The best bar at each SEC school

Welcome to the Southeastern Conference where the only thing we know better than football is drinking. From well drink dive bars to four-story bars with full food service, the Southeast has much to offer to students and visitors alike. After traveling around and a little research, I have discovered the single best bar at each SEC college town, so read on to see if your favorite bar made the list.

The University of Georgia- Athens, GA

Ain’t nothin’ finer in the land than a drunk obnoxious Georgia Fan! Trust me, the Junkyard Dawgs live up to their hype as a heavy drinking crowd and No. 1 party school in the nation. Arguably one of the top college towns to spend your four (or five) undergraduate years, Athens has an incredible downtown scene with a seemingly overwhelming amount of bar options.

However, if you are uneducated on where to be around 1 a.m., one could foolishly stumble into a super dud bar like Jerzees or a freshman slopfest like the infamous and way overrated Bourbon St. While there are more than enough bars you can waltz into and have a night of memories or maybe lack thereof, there is one that stands out the most: The Silver Dollar.

Take your drunk self on past Sandbar and City Bar and you will run into this great venue with a wrap-around porch, a decent sized indoor area and a VIP lounge upstairs where you may see the UGA legend Todd Gurley chilling. You’ll mainly see fraternity and sorority people getting smashed in this bar with a steady dose of athletes, and on Thursday through Saturday you’ll see the one in one out policy in full effect.

If you visit Athens in the near future be sure to stop by The Silver Dollar. I can personally assure you, you will not regret it.

 

Auburn University- Auburn, AL

Known for their ability to recycle transfer QBs and make great runs to the National Championship, Auburn University has some great bar choices for any given night. One bar runs away from their competition though and it is unquestionably SkyBar on Magnolia Ave. that takes the cake as the best bar at Auburn, potentially even the best bar in the SEC.

Tough to miss with the line wrapped around the building more often than not, SkyBar is an outlandishly huge bar with multiple levels and easily over 10,000 square feet. $5 will you get in to this bar on weekends but the money is well worth the time you are destined to have in this incredible atmosphere.

Every Wednesday-Saturday they have two bands, typically a country type band towards the front of the bar and then a DJ or Rap band towards the back of the bar on a big stage with a massive dance floor. This bar is rivaled by none in the town of Auburn and is the place to be between 11 pm and 2:30 am.

The University of Arkansas- Fayetteville, AR

The Razorbacks may not necessarily stand out in the sport scene like other top national threats in the conference but woo pig sooie these hogs can still drink at the same levels as their SEC companions. When leaving a pregame or a fraternity party in Fayetteville and the time comes to make a decision on where to head next, you hop in the cab and head towards Dickson Street.

From there it really comes down to three bars to choose from: Lit Lounge, Z330 Bar or West End, because frankly the rest of them suck.

Lit Lounge is a bit too “Lit” and is really only a place to go if you want to bop around and get sweated on by a stranger. West End is a unique venue but not quite popping enough with real party people. Therefore Z330 Bar, also more simply known as Z Bar, is the breadwinner of this trio.

With killer drink specials, a great atmosphere, and a patio surrounding the bar, you truly cannot beat this place in Fayetteville. A classic athlete hang out spot and Greek life frequented, Z’s will be chock full of rowdy college kids all working towards the mission of getting shwasty. Don’t get sweated on by strangers and don’t party with posers, head to Z330 Bar for a big night.

The University of Alabama- Tuscaloosa, AL

These crazed football fans typically have plenty to celebrate throughout the year given Saban’s dominant football success in both the conference and the nation. The strip in Tuscaloosa is the perfect place to celebrate this success or just to party in general. There is always a party going on somewhere in T-Town and the after party without doubt is at Innisfree Irish Pub on University Boulevard.

Opened in 1998 and run as a pub where you can grab a bite to eat during the day, Innisfree finds their real success at night by packing the place to the gills with students looking to have a great time with fun people. Thursday-Saturday the pub will almost always have an awesome live band ranging from popular student bands to crowd pleasing cover bands. Innisfree is quite large with a great patio area to drink with friends on any warm night and every Wednesday night is Trivia Night so grab some smart companions and go win one of their dope prizes.

