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3 College Junior

Nightlife: Parties usually take place off-campus since Mason has a pretty strict alcohol and drug policy on campus

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Nightlife: We're not a party school. Most parties are off campus.

2 people found this useful Report
College Freshman

Nightlife: I am not old enough to drink and I am not a fan of the club scene.

3 College Sophomore

Nightlife: GMU is what you make it. It's that simple. If you stay in your room you won't meet people and won't know about any parties. If you are social and meet people you will start to know more about parties and there is always something to do. It also depends a lot on your social scene. Don't underestimate the on-campus parties in Dewberry and the HUB, they are worth it most of the time.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 609th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 760th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 761st
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Emily Sharrer
Harrisonburg, Va.
View all previous student authors

The one thing students should know before coming to Mason is that it’s not a party school in the slightest. Students who choose Mason can kiss their dreams of infinite kegs and open house parties goodbye, and say hello to limited-access frat fests, a minimal drinking scene, and not much opportunity for going to bars for students under 21. That being said, nightlife at Mason isn’t a total bust. There are some cool local bars for students 21 and up, and D.C. has unlimited options for students that aren’t of age, like hookah bars, comedy clubs, and nightclubs that are 18 and up on certain nights.

The week after move-in frat bros can be found around the freshmen housing areas picking out the hot freshmen to invite to their parties. The frat rushes do provide safe rides for party attendees from campus, but the problem with the frat houses is that they’re in obscure locations around Fairfax, some even 20 minutes away from campus, which kind of makes them a bust. Not to mention, a lot of people aren’t invited so they're not that cool. Other than frat parties, there aren’t a whole lot of other house parties going on around campus, and invitations to such events depend on who students know. Most students don’t find it so terrible to hang out on campus in the dorms or apartments and drink and hangout with friends.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Adams Morgan
  • Downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Dupont Circle
  • Georgetown
  • Old Town Fairfax
Other Places to Check Out
  • Champps Americana
  • Glory Days Grill
  • Grevey's
  • Hooters
  • Sweetwater Tavern
  • Velocity Five
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer Pong
  • Buzztime
  • F*ck You Pyramid
  • Flip Cup
Useful Resources for Nightlife
The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Closing Time
12 a.m.-2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
The Auld Shebeen,
Brion's Grille,
Hard Times
Organization Parties
The only organizations on campus that throw parties are the fraternities and sororities and their parties tend to be pretty exclusive. There are no highly-publicized off-campus parties for students to attend; who students know determines the kinds of parties they have access to or what they do on weekends.
Did You Know?
  • If students choose not to go out, Mason has on-campus nightlife events like Every Freakin' Friday and Saturday night Mason Rathskeller events that feature live bands or acts like comedians.
  • The Mason Rathskeller also serves beer, perfect for lazy students who prefer to stay on campus and still have a bar experience.

Club ListingsWhat's This?

Ozio Martinit and Cigar Lounge

An upscale smoking lounge in a popular part of D.C., Ozio features four levels and D.J.s playing a variety of different music styles throughout. Ozio is definitely a more relaxed and laidback club for those looking to kick back with a cigar and sip on a drink.

1813 M St. NW

Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

(202) 822-6000


With past popular guests such as Beyonce and The Roots, Love is crowded nearly every weekend and is said to be Washington's most popular nightclub. Inside there are four different floors, with the main dance floor and stage where hip-hop acts perform on Fridays located on the second floor.

1350 Okie St. NE

Washington, D.C.

(20) 636-9030


Ultrabar features four floors for dancing and is a popular student destination next to Love and Fur. It's definitely a more upscale club so students headed into D.C. to do some club hopping should dress the part. The club has hour-long open bars every Friday and Saturday night and free admission for the girls on Fridays for ladies night.

911 F St. NW

Chinatown, Washington, D.C.

(202) 638-4663

Town Danceboutique

Featuring nightly drag shows and two large dance floors, Town is a fun place for students to hang out on the weekends and let loose.

2009 Eighth St. NW

U Street, Washington, D.C.

(202) 234-8696

Club Heaven and Hell

Club Heaven and Hell is a two-story, two-bar hot spot in Adams Morgan complete with flashing lights, a mid-sized dance floor, and tons of different kinds of music depending whether you're upstairs in Heaven or downstairs in Hell.

2327 18th St. NW

Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.

(202) 667-4355


Apex is the longest running gay dance club in the city and hosts over-the-top dance and drag parties to serve the D.C. metropolitan area's gay community.

