College Football: The 50 Best College Bars and Hangouts in the Country

Charlie MillsonCorrespondent IFebruary 10, 2011

College Football: The 50 Best College Bars and Hangouts in the Country

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Since the time when gladiators fought in the Roman Empire, crowds who follow their favorite sports heroes have liked to drink it up and argue about which side is the best at their neighborhood bars and taverns.

    That still goes, and no where is that type of argument at its heated best than at the bars and hangouts that cater to college football fans across the United States.

    So, sit back and enjoy this look at the 50 best college bars and hangouts in America.

Bash Riprock's, Lubbock, Texas

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    Bash Riprock's was established in 1986 and is Lubbock's oldest college bar.

    Just a stone's throw from the Texas Tech campus, Bash's features drink specials (including 2¢ pint night on Monday) as well as street parties and exam parties.

    All sports are covered here, as the bar features over 20 HD TVs and a big screen for Tech games.

    Also, games like foosball and pool as well as live music some nights make Bash Riprock's the place to be in Lubbock.

    Find them on Facebook or at

Daniel's Restaurant and Pub, Cincinnati, OH

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    After you watch the Bearcats win, head over to Daniel's.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Daniel's doesn't just cater to the large UC Bearcat community located a block away; locals love it, too.

    Enter on the street level, but there's also a basement. Both feature great grub and decent alcohol prices, although, technically, the bar is downstairs and restaurant up, but you can order food and alcohol in either spot. The house wines are particularly good.

    While Daniel's is decidedly a college bar, it's not a wild sports bar, however, and has maintained a laid-back atmosphere for over three decades.

    Located at 2735 Vine Street in Cincinnati.

Kirkwood Avenue and 10th Street, Bloomington, IN

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    Kirkwood is within walking distance from the campus.

    Kirkwood Avenue and 10th Street in Bloomington both feature classic collegiate hangouts.

    While Bloomington, Indiana conjures images of collegiate hoops, don't forget that the university does have a football team. It plays, or at least fields a team, in the Big Ten.

    Some of the bars within walking distance of the IU campus include Kilroy's, on Kirkwood, and Yogi's on 10th. Both feature a ton of micro-brews and drink specials as well as the usual pub fare.

    Other nearby bars and hangouts on these streets include the Crazy Horse on Kirkwood and nearby Nick's English Hut.

    Bloomington is, like many college towns, small enough you can get around easily by parking near the stadium and hiking to the watering hole.

Beale Street and the Rendezvous, Memphis, TN

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    Arguably the best bbq in a town famous for bbq.

    Memphis is another town in which the college is better known as a basketball school than a football school.

    But when your team plays in Memphis, know that the stadium is nowhere near the campus and that the near-campus dives are really just that—dives.

    No, the place to party and eat in Memphis is downtown.

    That means two things: The Rendezvous for the food and Beale Street for the party.

    In a town famous for barbecue, the Rendezvous is famous. Try a whole rack of lipsmacking and finger- licking ribs. Don't forget to eat in the basement rather than upstairs, 'cause the basement is a whole world unto itself.

    Most waiters at the Rendezvous have been there longer than you've been alive and have waited on the famous and the unknown. They'll share their stories with you for free.

    When you've been filled with the delicious 'cue, head over a couple of blocks to Beale Street, the place where blues began. From every doorway, great live music spills out into the night air like thick clouds of smoke, filling you with history and nostalgia. You could hit a different great club every night for a week and still not see it all.

    On your way to the game, don't forget that Sun Studios, the place where Elvis, Jerry Lee, Roy, and Johnny all go their starts, is just down Union Avenue about half a mile from Beale.

The Cooler, Eugene, OR

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    Sadly, he's crying in his beer after the BCS championship game.

    Located just a couple of blocks west of the Ducks' Autzen Stadium, The Cooler is probably the oldest sports bar in Eugene.

    And it has one thing the other sports bars in town don't have—a 15' TV screen.

    There are almost a dozen other flat screens scattered around the place so you can keep up with what those other teams are doing as well.

    Game-day drink specials and even comfy couches for viewing—the Cooler has it all.

    On the downside, you'll have to get there early on game day because it fills up rather rapidly.

    Find more details here.

Big Al's Sports Bar, Blacksburg, VA

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    We can't figure out when this was taken, 'cause Big Al's is usually packed.

    For Hokie fans, Big Al's beckons like a siren. Located in downtown Blacksburg, Big Al's takes almost as much money from VT undergrads as does the campus bursar.

    Big Al's sums up its purpose by boasting, "We are not a fast food restaurant, so please relax and enjoy your cocktails and company."

    Good advice. 

    The food ain't great—with the exception of the burgers. On the other hand, the drinks are great and cheap.

    And the atmosphere is full-on Hokie.

    You can read more about it here.

The Library Sports Bar, Oxford, MS

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    If you're wearing torn jeans, don't bother. Button downs and loafers here.

    The Library Sports Bar is not for the sports fan looking for a cheap time in Oxford.