“The Free” is definitely the place to be on a Friday night before game day so go and get you a PB&J (Pabst Blue Ribbon and Jameson shot) for $6 or one of their Irish Car Bombs. If you are in the City of Champions for a night and you decide not to visit Innisfree Irish Pub, you are making a shameful mistake.

The University of Kentucky- Lexington, KY

The land of bourbon drinkers and John Calipari’s dominant basketball team, this college town has many places to choose from to go get liquored up on any night of the week. You can go to distilleries to tour and try out all kinds of bourbon or hit up the bar scene to grab a beer, typical spirits… or more bourbon.

Known as a classier group of drinkers when compared to other members of the SEC, these guys can still get turnt on a big night, especially when Calipari’s Wildcats take to the gym floor. The post-game celebrations should be geared towards one bar specifically however, and that is The World Famous Two Keys Tavern.

Two Keys is known for having the cheapest drink specials in town offered at a massive establishment with over 20 HDTVs and one jumbo screen.

Open from 11 am to 2:30 am this place never asks for a cover and has Goodfellas pizza to fill your drunk and hungry self. If you aren’t enticed yet, let me pitch you just a few of their drink specials. Bad case of Mondays? Relieve yourself with $1 wells or pints. Sunday Funday time is better known as “Shit Can Sundays” at Two Keys, and you can get a “Shit Can” — which is a select domestic beer — for just $1.

My personal favorite special is punch out Thursdays, which means $10 all you can drink, all night. On Tuesdays not only do they have $2 pints and wells, but they have goldfish races. What is a goldfish race? Well you pick out a goldfish, enter a March Madness type bracket, and use a water gun to pressure your goldfish to the finish line to win a prize. Even Scottie Pippen visited the bar to race a goldfish one time.

While the state of Kentucky has many drinking establishments to offer, no bar comes close to beating The World Famous Two Keys Tavern.

The University of Florida- Gainesville, FL

These jort wearing swampers are buck wild and know how to tear it up downtown year round. The night life here is constantly buzzing and you don’t have to go far to find a fun time. Without further ado I’ll cut to the chase and reveal the top bar: 101 Cantina. This tropical feeling place will have you feeling like you are in the Keys rather than the Gainesville swamp.

With great Mexican themed parties and events, this venue is within walking distance from many college housing areas and just blocks from the stadium making it an easy access hot spot for college students and fans alike. They have unreal margaritas that will no doubt put you on your butt and other tropical drinks to choose from.

If you ever head to “The Swamp” to watch a game, 101 Cantina should be your next stop.

Louisiana State University- Baton Rouge, LA

This SEC school epitomizes your ideal party school. These Bayou Bengals know how to throw down and if you ever get a chance to venture to this town you are sure to have a great time. Whether it’s the proximity to The Big Easy or simply the blood in these Fighting Tiger veins, they can out drink and out party most of the SEC.

When you decide to venture downtown with the rest of the rowdy Cajuns, there is truly one outstanding spot to be on any given day of the week, and that is Bogie’s Bar on Boyd Drive. With premium deals for downtown venturing college kids and a killer atmosphere, Bogie’s is the perfect place to get plastered with your closest friends. Good looking girls are usually all over the dance floor with some of the more outgoing ones showing themselves off on stage for the whole bar to see.

If you need a break head out to the spacious patio for a breather, or you can suck it up and keep on raging like a Cajun on the inside.

Be prepared for a little wait in line due to the popularity of the place and for a small cover charge on the weekends, but keep in mind all the while that the wait and small fee is absolutely worth the kickass time you are bound to have. So if you do make the call to go downtown in Baton Rouge, prepare yourself and your liver, and then head to Bogie’s Bar; the best bar at LSU.

Mississippi State University- Starkville, MS

The Mississippi State Bulldogs were often overlooked as a relevant team in the SEC until this year when the dark horse football team made themselves a force to be reckoned with under Dak Prescott’s leadership. Starkville is now trending towards the name “StarkVegas” which took like wildfire last football season and creates a sort of atmosphere where you would almost imagine parties and drinking happening everywhere in the small college town.