1415 22nd St. NW

Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

(202) 296-0505


Ibiza is a massive club with seven bars, numerous VIP areas, a rooftop lounge and huge dancing areas.

1222 First St. NE

Washington, D.C.

(888) 424-9232

Fur Nightclub

Fur is a mix between a large dance-oriented nightclub and a small intimate lounge. The club has a large dance floor area, but also accommodates guests who like it a little quieter with intimate lounges and a late-night cafe area.

33 Patterson St. NE

Washington, D.C.

(202) 842-3401

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon

McFadden's is one of the best Irish Pubs in the city, centrally located on Pennsylvania Avenue. The restaurant and saloon features happy hour drink specials Monday through Friday and has a live D.J. Tuesday through Saturday.

2401 Pennsylvania Ave.

Washington, D.C.

(202) 223-2338

Jammin' Java

Featuring a different musical act nightly, Jammin' Java features a wide selection of beers, wines, liquor, and coffee. Though it's about 20 minutes from campus, the venue is a good place to catch some local favorite bands as well as washed-up or smaller-name acts like Aqualung or Crash Test Dummies, to name a few.

227 Maple Ave. E


(703) 255-1566

Patriot's Cafe

Despite the name, Patriots Cafe isn't much of a college bar, however it is close to campus. Wednesday through Saturday night, the dive-bar and restaurant offers up cheap pitchers and drafts for its karaoke nights.

10376 Lee Highway


(703) 352-5898

P.J. Skidoos

Restaurant by day, popular student destination yy night, Skidoos is a homegrown Fairfax favorite, not a chain as many believe. Several times a month the restaurant hosts local acts on a small stage by the bar, and also has outside seating.

9908 Fairfax Blvd.


(703) 591-4515

Hard Times Cafe

Located right down the street from campus, Hard Times has a great atmosphere, with a downstairs and upstairs sections featuring pool tables and a basement bar. The restaurant and bar also has a patio out front and plenty of televisions for catching the big game. During happy hour, Hard Times has $2 domestic beers and $1 off all other drinks.

4069 Chain Bridge Rd.


(703) 267-9590

Brion's Grille

Located across the street from campus in University Mall shopping center, Brion's Grille restaurant and bar's walls are lined with Mason memorabilia. The

10621 Braddock Rd.


(703) 352-7272

The Auld Shebeen

The Auld Shebeen, located in downtown Fairfax, is an authentic Irish Pub and Restaurant. On Fridays and Saturdays, the bar hosts live Irish bands, and every Tuesday they have a trivia night. The Auld Shebeen had been called one of the best Irish pubs in Washington and is a popular weeknight or weekend destination for students since it's so close to campus.

3971 Chain Bridge Rd.


(703) 293-9600

Fat Tuesday's

Fat Tuesday's is a New Orleans style dive bar that features live music nearly every night. Located across the street from the University in University Mall, the bar is a fun college hangout that hosts special party nights for different holidays throughout the year.

10673 Braddock Rd.


(703) 385-5717

Fast Eddie's

With four locations in the Northern Virginia and D.C. area, Fast Eddie's is a typical sports and billiards bar that features live entertainment on Friday nights.

9687 Fairfax Blvd.


(703) 385-7529

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

Lebnan Zaman

Find a friend with a car and head to Vienna to check out Lebnan Zaman, a Lebanese restaurant and hookah bar that provides the perfect Friday outing for the under 21 crowd.

8411 Old Courthouse Rd.


(703) 748-1400

DC Improv Comedy Club and Restaurant

The DC Improv is an 18 and up comedy club located in D.C., that brings in up-and-coming comics, as well as well-established performers like Rob Schneider and Aisha Tyler for nightly entertainment. Since it's located in D.C., it's a fun option centrally located in the city for students under 21.

1140 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

Washington, D.C.

(202) 296-7008

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 137 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 36 responses

  • 39% Mason Day
  • 28% Home coming
  • 14% Blackout
  • 11% There all the same, depends on your scene
  • 6% None
  • 3% Interfaith party

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 120 responses

  • 4% There are no good options.
  • 38% Use a designated driver.
  • 14% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 36% Public transportation.
  • 2% Taxis.
  • 6% Walk.

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 130 responses

  • 19% Parties? What parties?
  • 23% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 42% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 15% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 1% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 32 responses

  • 42% Off campus
  • 33% Fraternity Houses
  • 16% JC
  • 9% Liberty Square
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