    If you're at an Ole Miss game, you should've dressed for the occasion and brought your credit card. Drinks at the Library aren't for the average budget.

    But it's the place to be and to be seen in Oxford on game day. Some of the best live music in the Mississippi Delta (ok, technically, Oxford's not the Delta, but still) can be found there.

    Its sister location is the grill and restaurant just down the street. But if you want to really experience what football in Oxford is all about, this place is the Old South at its best and its snobby worst.

    The old-timers at Ol' Miss lament the passing (burning, actually) of The Gin. They can reminisce over their G&Ts and Bloody Marys at the Library.

Players Pub and Grill, Boise, ID

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    One of the few family sports bars we've found.

    In a town that is not that known for a lively bar scene, Boise, Idaho, still has a quality sports bar.

    Many people will try to tell you that Cheerleaders or Muggsy's in Boise is the place to go, but we like Player's Pub & Grill, and we'll tell you why.

    It's simply a great little sports bar. Sure, it's got the TVs and the games, but the food is great and there's the thing it's attached to.

    That "thing" happens to be a bowling alley.  Right. Next. Door.

    And Players boasts the coldest beer in town. 

    Plus, it's a place you could take the kids if you wanted to (that goes for Boise as well).

    More info on Players.

The Arena Bar and Grill, State College, PA

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    We like the atmosphere here.

    State College's Arena Sports Bar calls itself "the adult playground of State College," and we'd agree.

    Besides the large display screens filled with every sport that's on at the moment, there are even individualized screens you can view. There's also games going on every night such as trivia, poker nights, karaoke,and, often, live bands.

    One of the things the Arena has over other sports bars is the dance floor. Sometimes your team's success mandates that you shake it a bit, and we feel more comfortable doing that on a dance floor than in the streets.

    All that plus some of the cheapest drink pricing around makes the Arena our favorite sports bar for fans of the Nittany Lions and other teams as well.

    You can see more information here.

AJs Sports Bar and Grill, Tallahassee, FL

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    Almost thou persuadest me to become a Seminole fan.

    Want a reason why AJs is the best sports bar in Seminole Country?

    Two words:  Bikini contest.

    Ok, even without that, AJs is one of the best sports bars around. Great FSU college atmosphere, sure, but even better overall sports feeling at AJs. 

    Don't forget to stop by before the FSU game and after as well. Good drink specials, great views of the locals and you can even get a bite to eat (even though this is an experience in and of itself).

    So, stop by for a...for a...uhm...

    Are you still reading this or are you looking at the picture?

Four Corners, Chapel Hill, NC

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    Lots of Carolina blue in here.

    Ok, so here's a sports bar in ACC basketball country that's named after Dean Smith's old four corner offense.

    But with the re-emergence of North Carolina football under head coach Butch Davis, the Tarheel football team will have plenty of supporters at Four Corners on any given Saturday in autumn.

    There's a ton of room here, and, with a recent update, you'll find you want to come back again and again for the good food and the great people watching (including, often, some former UNC basketball and football greats).

    And, being in the heart of Tobacco Road, you can smoke here—including that postgame victory cigar.

Olde Queens Tavern, New Brunswick, NJ

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    Yup, that's real neon.

    As sports bars go, it doesn't get any more authentic than this.

    You'd expect this type of realism from New Jersey. 

    The name Olde Queens Tavern sounds like a geriatric gay bar but is, in reality, one of the oldest sports bars in America.

    And you'll find some of the most beautiful Rutgers coeds at the bar any night of the week.

    "Serving the Rutgers community since 1933, OQT is a longstanding favorite of Rutgers students and alumni." 

    Poker nights every Wednesday; DJs every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. And on Saturdays, football all day and all night.

    It's definitely the place to be if you're in the area.

The Albatross, Berkeley, CA

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    The bird is the word.

    You'd figure that anyone going to a Cal game would have to have a high-end sports pub in which one could imbibe.

    You'd be correct. There are several to choose from, most of them near the campus of UC Berkeley.

    But one stands out as being welcoming to both the student and the older fan alike: The Albatross.

    Is it artsy and cute and Californian? Sure. But it's also fun and intimate and cozy. How many sports bars near campus feature a fireplace and board games?

    Yet, the Albatross pulls it off. Darts, pool, trivia contests and probably the best selection of scotch, bourbon and Irish whiskey this side of the pond.

    And, you can even bring your dog. Gotta love that.

    So, slide in before or after you watch Cal lose another one some Saturday afternoon.

Marshall Street District Area, Syracuse, NY

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    M Street pedestrian area is fan friendly.

    M Street, or Marshall Street, is the area of Syracuse to go to find good sports bars and grub before and after games.

    Located only about a block from campus (and thus near The Quad, the heart of Syracuse), M Street is also the headquarters of tailgaters who will set up in the pedestrian areas around the shops.

    Some of the better dives are Faegan's (around the corner on Crouse) and Chuck's (ditto). Rumor has it that some 50-something former 'Cuse undergrad still hangs out in one of these places—-no job, no home, nothing but reliving the glorious times he had decades ago on his favorite street.