Bar wise you may be wondering where you could find all this hype of the so called “StarkVegas”, well I’m here to tell you that Bin 612 is without doubt the hot spot to get faced in this town.

Just off MSU’s campus on University Drive, you will see a three-story tall blue building and at the bottom sits the small dive bar Bin 612. This bar is always packed to the brim on weekends and has a great patio area that is also fully loaded with people when warm weather is around. Here is what sets this bar even further apart from its competition though: the late night cheese fries.

Starting around 12, the line will begin to circle the entire block in anticipation for this delicious drunk delicacy and everyone that gets the sought after late night snack will tell you the wait is 100 percent worth the product. If you ever find yourself in “StarkVegas” be sure to check out Bin 612 to understand the hype.

University of Mississippi- Oxford, MS

Hotty Toddy gosh almighty, who the hell are we? A huge party school in the south filled with rich tradition and great bar venues, Ole Miss is a town you simply have to visit to understand the true greatness of its location, essence and atmosphere. There is no place just like it. If you are an outsider to the town, however, things can be a bit tricky when you head downtown thanks to the cover charges and the ABC Officers.

First off, if you are under 21 and thinking about going out with you crappy fake ID, think again. If you are lucky enough to get past the doorman, your ass will probably get busted by the ABC, aka the fun killers, making the whole effort probably not worth it. Second, $30 to $40 cover charges are not uncommon for bars in “The Square” on weekends which complicates bar hopping.

If you are 21+ and aren’t blessed with daddy’s credit card to spend at will you must make the right decision on where to go and plan on hanging there all night to avoid getting tapped out on absurd cover charges. Do yourself a favor and head on over to The Library Sports Bar, because it is the best bar in Oxford hands down. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone that has recently attended the University of Mississippi.

From Greek life students to all-star Rebel athletes, you are bound to run into popular characters in this bar on big nights.

Due to the popularity and the seller’s market in “The Square,” there are no phenomenal drink specials worth mentioning but their prices typically match up with the surrounding bars. The venue is huge with multiple rooms including their Boom Boom Room, Sports Bar and Patio Room. If you visit The Library, be sure to order their popular crack pipe shots –vodka blue curacao and triple sec dropped into a red bull.

Come closing time you will hear everyone sing along to “From Dixie with Love” followed by the hotty toddy rebel chant to end the great night you just had. The Library reigns supreme in Oxford nightlife and if you find yourself in “The Square” don’t penny pinch, just pay the cover and enjoy yourself.

University of Missouri- Columbia, MO

A recent inductee to the Southeastern Conference and considered the Yankees of the conference, Mizzou’s bar scene isn’t as competitive as other members in the SEC. That being said, there is one bright spot in the bar deficient town of Columbia and it goes by the name of Harpo’s Bar and Grill. As far as I am concerned, it’s THE bar in town.

The CoMo lifestyle of crazy night clubs is a myth. The other establishments are dumps just trying to keep up with Harpo’s. Open since 1971 this bar has adjusted with the times and maintained great business throughout the years. Upon entering, you will find yourself in a traditional pub style setting but if you walk around you may stagger into the Atrium Bar which has 20 foot ceilings and a huge media wall perfect for all your sport watching needs.

Through a different entrance, you can find a speakeasy type bar they named 10 Below Icebar. Adjacent to the Icebar is the 10 Below Night Club which can satisfy all your late night DJ needs.

Lastly, on top of the bar you can find the huge porch they call Skyy Bar overlooking a beautiful outdoor setting in downtown Columbia as well as the University. Their drink specials are also unique and very fair to your wallet. Monday Night is flip night — a quarter is flipped, call heads or tails and if you guess right you get a free pitcher. The best deal is on Saturday, where for just $1 you get a double well drink from 9 pm-12 pm.

No need to look around for other places to drink because Harpo’s is the spot at M-I-Z-Z-O-U.

University of South Carolina- Columbia, SC

The Gamecocks bar scene has a lot to offer and is spread all around Columbia similar to their spread out University and off campus football stadium. With two main drinking vicinities, the vista and 5 points, the options are almost endless for those looking to get tore up on any given night. This being said, if you are going to choose between those two areas, definitely head for Five Points because you are sure to have better options there.

