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Downtown State College Bar Bracket, Pt. 6: Championship Friday

The Phyrst versus Cafe 210 West. It was always going to be these two, wasn’t it?

The former’s line stretching down Beaver Avenue, past Rita’s and into Humes Alley during a Thursday happy hour, and the latter’s queue on College during the warmer days of 55 Days alone could prove each’s mettle. Your credit card statement showing an unsightly sum of money spent on Irish Car Bombs and Bacardi pitchers during a rather fuzzy weekday night would do the same.

Always anecdotally known as two of State College’s favorite bars, we now have the numbers to prove it. Both bars have their staunch supporters, as well as some vocal opposition, and were also two of the top vote-getters in our original seeding. Whether you prefer to walk down the stairs into a vibrant, dark sea of alcohol and live music, or take a few small steps past the iron gates to plop yourself down under an umbrella to enjoy beautiful weather, pitchers, and people-watching, this matchup is undeniably a clash of the titans.

How They Got Here (Winning percentages noted):

Phyrst vs. Corner Room: 81.3 percent
Phyrst vs. Kildare’s: 62.6 percent
Phyrst vs. Mad Mex: 67 percent
Phyrst vs. Shandygaff: 64 percent

Cafe vs. Westside Stadium/Rumors: 94.1 percent
Cafe vs. Chrome: 68.8 percent
Cafe vs. Darkhorse: 71 percent
Cafe vs. Skeller: 62 percent

Both of our finalists had solid victories in the Final Four, beating out two wildly popular, historic State College drinking establishments. The battle of bars with notorious lines ended with the Gaff eliminated from contention, while the faceoff between the more laid-back of the Final Four saw State College’s oldest bar in the Skeller go home empty-handed.

For the first time in this bracket, the Phyrst received a greater percentage of the vote in its matchup than did Cafe. However, the percentages were close enough that saying the Phyrst has momentum would be a bit of an exaggeration. In fact, Cafe has received 6,312 total votes in this tournament to the Phyrst’s 5,907 throughout the tournament, respectively 51.66 percent and 48.34 percent of total votes cast for the two. A large portion of that margin may, on the surface, seem as though it came in the first round. Cafe had a far easier opening matchup against the play-in winner than the Phyrst had against community staple The Corner Room, and garnered 12.8 percent more votes on its way to victory. However, discounting the opening round, Cafe’s lead only shrinks .27 percent, so the number is not necessarily as inflated as it may seem. Both have relatively similar strength of schedule values, to boot. This is shaping up to be an incredibly tight matchup, and one that is certainly too close to predict at the moment.


Many patrons are fervent believers in the objective quality of one of these bars over the other. For those people, this vote is a mere formality. However, this may be a tough choice for many participants who are less steadfast. If you’re an undecided voter, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself to help make up your mind: Are you a fan of dive-style bars and trash cans, or do you prefer a patio with a pitcher of tea? Would you rather be greeted by the music of Ted McCloskey or Jason O as you enter the door on a Friday night? Do you prefer your waitstaff in green t-shirts or black polos? Do you want the noise level kept to a dull roar, or is loud and proud the mantra of your ideal bar? Table Wars or Cafeoke? Green and white, or black and yellow? By answering these questions, you’ll know where your heart and vote lie.

Once and for all, we’re deciding State College’s favorite bar. Enough words have been written about both of these competitors to fill the pages of a book, and now it’s time to talk with your final vote. Get to it, and make sure to get out the vote for your favorite.

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About the Author

Noel Purcell

Noel Purcell is Onward State's Features Editor. He's a senior Supply Chain major, but is going to law school at some point in the future and masquerades as a writer for now. He continues to disappoint his ancestors by being a complete Irish stereotype. His email is [email protected] because there were no other Noels before him. His ex-wife got the good half of his bio in the divorce settlement.

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