War Eagle Supper Club, Auburn, AL

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    Most of these fans got their drink on at the WESC before the game.

    Picture a worn out old warehouse building, and you begin to get the idea of what the The War Eagle Supper Club looks like.

    Promising "Cold Beer, Hot Rock, No Mercy," The Supper Club has four bars total; two full bars, one beer bar and a shot bar on the infamous shot bus.

    What's a shot bus? Just what it says. You enter the bus and get shots of the most bizarre and off the wall shots in the vast storehouse of your barkeep's imagination.

    And don't come into the joint expecting to cheer for some other team; Auburn stuff from the past hangs on the walls like items in a religious shrine.

    It's the type of place you'll want to go to so you can say you've been, but if you wear anything near crimson, you're askin' for it.

Wayne & Larry's Sports Bar, Lawrence, KS

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    Kansas girls at least start with their clothes on.

    Others may tout some local or newly-minted college bar as better, but for watching the Jayhawks on game day, we like Wayne & Larry's.

    It's not just the fact that they have games like shuffleboard, darts and pool and is attached to a bowling alley. It's not that practically all the TVs can be seen from practically anywhere in the place.

    No, it's that the food, for a sports bar, is particularly good. The service is great and the people are friendly. 

    So, if you find yourself in Lawrence for the game but can't make it to the stadium, go north on Iowa Street from the KU campus and you'll hit Wayne & Larry's. 

Jake's Sports Bar, Huntington, WV

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    The town has worked to revitalize its core, and it shows.

    Jake's, on 4th Avenue in Huntington, isn't a wild and crazy dive. It's just a good sports bar with some longevity to it.

    You'll hear arguments for nearby Rivals or the farther out Skybox bars, but Jake's seems to have loyal supporters because of the overall atmosphere. 

    The bar itself argues that it is not a bar, it's a destination all it's own.

    The claim to this is that there was an old, more seedy, Jake's not far away that had an almost fanatical following. But this new and improved version opened some years ago and kept the loyalty while losing the seediness.

    Close to campus and even within walking distance from the Amtrak station, Jake's Bar is our choice for your pre and postgame hangout in Huntington.

Fat City Bar & Grill, Champaign, IL

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    Fat City's Beer Garden before 10am.

    We like the Firehaus for architecture, sure, but for watching the game in Champaign outside of the stadium, give us Fat City.

    Illini and all Chicago sports teams are lauded at Fat City. There's the obligatory sports memorabilia, but there's also a bar-y atmosphere without the dive-y vibe many college sports bars carry. 

    And you have to admit that few other sports bars provide free shuttles to games. This alone makes Fat City one of our favorite college sports bars.

    Pool, karaoke, shuffleboard, and live music help keep that atmosphere lively here. 

    We also like the all you can eat fried fish special.

Rookies Sports Bar & Grill, Knoxville, TN

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    A sports crazed bar in a sports crazy town.

    When Neyland Stadium fills to over 100,000 on Saturday afternoons in the autumn, Knoxville becomes the fourth-largest city in the state.

    If you can't get in to see the game due to the overflow crowd, head over to Rookies back west on I-40 at Peters Road.

    Despite not being as near the campus as some other bars, the out-of-towners coming in for the game can find a great place here to see all the action of the Vols and any other team playing at the moment. The venue even manages to snare quite a large following of college types, so they must be doing something right.

    Live music and an incredibly active event calendar prove that this is a great place to be.

    And the chicken wings are delicious and incredibly cheap. 

Blue Leprechaun, Ann Arbor, MI

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    Just don't cheer for Notre Dame in here.

    Formerly the Touchdown Cafe, the Blue Leprechaun is a bit of Irish pubbery in the heart of Michigan Wolverine country.

    It's hard to please Michigan fans at almost anything (Just ask Lloyd Carr), let alone sports bars. But the Blue Leprechaun presents a good case for being the go-to place in Ann Arbor on game day.

    The place really sticks with the Irish theme and the menu features corned beef, Irish stew and "Sheppard's pie" as well as an extensive selection of ales and beers.

    All of this is packaged in maize and blue. There is "Bo's Den" upstairs and available for private parties and the End Zone that add to the sports theme.

    The event menu highlights a DJ and the usual cast of drink specials and games.

    And everywhere you look, there's a TV on that has some Michigan team playing something. 

    Good atmosphere, good food, good drink and plentiful football; isn't that what the average fan wants on game day?

The Devil's Advocate, Tempe, AZ

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    Ok, we think the name is pretty clever, too.

    Located in proximity to the ASU campus, we think the Devil's Advocate is a better sports bar than its name is clever. And it's pretty darn clever.

    Yes, we know it's relatively new to the Tempe scene, but it's created quite the stir among Sun Devil worshippers. It helps heaps that the owners are Sun Devil alums, and they've created the type of place they'd've liked as undergrads.

