How To Throw Your Own (Virtual) Twenty Phyrst Birthday At Home

One of the many events students are missing out on this semester is the Penn State rite of passage of optimistically entering the Phyrst basement at the strike of midnight on their 21st birthdays and being politely asked to leave at some point during the next two hours.

However, as we’ve already seen with classes, Blue-White, and Champs happy hours, while social distancing can prevent you from doing certain things in person, nothing’s stopping you from recreating them virtually.

There will be a time when we all be reunited in the Phyrst singing “Devil Went Down To Georgia” with Lowjack. But for those reaching the long-awaited milestone of being allowed to drink legally during these uncertain times, Zoom will need to mark the occasion for now.

We’ve spent a bit of time thinking of the best ways to bring the Phyrst’s gloriously sticky floors and musty smell to your own home. We hope they lead to a night ending as any 21st rightfully should: with a garbage can, Gatorade, and half-eaten cheesesteak bedside.

Zoom Pregame

Every 21st birthday is the result of a long night of fun in preparation for the big event, so don’t wait until midnight to get started. Make the obligatory Facebook event as you would pre-pandemic, awkwardly invite folks from all different friend circles, and gather everyone on Zoom hours before you venture out into the Wild, Wild West Beaver. Fortunately, you won’t need to worry about being iced at this pregame…unless your parents are absolute savages.

And an aside: As someone who was the last of his friends to turn 21, I would advise not making your underager friends get off at midnight and instead include them in your night of virtual vices.

Go Through The Motions Of Legally Entering A Bar For The First Time In Your Life

Once you finish your pregame on Zoom and your friends begin cheering “Let’s go to the Phyrst,” walk with your laptop down the steps to your basement (or any steps in your house, for that matter) and present your ID to the toughest looking person in your family. Instruct them to inspect and bend it every which way to ensure that it’s real before they roughly plop a Twenty-Phyrst hat (see below) on your head and take a blurry picture of you.

Make Your Own Twenty-Phyrst Hat

The first time you go to the real Phyrst, the bouncer (not your tough-looking family member) will go through the formality of giving you a real hat and taking your picture to post on the wall alongside the many other newly-minted 21-year-olds who have come before you. But for now, print out the graphic below and tape it onto whatever hat you have in your house. Bonus points for authenticity if you happen to have a green derby hat laying around somewhere.

Also, take a picture of yourself wearing the hat and email it to [email protected]. We’ll add your pictures to our own collage on this post once we have enough submissions.

Have A Great Background

You want your birthday to look realistic, right? Consider recreating some of the most iconic parts of the Phyrst at home, from the sign outside to Table 69 to Band Camp to the bar itself.

We also have some shots of the Phyrst pre-renovations if you want more of an OG look that your Penn State Dad would probably recognize. Share the backgrounds below with your friends to make your entire Zoom birthday bash look as authentic as possible.

Steffen Blanco | Onward State
via The Phyrst
via The Phyrst

Bump A Cool As Feck Playlist

As you’ll soon learn, one of the defining traits of the Phyrst is the music. The bar is known for its weeklong slate of live bands that make it a really fun place to be, and your of-age friends would be lying if they said the band playing that night didn’t influence their decision to go to one of the many 21sts they’ve been invited to for distant friends.

Because of this, making your birthday sound like that iconic basement is essential.

You could always try to Zoom in Southpaw, the Corner Brothers, or Burn Unit — I’m sure they’d be willing to join — but if not, these playlists are sure to bring the Phyrst’s vibes to your makeshift celebration:

Make Your Own Blowjob Shot

As former Onward State managing editor Zach Berger wrote in a monologue about the Phyrst back in 2014, “the blowjob shot isn’t original to the Phyrst, but it has become another birthday staple at the bar,” and there’s no reason you can’t partake from home. For the uninitiated, Berger provided an eloquently detailed explanation of the blowjob shot as a “shot that involves licking whipped cream in the shape of a penis off of a glass and then taking a shot without using your hands.”

The shot is fairly simple to make. Just mix Kahlua and Irish cream in a shot glass, place it on top of plastic cup covered in whipped cream, and, uh, figure it out from there.

Make Other Iconic Phyrst Drinks

In addition to pints of Guinness and pitchers of Yuengling, here are what we believe to be the recipes for a few cocktails you can concoct to make the experience all the more realistic.

Irish Car Bomb

  • 1/2 oz. Irish cream
  • 1/2 oz. whiskey
  • 1 pint of Guinness

Drop the shot of Irish cream and whiskey into a pint of the Black Stuff and chug like it’s State Patty’s and “Shippin’ Up To Boston” is playing on loop.

Irish Trashcan

  • ½ oz. gin
  • ½ oz. vodka
  • ½ oz. light rum
  • ½ oz. peach schnapps
  • ½ oz. blue curacao
  • ½ oz. triple sec
  • 8 oz. Red Bull


  • 1 oz. grapefruit vodka
  • 1 oz. Sourz
  • Sprite

Kansas City Ice Water

  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • Sprite

Have Some Fries

Don’t expect fries from the freezer to compare to the real thing, but remember it’s all about the experience of trying to soak up the many different drinks you just consumed with a platter of salted and fried starch. So put in for a bag of Ore-Ida on your next Instacart order.

Find A Cowbell

Let’s pretend your time at the bar is nearing its end as the bouncers dutifully watch every person wearing the distinguishing green hat. You’re running out of time to check all the boxes of your Twenty Phyrst to-do list as they wait for you to do something warranting being kicked out, so…you draw as much attention to yourself and start banging the cowbell.

If you have a cowbell somewhere at home, even if it’s not as big as the real thing, start jamming on it. Maybe you try to keep up with what the band’s playing or lead a P-S-U chant.

Just try to sneak it in before the bouncer your mom says it’s time for you to leave go to bed.

Goodnight sweet prince(ss).

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected]. All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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