Staff Picks: Best State College Bar Specialty Nights
State College bars are all about tradition. Change can be a good thing, but it’s reassuring to know when all else fails, your favorite bar will still be there.
Even more reliable than your favorite bar is your favorite specialty night. Whether you’re a country fan, a live music connoisseur, or a sex expert, there’s bound to be one night in the long State College drinking week that feels like home to you. Maybe you’re just looking for an excuse to drink on a Tuesday, and a theme or special makes you feel justified in that decision. Either way, our staff is no different — here are our favorite themed nights at State College bars:
Saloon Thursdays – Emilie Dormer
If you are 21, there’s no reason to be anywhere but Saloon on a Thursday night. Walking down those steps and into the dark basement feels like home. Their signature drinks, “Monkey Boys,” are usually eight dollars. On Thursdays? They’re only five. There are many flavors covering the taste spectrum, from classic options like root beer to the beloved “Bong Water” flavor. Get there before 9 and you won’t even have to pay the cover that comes with seeing the beloved (to some people, at least) My Hero Zero. Even if you do have to pay cover, it’s only three dollars. If you do the math, that’s — at most — eight dollars (or $14 if you get another and leave your bartender something for the for your whole night out. Getting drunk at any other bars usually costs twice that. My Hero Zero plays a three hour-long set, which means the entire crowd is singing along to Fall Out Boy and Nicki Minaj for three hours. For a show, an incredibly strong drink, and a great Thursday night, there is no reason to be anywhere but Saloon.
Pickle’s Thursdays, aka “College Night” — Sara Civian
I tend to disagree with my fellow OS bar-goer Emilie — the place to be on Thursdays is Bill Pickle’s Tap Room. A little known fact is that it’s actually called College Night, a charming and adorable name (because of course it’s college night). This is probably to offset Country Night, which some of you are probably mad I didn’t pick. Sorry, I can’t stand the mere thought of country music, but I still adore this bar. College Night is far better — with a DJ playing random hits from the 90s to today and a dangerously inexpensive happy hour. I think the randomness of it all is the best part: You don’t know exactly what you’ll hear or who you’ll see, but you can guarantee you won’t be paying a cover or seeing anyone in cowboy boots. You also don’t have to listen to My Hero Zero or go to Indigo all dressed up in a skirt you bought four years ago that you hate.
Gaffeoke Wednesdays — Joe Pickard
It’s midweek, you’re stressed beyond belief from that exam you just took, and you’re just trying to make it to the weekend. What is better than heading out to the Shandygaff and singing classic jams with your fellow Penn Staters? Gaffeoke is by far the best theme night at a Penn State bar. Nothing is better than heading to the Gaff to listen to some classmates sing jams such as “Breaking Free” from High School Musical or some Backstreet Boys. Gaffeoke just makes you want to sing along all night and have a great time with friends. Oh yeah, and did I mention there’s no cover? If you are too nervous to get up and sing have no fear; a Gaff liquor pitcher (or two) is perfect to help you take the edge off and get you up on stage and sing that song you loved back in middle school.
Darkhorse’s Sex Trivia Tuesdays — Mike Reisman
There may not be a better value in State College than Sex Trivia at Darkhorse. As if the fact that you get to play Sex Trivia and win sex toys as prizes isn’t enough (it absolutely is), the game is free, there’s no cover, and there are absolutely insane deals. Trivia starts at 9 p.m., right in the middle of an 8-10 p.m. half price happy hour. But on top of that, all burgers are $3.95 until 10, so you can come hungry, eat dinner, and get drunk. Once happy hour is over, Darkhorse’s (in)famous “Tonto’s” cost just $3 until midnight. The perfect way to spend an easy Tuesday, or a great pregame for one that lasts a little later, Darkhorse Tuesdays are the way to go.
Indigo Thursdays — Steffen Blanco
Indigo Thursdays are always the way to go. The Friday after is often filled with instant regret as you wake up with a pounding headache from one of the many dollar teas your purchased. Once you take a seat in that 8 a.m. and look at the back of your hand, you realize you’re still stamped from the night before. As if that mark wasn’t a reminder of the night of debauchery with your friends, later on in the day you’ll see yourself get tagged in one of many embarrassing photos of you and your friends in a drunken stupor; courtesy of the Indigo photographer — Shoutout to Jonathan!
Still, something about Indigo always draws my friends and me back to it. Even when we’re waiting in line for 45 minutes to an hour and we questions ourselves “Is this worth it?” at the end of it all, all of us know we’re staying until we get in. I don’t know whether it’s the music (Gotta love the DJ yelling over the dance music), the dollar long island iced tea deals, or even just the night club vibes you get from the dimly lit basement. Either way, Indigo Thursdays is a State College staple and one that my friends and I have enjoyed on numerous occasions. When you’re with a bunch of friends and you’re looking to rage and dance, Indigo Thursdays are always the move.
What are your favorite State College bar specialty nights? Let us know in the comments!