    Another sports bar was on the spot, but it did not have going for it what DA has. 40 (count 'em, 40) HDTVs line the walls. The food is fantastic and almost sinfully good (See what we did there? Sin? Devil? Get it?). The drinks are cheap and tantalizingly good.

     If we had the money, we'd be there right now.

The Linebacker, South Bend, IN

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    "Tradition....Tradition!" There's probably a thesis out there comparing Fiddler on the Roof to Notre Dame football.

    In a place where history and tradition hang thickly in the air, the Linebacker has ranked as one of the storied rituals for Irish football for several decades.

    Instead of a Saturday hangout for Notre Dame fans, the party at the Linebacker begins mid-week during football season and lasts until the wee hours Sunday morning...when the post-mortem begins.

    And it's not really kosher to root, root, root for anyone but the home team here. As the website advises, "We heartily welcome opposing fans to voice their loyalty to their school at least until the game starts." At that point, apparently, some huge guy in a kilt comes out and bashes you over the head with a shillelagh. The place has been around forever, with every celebrity and major Notre Dame personality of the past few years showing up at one time or another.  ESPN did live broadcasts from here, even.

    You don't necessarily go for the food, drink or great TV viewing. As with much of Notre Dame football these days, you go for the tradition. 

Tie Breakers Sports Bar & Grill, Greenville, NC

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    A good sports bar in a strip mall? Yeah, why not?

    ECU is cementing its reputation as a champion in Conference USA and nationally—as a major party school.

    If that is so, why choose a sports bar that's located in a strip mall as the best place to catch a game on Saturday?

    Because Tie Breakers has sports watching covered—literally. Almost every inch of the place is plastered with plasmas showing sports of all sorts.

    That fact, plus some great food and drinks that have locals buzzing and wanting to come there not just for the sports emphasis, makes Tie Breakers the place to be to watch some football in Greenville come September.

    Sundays bring in the crowds as well with wall-to-wall NFL coverage, and several tournaments (including corn hole--look it up) scattered throughout the week mean there's often a line to get in.

    So, come early and enjoy what we think is the best sports bar in Greenville.

Cowbell's Sport Grill, Starkville, MS

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    Yeah, even Starkville has some nightlife.

    Man, do we dislike Starkville, Mississippi. If any town were more aptly named, we have yet to see it.

    However, the home of Mississippi State University can boast of one thing; it has Cowbell's Sport Grill.

    If there's one thing the Bulldog faithful like, it's more Cowbell. And Cowbell's filled a niche that's been missing in this college town; up until it opened, there was not a true sports bar there.

    True, Cowbell's is not in the city limits, but it's close enough. The food is actually the draw here, as these southern farm boys and girls like to strap on the feed bag. But the dozens of flat screens (even in the men's room) that line the place give the Bully fans something to see while dining.

    One thing you should do after the game Saturday; stay overnight for the Cowbell's Sunday Brunch (a southern tradition) that is probably the best meal you'll have in a while.

    Now, let's hope Dan Mullen makes his team as good as the menu at Cowbell's.

Reno's East Side Sports Bar & Grill, East Lansing, MI

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    If the coaches go here, you gotta believe the fans will follow.

    Fifty flat screens!

    That's what draws many to Reno's East Side Sports Bar.

    But when they get there, they find a serious devotion to all things Sparty. For example, the weekly coach's radio show on the local sports talk station originates from here. Which coach's show?

    All of them.

    Besides this, Reno's also is a gathering place for the hard-core diehards of all nearby Detroit pro teams.

    The kitchen boasts using as many locally produced Michigan food stuffs as possible, and that's laudable.

    Reno's also prides itself on having a knowledgeable beer staff and promotes mirco-brewing. 

    The sum of all these parts means Reno's is the go to place in MSU territory.

    (By the way, don't confuse this Reno's with its sister location on the west side of town.)

Lumpy's, Salt Lake City, UT

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    We bet Brigham Young is rolling over in his grave.

    When the Mormon wagon trains first topped the rim of the Salt Lake Valley more than 150 years ago, we can safely bet those pioneers could not imagine that one day such a place as Lumpy's would be in their chosen city.

    Maybe that's what attracts us to Lumpy's (this is about the Highland location, not the downtown one); the thought that such a fun place exists in the heart of LDS territory tweaks our funny bone to the core.

    The place fancies itself as "the ultimate neighborhood sports bar," and it pulls it off. All the requisite ingredients are there—games, good pub food, drinks and good looking people doing crazy things.

    What makes this special for us is that the Lumpy's bunch wears their bawdy behavior on their sleeves like a badge of honor, almost flaunting their fun in front of the Mormon faithful who pass outside.

    Well, at least the faithful can rest in the fact that Lumpy's is smoke-free. Other than that, well, Lumpy's is a whole 'nother world.

    And the sports pour out of their pores. They support all Utah sports teams, "Except that one down South".

    All of this combines to make Lumpy's an oasis of fresh fun in Salt Lake. 