Upon arriving in Five Points you will most likely see lines everywhere on the weekend.

People pile up to go to Jake’s, but the tight alleyway, poor music, bad bartenders and cluster in the bar make it unbearable. People may also argue that Pinch or Salty Nut are the spots to be, but they too are wrong.

Knowledgeable and experienced Five Points visitors know Pavlov’s Bar finishes first in the USC bar race. Monday Night Pav’s is dank because you get $1 liquor drinks and every other night you can mostly likely get the cheapest drinks here. Pavlov’s is also quite spacious with plenty of room to dance and has a great porch outside where you can see everyone waiting patiently, or sometimes impatiently, in line to join the fun.

Hit up Pav’s, the best bar at USC, for a good time anytime.

University of Tennessee- Knoxville, TN

Home of one of the biggest football stadiums in the NCAA, Knoxville doesn’t do anything small scale. This is comparable to their reputable bar scene which has plenty to offer to an aspiring college party fiend. From year to year bars close, reopen, or change names in this town so it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing scene. There is also the dilemma of the “Old City” which is about 5 minutes off campus with some popular bars including Hanna’s, which some would call the best bar in Knoxville.

Sadly, I have to inform you Hanna’s is overrated. The bar has a middle school dance vibe to it that simply isn’t fun. Everyone is standing around the wall with loud music blaring and the only way you may go dance (probably by yourself) is if you instantly down about 8 of their nasty “Walk me down” drinks.

So skip the Old City and head to Cumberland Ave. to find the best bar at UT known as Goal Post Tavern.

This wide open bar has plenty of room both inside and outdoor on their patio to have a great time with your best friends and Goal Post offers very fair drink prices. The crowd here wants to get wild and make college memories that will last forever. Their signature “Big Gulp” is a giant beer that’ll get your night going right and their estranged monkey bombs will get the wheels spinning towards a crazy time.

No need to venture out to the Old City when the best bar is right by campus. Kick your night upright and hit up Goal Post Tavern.

Texas A & M University- College Station, TX

Johnny Manziel’s ole stomping grounds definitely boasts a great party scene. If you didn’t know that, you probably don’t pay attention to the news at all. Between being caught with rolled up $100 bills and throwing up the middle finger in different bars, Johnny Football gave the world a glimpse into the bar scene The Station has to offer. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and while the Aggies may not host the biggest or best bar scene overall in the SEC, The Station is definitely still up there on the list.

Many people claim Chimy’s is the place to be but they are mistaken. While it may be a solid spot for a marg, this chain restaurant turned bar at night surely isn’t the best spot in town to get drinks with your partners in crime. Others may say Hookah Station, but if your idea of the best bar in town has you in a cramped space where flavored smoke is being blown in your face all night, rethink what you consider a great night.

The real bar you should dedicate your time to is none other than The Backyard on University Dr. Not only can you get great hand crafted drinks at this locale, but you can also keep yourself occupied with ping pong, giant beer pong, washers, cornhole, darts and pool.

Their awesome outdoor porch has a big bar and swinging chairs that are perfect for spring and fall. The Backyard has two great themed nights “Texas Tuesdays” where you can get 4 different specialty Texas drinks for $3.50 and “Turtle Race Thursdays.” You have to be lamer than Smalls from The Sandlot to have a bad time here, so go get hammered at The Backyard.

Vanderbilt University- Nashville, TN

Home of the brainy bunch, who were lucky and smart enough to get in to this 13.1 percent acceptance rate university, Vandy kids have one of the world-renown best downtown scenes at their disposal. The country music capital of the world will have your head spinning with incredible venues to choose from with live music being performed somewhere every single night.

Having visited Smashville a multitude of times, I have honestly yet to find a bar that I didn’t like.

The best bar was very difficult to decide on but in the end I had to go with Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar and Grill. This outstanding honky tonk joint has great performers daily and great service. The view of the balcony bar is a great overlook of Broadway and Nashville in general. Lonnie’s was a close second, but I just can’t validate a Karaoke bar being the top dog in this competition.

Don’t skip by Rippy’s next time you visit Nashvegas.

Food for Thought From a 5 Year Old
Food for Thought From a 5 Year Old