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Bar Wars: Pickle’s vs. Inferno

It’s bar tour season! You know what that means: you need to pick that perfect list of bars for the big day! But there are SO MANY BARS here. How will you ever choose? Onward State decided to deliver our two cents with a series of posts entitled “Bar Wars” where we go to several bars downtown and rank them head-to-head to give you a feel for what bars will fit your bar tour needs. Take our reviews at your own risk — and remember to always stay away from “that stupid drink!”

This week’s showdown is against two of the classier bars State College has to offer: Bill Pickle’s Tap Room vs. Inferno. Both are a bit more upscale, as well as having an option to get some fresh air on your drinking adventure! This week is a tough battle; both bars are some of Ally, Shawn, and my (side note: the three of us will be rating and writing the remainder of the Bar Wars series) personal favorites…but you came here to see a winner, so let’s get down to it.

Pickle’s

Though you cannot physically sit outside at Pickle’s, they do remove the windows to let in some fresh air, which is perfect for the spring time. The staff is friendly and the service is pretty good, though I did have a waiter lose my credit card once and only half take the blame (“If it was my fault, which I’m sure it was, I am sorry…you can check back tomorrow!” — canceled that baby immediately after I left.)

Now, if you are interested in liquor, their drinks are a bit pricier. I would recommend going for happy hour (10-midnight) when the drinks are half off. Order yourself a moonshine, you won’t regret it!

This is a tap room, right? Don’t be fooled by the draft selection. Though their drafts are limited and pretty standard, they have a great selection of bottled beer carrying our personal favorite, Otto’s Apricot Wheat. They also have a different beer special every day which is ALL DAY compared to the liquor specials which are only during happy hour.

We’ve been to Pickle’s when they have played 90s music, and we’ve been to Pickle’s for country night. The music always provides an extra little element to this tap room.

MEL’S BONUS INFO: Order the fried pickles! Not many places have this appetizer in town. And come on, the place is called Pickle’s…you can’t NOT get them.

ALLY’S BONUS INFO: If you’re planning on heading out for Country Night, make sure to catch it on the early side. Country Night is one of the two big events in downtown State College on Tuesdays, and Pennsylvania people love their country music. However, this bar was not made for a large crowd. Unless you like standing in one spot and being rubbed up against from all angles in 90 degree temperatures, have your fun before 10.

SHAWN’S BONUS INFO:  I for one really really really dislike country music. The first country night I attended, I stuck out like a sore thumb by not singing along to whatever song the DJ was playing. At least I wore a flannel shirt, that I bought at Urban Outfitters. It’s a good place to grab a pitcher of beer with good friends but you would have to get there early, like most bars, to claim a table our you’ll be awkwardly standing too close for comfort to avoid being pinned into the pillars that also serve as counter tops.

Service: 4/5
Music: 4/5
Environment: 4/5
Drinks: 4/5
Fun: 4/5

Inferno

Inferno has some outdoor seating that is hard to come by because of the small patio it offers; however, if you are lucky enough to snag the outdoor seating…you are going to LOVE your time at this bar.

Inferno has a really modern appeal to it. The lighting creates a sexy mood, the servers are always on top of their game, and the Sin drinks help emphasize the Inferno theme.

Oh, don’t know about the Sin drinks? Don’t you worry! Ally and I did the duty of trying every single sin drink at our visit to Inferno to make sure you choose the best-tasting sin according to our sophisticated drinking palates. Envy, Lust, and Tease (all which have orange juice as the main mixer) were our favorite sins. For whatever reason, we were drawn to these instead of the Sierra Mist based sins. Our least favorite, which we had to force ourselves to finish (come on, we’re not wasting alcohol here), was Passion. Something about the black raspberry in that drink did not go well for us.

But you don’t want the $4 sin drinks? Okay, fine. They have plenty of other cocktails, as well as a pretty impressive beer selection (who are we kidding…if they have Apricot Wheat, we’re satisfied). They do, however, have a great craft beer selection, as well as an extensive [for State College bars] wine list. Their happy hour is from 9-11pm and it is half off of everything!

The only downfall is that whatever CD they were playing last time we were there, it was on repeat. WE CAN ONLY LISTEN TO “WE ARE YOUNG” SO MANY TIMES BEFORE WANTING TO RIP OUR EARS OFF.

MEL’S BONUS INFO: The Inferno bathrooms are my personal favorite bathrooms in State College. Check ‘em out and you will understand my need to always go to the bathroom in Inferno.

ALLY’S BONUS INFO: If I had anything to do with it, all of my bar tours would stop at Inferno around dinner time. The individual pizzas blow any other bar foods out of the water.

SHAWN’S BONUS INFO:  I have too many stories of intoxicated people in this classy bar attempting to be classy in the hopes that they would have better luck in this environment than they would at Indigo. As good as the drinks are, unless I’m taking advantage of the outside patio, I would prefer to get larger stronger drinks elsewhere.

Service: 4/5
Music: 3/5
Environment: 5/5
Drinks: 4/5
Fun: 4/5
Well, I’m not sure we actually have a winner here. If you are a fan of fun. and a sexy environment, go to Inferno. If you dig a brighter, beer-drinking atmosphere, then head over to Pickle’s! As for us…we’ll be hitting up both on our bar tour.

About the Author

Melanie Versaw

Melanie is a senior majoring in both Marketing and Advertising. She enjoys blowing bubbles, beating boys in Mario Kart, and going to concerts. Oh, and she takes photographs, as well.

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