Sports Column Bar, Iowa City, IA

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    You, too, can play a little pitch and catch at the Sports Column.David Purdy/Getty Images

    When the group Steely Dan penned the song Deacon Blues, they might have been describing the goings on at the Sports Column in Iowa City:

    "Sharing the things we know and love with those of my kind—libations, sensations that stagger the mind."

    This downtown sports pub is The local hangout for Iowa Hawkeye fans. Those fans can rejoice (or commiserate, as the case may be) over nicely poured 32-ounce glasses of several domestic and premium beers.

    Gotta love a place that doesn't shortchange you on beer sizes.

    And you may need it, especially on game weekends, when the 600 person capacity overflows and takes you a while to get a refill.

    But that's why you go to a sports bar, isn't it? To join with your fellow fans in rehashing what was or what might have been?

    And, in Iowa City, the Sports Column is that place.

The Swamp Restaurant, Gainesville, FL

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    Are you ready for some partying?

    The Swamp restaurant is almost within the shadow of the stadium of the same nickname.

    And, while technically not a sports bar, you'd be a fool to go anywhere else in town on game day if you wanted to taste (literally and metaphorically) the true flavor of Florida Gator football.

    According to Sports Illustrated, "more than 200 cases of beer, 20 kegs, 15 cases of liquor and 1,500 burgers" get destroyed every Saturday the Gators are in town.

    From the decks of the building, you can see the vast Gator Nation parade by. It's like having a front row seat to the Florida football version of Mardi Gras.

    People either love it for the tradition and atmosphere or hate it for the crowds and pricey drinks, but either way, you should experience it at least once.

The Dixie Chicken, College Station, TX

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    Here's where you can dunk your ring.

    Going to an Aggie game and not stopping by the Dixie Chicken is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower .

    In other words, it's unthinkable. The place is so famous, even George W. Bush mentioned it in his speech when addressing the graduating class at A&M in 2008.

    Besides the best burgers in the world (clients' words, not ours), the rest of the menu, much of it Tex-Mex, is outstanding.

    There is also a tradition that A&M students drink beer after putting their rings in the bottom of the glass. Ask about this when you get there, or you may see some of the Aggies doing it in front of you.

    In any case, all other College Station watering holes pale in comparison to this place.

The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh, PA

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    In the name of the father, son, and the holy spigot.

    Beer and church. Two great institutions that have now been joined by The Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh.

    Serving whosoever will come, the CBW has a large contingent of Pitt and Carnegie-Mellon students among its clientele. And, being a brew pub, it finds a receptive audience for the gospel it preaches.

    The site was a Catholic church, St. John the Baptist, until the diocese deconsecrated it in 1993. It opened as the brew pub in 1996 and hasn't looked back since.

    And the signature ales produced all have church-related themes; names like Pius Monk and Pipe Organ Pale and Celestial Gold mark the menu here.

    Former pews now comprise the wood for the long bar and the altar area is now the largest brew area.

    While technically not a sports bar, the Church Brew Works does find a large number of college football fans amongst its membership on that most sacred of days in autumn, Saturday.

6th Street, Austin, TX

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    When the sun goes down, the Longhorns come out.

    The college, sports, social, artsy and bar scenes in Austin, Texas, all revolve around 6th Street.

    All types of music and art can be found in bistros here that range from the weird to the wild and everything in between.

    And there are sports bars there. Logan's (typical dark wood/brass sports bar, several 60"-plus screens), The District Bar and Grill (more upscale, great brick oven pizzas), and Buffalo Billiards (duh) mean that 6th Street can fill every sports junkie's dream.

    Austin is all Hook 'Em, and the fact that the largest percentage of the population is under 35 means the crowds down there are young and rabid fans of UT.

    It doesn't get much better than this.

The Bulldog, Baton Rouge, LA

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    Wait. Shouldn't this pub be in Athens or Starkville or Fresno?

    Why is our choice for best hangout in Baton Rouge named after the mascot for two other SEC teams?

    Well, we can't account for why the owners named it The Bulldog. What we can account for is that the place is simply one of the best to drink beer in the entire South.

    True, this location is only a sister location of the one in the Garden District in New Orleans, and maybe the fact that there are so many other choices in NOLA that this place seems to be the better one, but still.

    All we know is we like it.

    Where else can you bring your own dog to the bar? You can here, for sure. 

    And you'll not find a more knowledgeable bar staff about their all-consuming passion—Beer.

    Here's the clincher—they have great food to accompany the matchless selection of beer. Don't be surprised, then, if you taste the best bar food in Baton Rouge then wash it down with the largest selection of beers on tap in the state.

    Your local Bengal Tigers will be here in droves on game days, so why not join them for a pint or 12?

Dain's Place, Durham, NC

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    Small, but you deign not go.

    Let's call it the three Ds:  Duke, Durham and Dain's.

    Duke, the university everyone loves to hate, is blessed with a wonderful bar and grill and hangout. It's so good, it gives the anti-Dookies one more reason to hate them.

