiards, darts, foosball and even chess. And when you’re not challenging your buddies to an intense game of darts, there’s usually a game playing on the TV worth watching.
Tommy Nevin’s Pub
1450-1458 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201
Tommy Nevin’s Pub is an Irish pub, so you know St. Patrick’s Day is the most celebrated holiday here. But every day is a great pub day at Tommy Nevin’s, especially when your favorite sport is in season. There aren’t just one or two TVs; there are 12 50” plasma TVs, as well as three big screen projectors. All these mean you have plenty of viewing options when it comes to watching any Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks or Northwestern games. Tommy Nevin’s also serves up monthly drink specials, English and Irish taps and hot live music acts throughout the year.
University of Chicago
Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub
1800 North Clybourn, Chicago, IL 60614
The best spot in all of Chicago for home-brewed beer is Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub. Located right in the center of Lincoln Park, this pub has it all. From its delicious menu to its more than 25 draughts and seasonal beers offered daily, your mouth is likely to start watering as soon as you walk through the doors. If you’re around for Black Friday, be sure to stop by for the annual Goose Island’s stout celebration where Goose Island’s limited edition Bourbon County Stout seasonal varietals are released. You can even make a reservation online to make sure you and your University of Chicago friends get a table for the night.
1172 E. 55th St., Chicago, IL 60637
Woodlawn Tap, oftentimes referred to as Jimmy’s, is a great bar with a laidback atmosphere. Music is continually playing, but it’s kept to the perfect level of nice background music that allows you to have conversations with people without having to yell or ask them to repeat themselves over and over. The bartenders are fun and friendly, and their drinks are even better, and reasonably priced. The one thing you need to know is that Woodlawn Tap is a cash only bar, so come with cash, and if you don’t, don’t panic because there’s an ATM inside the bar.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
618 E. Daniel St., Champaign, IL 61820
KAM’s is a very popular campus bar, which claims to be the home of the drinking Illini. Anyone 19 and older is welcome, but only those 21 and older can drink. KAM’s has a beer garden, a dance floor, darts and TVs. And on some occasions, MTV celebrities stop by and make appearances. This University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign bar also has various bar specials each week.
604 E. Green St., Champaign, IL 61820
One of the best things about Murphy’s Pub is that there are no cover charges. It is typically more of an older college crowd, who don’t dance despite the jukebox always playing, but everyone does get involved when it comes to drinking, playing pool, throwing darts and socializing with each other. Murphy’s Pub has doubled in size two times since first opening in 1969, and it still continues to draw in crowds of UIUC students looking to come and chill with their friends after class or work whilst drinking a cold one and eating an appetizing dinner.
Whichever of these Illinois universities you attend or are visiting, your campus bar options in that aren’t limited. So grab your roommates and friends and take a cab down to one of these campus bars for a wild night out. And remember — have fun but please drink responsibly.