Indiana Daily Student

How To Bar Crawl (Among Other Things)


Bloomington’s bouncing bar scene is loud, proud, and sometimes a little overwhelming. On the fateful night you turn 21, you may feel like you’ve got all the time in the world to experience the nightlife. But as senior year winds down, some are scrambling to see the sights before May 9.

We spoke to bar owners and bartenders at a number of popular Bloomington establishments to create a starter checklist of bar crawl must-dos before you jet off into the sunset of adulthood.

The Bluebird—Dave Kubiak, owner

What should students experience at your bar before graduation?

“Come see their favorite band. For sure.”

Signature drink?

“The Dirty Bird. It’s a big, blue surprise. We don’t tell what is in it.”

Tips for those on bar crawls?

“We try to make weekends in April pretty bar crawl friendly by keeping cover fairly low. But we don’t want whistleblowing or anything that will disturb other patrons. Don’t disturb anyone else’s time. Anything destructive toward the bar is generally not a good idea, either.”

Upstairs Pub-- Chloe Kesler, bartender

What should students do at your bar before graduation?

“Drink an AMF, pin their panties on the ceiling, dance with the dancing door guys, make a bullseye on the dartboard, and sign their name in the bathroom.”

Signature drink?

“The AMF.” (Also, we presume, a secret recipe.)

Tips for those on bar crawls?

Tip us!

Brothers Bar and Grill—Jeremy Watson, manager

What should students experience at your bar before graduation?

“Definitely come for a Thursday night and check out our patio. It’s kind of a secret. Nice, quiet, and chill.”

Signature drink?

“We have six different ones—three on Friday and three on Saturday. Some names: The South Beach, Cherry Lemonade, and Swamp Water.”

Tips for those on bar crawls?

“We never complain when a bar crawl comes in. They’re a good time. We only hate it when they do graffiti.”

Nick’s English Hut—Terrance Amos, bartender

What should students experience at your bar before graduation?

“Everybody’s gonna want to play Sink the Biz, a Nick’s tradition. Everybody should also definitely watch a big IU basketball game here.”

Signature drink?

“We got a lot of old fashioned type drinks, a lot of cocktails and martinis.”

Tips for those on bar crawls?

“Here’s some things: Flashing money in our face won’t get us to you any faster. Everybody thinks they are special. A bar crawl, 20 people deep, sometimes expects to be served right away. Respect everybody else at the bar and you will get served just fine.”

The Back Door—Smoove Gardner, co-owner

What should students experience at your bar before graduation?

“They should come see a drag show and come dance their asses off. And have a fabulous cocktail while they’re at it.”

Signature drink?

“We have several, around eight signature drinks. It depends on time of year what we’re serving. The Social Life is pretty popular. The Dark and Horny is good. Tropical Fabulous is fruity.”

Tips for those on bar crawls?

“Don’t order 50 complicated drinks and expect them to be ready in five seconds. Shots are usually good for bar crawls. Don’t come in and order a Mojito or Old Fashioned or something that takes forever. And tip your bartender.”

Want a bar crawl alternative? Try The Video Saloon.

The Vid—Mike Black, manager

What should students do at your bar before they graduate?

“We have plenty of things to do. Play a game of Hoop Shot before you graduate—it costs 25 cents. We have seven pool tables and about seven or eight dart boards with regular steel pit darts.”

Signature drink?

Sweet tarts, all the girls seem to love. Jeremy, bar tender. But guys come up with drinks all the time.

Words for bargoers?

“Don’t whistle, don’t scream, or yell. If you are doing something that interrupts someone’s experience, don’t do that. Tearing up stuff in the restroom or whatever is on the points lists for bar crawls—don’t make your bar crawlers do anything stupid. We’re more of an adult establishment. We get a lot of the people who work in bars because they don’t have to deal with the crap they deal with on a daily basis here.”

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