    Dain's is so good and such a great place to stop that it was featured on Man v. Food not too long ago. What other bar place has pirogies? How about a hamburger that has a large hot dog on it? We don't even want to mention the 80-plus American mircobrews, do we?

    Live music and funky art help to make Dain's Place crowded most nights. You won't be able to hear the game on the flatscreen, but hey, at least it's on and the crowd follows every play.

    Sure, Duke is solidly a basketball town, but David Cutcliffe and his staff are working feverishly to change that. Maybe if they hung out more at Dain's at least they could get their drink on whilst they scheme.

Grub's Bar & Grille, Fayetteville, AR

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    Think food, not white worms.

    Woo, pig! Sooooiee!

    Grub's Bar & Grille fashions itself as having, "Good times, great food, great music..." So let's start with that. 

    Taking the last one first, Grub's features some of the hottest bands in the Fayetteville/northwest Arkansas area and has been doing so for almost a decade.

    Let's talk food. The establishment boasts that it can meet the tastes of everyone from white collar to blue collar and everything in between. It's true. Chili cheese fries are among the South's best. The burgers are big and tasty. They even have wraps for those who insist on being thin.

    Finally, the good times. As the evening wears on, the college crowd kicks in, and Grub's becomes a great place to be in Fayetteville on a weekend in the autumn. 

    Grub's also has a Razorback-themed 1200 square feet Mezzanine room that they rent, cheaply, for private parties. That'll keep the good times going.

Aggieville, Manhattan, KS

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    Aggieville getting its firework on.

    Aggieville is a shopping district that has served the Kansas State community for a hundred years. Now, it is the center of a thriving nightlife for the student body and also for the out of town visitors that come, en masse, to Manhattan for the football season.

    Aggieville is where the home crowd comes in droves and in celebration following wins against K-State's big football rivals. When the Wildcats beat Nebraska in 1998, the first win in almost 30 years over the Cornhuskers, it was to Aggieville that the jubilant crowd dragged the torn-down goals posts.

    Numerous bars, including some great sports spots, line the streets of the area. Some of the better places to meet and greet are Kite's Grille and Bar and the Purple Pig.  Another good sports bar in the area is nearby at Tubby's

    The hub of all the Aggieville activity is the intersection of Moro and 12th. From there you'll have tons of choices, day or night, to fill your every whim.

Dreamland BBQ, Tuscaloosa, AL

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    Note the couple of 'Bama helmets on the wall. And now, Roll Tide!

    A legend came to Tuscaloosa in 1958.

    And so did Bear Bryant.

    Dreamland BBQ first opened for business that year, and it's never looked back. Generations of Tide faithful have venerated this fine eatery over the years, bringing children, grand and great-grand kids back time after time as if it were some sort of religious shrine.

    If you tasted this "Que," you might think you have had a religious experience, that's for sure. That's why the eatery's motto is, "Ain't nothing like 'em nowhere!" Amen to that.

    The infamous, nearly famous, and incredibly famous all meet the rest of us great unknowns at Dreamland. And it's because we have two things in common.

    Great BBQ and Roll Tide.

O'Connells, Norman, OK

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    Irish Sooners? Sure, why not?

    Some hangouts are great because of where they are. Some make the grade because of what they are.

    O'Connell's in Norman, Oklahoma, gets good marks for both. 

    Located right across the street from the Sooners home field, O'Connell's is another in a long tradition of Irish pubs that cater to the American college football fan. And few of those fans are as fanatical about the sport as those who follow the Sooners.

    O'Connell's seems to get this. They are diehard OU fans, and it shows. The original O'Connell's (there's another one opened now, too) has been around for over  40 years, so they must be doing something right to appease the picky Oklahoma fan base.

    The ingredients for the success, are, according to the establishment, include good food, good drinks, plenty of sports available and a large dose of Sooner fans.

    You'll get this mixture and more when you visit.

Barry's Bar & Grill, Lincoln, NE

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    Yeah, we know; it looks like giant White Castle.

    Barry's is an anomaly, it seems. How can they be so, well, pedestrian and yet so popular and successful?

    Beats us. Yet, year after year, Barry's is the place to be if you go to a Husker game. It is also one of the primary facilities for off-campus alumni, fraternity, sorority and student social events. Located just four blocks south of the stadium, it is the after and before-game Mecca for the Nebraska diehards.

    All Barry's does is produce good food in good quantities at a good price. They simply do it right. No frills, no whistles, no tricks.

    And the crowds flow in by the hundreds, filling the inside and outside spaces several times in a football weekend.

    It helps, of course, that major football hotels are nearby, and, by going to Barry's, the football faithful know what they're getting.

    Maybe there's a lesson here for up and coming football hangouts.

Dante's Steak & Grog, Seattle, WA

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    Typical U-Dub crowd at Dante's.

    Sure, we could have gone with some of the dozens of other hangouts in uber trendy Seattle, but for overall experience and non-stop sports action, we chose Dante's.

    Three levels. A middle ages vibe about the decor. Pool tables. Air Hockey. Darts. Peer Bong, er, Beer Pong. 15' (not a typo) HD screens. DJs attracting huge U-Dub coed crowds. Not a huge selection but a good selection of beer. And it's all priced right.

    What's not to like?

    Plus, throw in the Seattle pro team crowds, and you've got a good sports hang out that's extremely close to campus.

    And, since it usually is raining cats and more cats during the Husky football games, plus the fact you can walk there from campus, you can catch all the action at Dante's in cozy comfort and see it close up and with replays, too.

    Besides, we love the name.

North High Street, Columbus, OH

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    The Library is only one of several great places on North High Street.

    Like several other college towns, Columbus, Ohio, has a district that caters to the college crowd. And few places in America have the football tradition and expectations that go along with football at the Ohio State University.

    Welcome to the North High Street area of Columbus. Here, you'll find the types of places you do in other towns like Aggieville in Manhattan, KS, or 6th Street in Austin.

    You can find such sports hangouts as The Little Bar, The Library Bar, and McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon

    You'll be happy and in the thick of the game-day action in any of these or others in the district. If you don't want to see your beloved Buckeyes battle early season foes without the likes of Terrelle Pryor, you can watch those games from the comfort of one of these joints.

    And, since we've not mentioned national chains in this look at college hangouts yet, you should know that the obligatory Buffalo Wild Wings is also located on North High.

The Sink, Boulder, CO

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    Nice view. And the mountains aren't bad, either.

    The Sink is one of those collegiate institutions that has undergone so many changes over decades only to emerge lately restored to near original form to satisfy those nostalgia buffs.

    Or those University of Colorado Buffs (see what we did there?).

    Seriously, this place was established back in the 1920's as a European restaurant that featured a sunken garden—hence, 'The Sink'.

    It later turned into a burger joint and has remained one ever since. Low ceilings, cheap beer, and incredibly drool-inducing burgers that have sustained generations of Boulder students and citizens make The Sink the local hangout place to be when you're in town to watch the Buffs take on their new west coast football rivals.

    Note that, due to the hippie, tree-hugging nature of the campus and environs, The Sink serves grass-fed beef and is careful to serve other natural food products.

    Peace out.

Nowhere Bar, Athens, GA

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    It's a real nowhere bar, sitting in a nowhere land.

    You walk in. The heavy air of stale beer and urine hits your nose. But something makes you not turn away and go someplace else on the strip.

    No, you stay and play pool at ridiculously cheap prices. You drink beer at the same cheap prices, thus adding to the stenches described above.

    Finally, you look up and realize that you've spent hours here and, actually, you had a great time.

    That's basically the experience you'll get at Nowhere Bar in Athens.

    It's funny, because there are nicer, even better places nearby that serve good food and have clean restrooms and produce amazing and sometimes ground breaking music. 

    Yet, you stay at Nowhere and even return again and again. And you're not alone. Others join you, and they join you often.

    It's a mystery.

Jordans Big 10 Pub, Madison, WI

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    You can catch a shuttle to the Big Game from here, too.

    Remember that girl you knew in college who was pretty plain looking but was a fantastic person inside? Well, that's a lot like Jordan's Big 10 Pub.

    Don't let the sketchy exterior fool you. Inside is a swanky sports bar with some of the best food in Madison. The fried fish specials are to die for, and good things have been said about Big 10's chowders.

    In a town that has a ton of great college places, Jordan's Big 10 is an anomaly—it's a well known secret. Students and true bar connoisseurs know about it, but few others do. And nobody's telling about it, much.

    Strange, 'cause the place has been making students happy for over a decade now. And with the great food values and good beer selection, it's a wonder that the place isn't absolutely slammed nightly.

    We feel that's about to change.

    So, get there while you can get a seat.

    But don't tell anybody.

Esso Club, Clemson, SC

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    Is it great because it's a tradition or is it a tradition because it's great?

    At a certain point, you have to ask yourself; are you doing something because it's good or because it's the way you've always done it?

    We could modify this conundrum and apply it to Clemson's Esso Club. Do people go to it on game day when the Tigers are in town because it's a great place to go or do they go because it's something they've always done?

    If you believe many non-Clemsonites, you'll hear that the Esso Club isn't all that. But the average Tiger fan will swear up and down that nothing—nothing—beats the Esso Club.

    Founded on an old Esso gas station, the hangout has indeed become a Clemson game day tradition. Besides, it's so close to the stadium that you can almost hear the team run down the hill.

    Thus, we advise that if you're going to a game in Clemson, go to the Esso Club. Do it because it's what you do on game day when you're in Clemson. 

Campus Bar & Grill, Columbia, MO

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    Good view of the passing parade on 9th Street.

    Spitting distance from Mizzou's campus lies the Campus Bar & Grill. In its previous lives it was Sudsuckers and Big 12, but it's the current incarnation in which the bar has enjoyed its best and latest success.

    The Columbia nightlife can be quite wild, so you need a comfy and cheap place to sit and watch as the parade of humanity drifts along 9th. Where you need to be is on Campus's rooftop patio, a safe distance from the ongoing human car wrecks below you.

    Since you can't look away, you'll be able to stay fairly cheaply and also in close proximity to the good selection of flat screens that will keep you updated on the goings on in the stadiums across the nation.

    You can smoke out there as well, but be sure to bring a jacket if you go in mid-October or later.

The Keg, Evanston, IL

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    We cropped out Harrison Ford.

    The Keg answers the question: Do kids who go to top-tier academic schools need to let off steam in a seedy-ish bar near campus?

    The Keg is exhibit a for answering a decided 'yes' to that question. Yes, the bar is usually filled with Northwestern students looking for a chance to hang out and let loose. And, yes, it's a bit run down and somewhat seedy.

    But back to the first point. Northwesterners turn out in droves for the cheap drinks in huge cups and the active and speeding DJ making them sweat it all out on the huge dance floor.

    If you want to see these kids getting their party on and don't care that you've stumbled upon a set from Blade Runner, then check out the Keg.

The Back Door, Morgantown, WV

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    What happens here, stays here. But it eventually tries to drive and gets arrested. Then Daddy has to bail it out.

    If you're into Jagers, this is your bar. Heck, this is your town. For that matter, this is probably your university and major.

    The Back Door says it set a world record for Jager Bombs a few years back at over 1,700. Yes, you have our attention.

    Wanting to get sloppy, quickly and cheaply, seems the goal of the average Back Door patron. Given the inconsistent nature of the Mountaineer football team lately, we can begin to understand that sentiment.

    And the Back Door obliges, with almost as many drink specials as, well, Jager Bombs served.

    By the way, there's food, too. You gotta have something on your stomach when you heave, right? In fact, on Fridays, there's a hefty buffet you can sink your desensitized palate on.

    Most Back Door clients will be cheering loudly and long for their beloved home team. Just don't ask them who won, 'cause they probably won't know or care after a while. 

Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA

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    Bee Double e Double r-u-n, Beer Run!

    Most places that try to be all things to all people don't pull it off successfully.

    Beer Run in Charlottesville does.

    By morning, it's a coffee bar. By day, a restaurant, and a good one. 

    At night, it becomes mid-scale college hangout. Again, successfully.

    With Charlottesville, you'd expect a little class in the joint (think of some Jersey Shore character saying, "Ooh, Claaasy!" in the nasaly twang), and Beer Run delivers. There's great wine tastings and beer samplings and a good selection.

    Now, having said that, it's still a package shop. One can actually have a beer while shopping! The disconnect is that a place called Beer Run could put out a product that doesn't disappoint the snobby crowd at UVA and still doesn't turn off the NASCAR crowd that comes to purchase that keg for the big race.

    As we said, all things to all people.

    And we can't get that 'Beer Run' song out of our heads. 

George's Restaurant, Waco, TX

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    With Baylor's resurgence in football lately, we needed to include Waco.

    Who knew Baptists could have a good time?

    Apparently, the folks at George's have been hosting Baylor party people for decades. 

    The place is also know for its catering prowess, and it even has a signature drink that requires a (tm) next to the name.

    Unlike many of the hangouts in this list, George's is primarily a restaurant. You go there to get the huge, roof-shingle-sized chicken fried steak with gravy and the bottomless roll basket. You go there to rub elbows with everyone from the Baylor community.

    You go there because it's George's.

    That means alumni as much as or more than students will be at the tables, but it's still the hangout of choice on Baylor game days.

Noshville, Nashville, TN

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    Can we put more mixed metaphors in this photo?

    Can Southerners do a NYC deli-style hangout and do it right?

    Noshville does it.

    Just off the Vandy West End strip, the area Noshville (there are three of them in Nashville) serves up New York style deli delights to smiling, happy, customers all the time. 

    You'd think that, given the fact that Vanderbilt's football team loses scrimmages to local high schools would make them grimace more, but, at the end of the day, they still go to Vanderbilt.

    And those who seek a great deli meal can find it here. The lines can sometimes be long (especially mid-morning on the Sundays after football games), but its worth the wait.

    And it's not only the quality of the food (great), but it's also the range of the deli food available that keeps the Vandy crowd (and other locals) coming back time and time again.

    Like the rabbi in our town in Alabama used to say, "Shalom, Y'all!"

50 Hangouts, No Regrets

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    Pub grub. Can we get that to go?

    It's been wild trying to decide which 50 college football hangouts and bars will get included in this listing.

    Some have been outright dives. Some have been more family oriented. Some have been around forever, while some are newly minted.

    Some cater to students only; others are more geared towards alumni or the community around the college.

    So, you didn't see your favorite spot on this list? Too bad.

    Hey, it's only our opinion.

    Since part of the fun of college football is the debate, we thought we'd include a list of some of the places where these debates happen.

    We didn't rank 'em, but we prefer the ones on this list over your favorite hangout.

    Now tell us we're wrong.