Nightlife

Location
Normal, IL
Undergrads
17,140
Tuition (in-state)
$20,016 ($12,726)
Admission Difficulty
Easy
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Reviews

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4 College Junior

Nightlife: There is a lot to do. Lots of bars and free public transportation for students.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: There's always something to do. Don't have to look far.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: Where ever you are you can always find a party going on at, or around campus

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: Good times downtown and people with houses have a lot of parties.

3 College Freshman

Nightlife: Its fun but at the same time you need to know the right people in order to know the good places that are going on, meeting people on your floor is always a good way to start!

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 49th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 62nd
    Best Drink Prices
  • 1324th
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Elizabeth Nelligan
Hometown
Lake Zurich, IL
Major
Journalism
View all previous student authors

Great nightlife is very important to ISU students, and Bloomington-Normal offers just that. There are a number of bars around the Bloomington-Normal area for upperclassmen to enjoy, starting every Wednesday night and on through to the weekend. The Pub II, a bar located in Uptown Normal, has specials each Wednesday and lines to enter out the door. The weekend starts on Thursday for most other students, with fraternity parties and bar specials at places like Daddios and Six Strings country bar. Most fraternities are welcoming to underclassmen and have parties every weekend. There are also a number of house parties or apartment parties that occupy much of campus. Students are bound to find a party to go to while walking down streets such as Willow, Fell, and Cherry. There is a large block party every May on Cherry Street called May Day in which a lot of students partake.

Those over the age of 21 will most likely be found at the bars in Downtown Bloomington. While the main strip of bars is located on Main Street, there are also many bars around Bloomington that fit students' interests. For example, Daddios has live bands each weekend; plus, there are themed bars like the Bistro (local gay bar) and Elroy’s (a popular sports bar), just to name a few. Since downtown Bloomington is an eight-minute drive from the ISU campus, most students take a party bus downtown, which costs $3 each way. This is an easy way to ensure that no one will drink and drive or need to have a designated driver. Uptown Normal is home to several bars, including a sports bar and an Irish pub. Bars close at 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and are open until 2 a.m. on the weekends.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Downtown Bloomington
  • Uptown Normal
Other Places to Check Out
  • Brewe-Ha's
  • Firehouse Pizza & Pub
  • Illinois Brewing Company
  • Killarney's Irish Pub
  • Lunkers Bar & Grill
  • Maguire's Pub
  • Medici in Normal
  • Mugsy's
  • Prime Time Pizza
Local Specialties
  • Long Island iced tea from Mulligans: This drink is sold in a mason jar. After one jar, you are done for the rest of the night. Most students go to Mulligans as their first stop of the night to get a Long Island. Most people who drink it never drink it again because it reminds them of a night that ended near the toilet bowl.
  • The Red Bird: This is a specialty at the Pub II in Uptown Normal, but you have to ask the bartenders for it.
  • Vegas Bomb: This is a staple at ISU, and practically every bar on campus serves it in mass quantities. Most people enjoy the easy recipe of Crown Royal whiskey and Red Bull.
Favorite Drinking Games
  • 3x4
  • Beer pong
  • Card games
  • Flippy cup or canoe
  • Power hour
  • Quarters
Useful Resources for Nightlife
www.theuguide.com
Closing Time
1 a.m.-2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
The Pub II on Wednesdays, Daddios on Thursdays, and most bars have specials on Fridays and Saturdays.
Organization Parties
There are a few registered student organizations on campus that throw dry parties.

Club ListingsWhat's This?

Six Strings

Six Strings is the country bar in downtown Bloomington. Every weekend there is live music and great dance parties. Also, Six Strings has great drink specials on Bud Light. On the first and third Thursday of every month, there is a mechanical bull, which is a great time! If you like country music, this is where you'll want to spend your weekends.

525 N. Center St.

Bloomington

(309) 829-9977

www.sixstringsclub.com

Daddios

Many students are attracted to Daddios because of the bands that perform there. Sixteen Candles, Hairbanger's Ball, Wedding Banned, and Too White Crew are just a few that perform on a regular basis. Daddios also has become known for its Thursday night special, "$1 You Call It." With a student ID, cover charges on Thursdays are half off. For students who like to dance, there is a dance floor, but come early because it tends to get crowded. If you are one to just listen to music, there are also areas to sit or play pool. Generally, a $5 cover fee is paid at the door. Also, there is a dress code before entering the bar: no hats or men's gym shorts are allowed-this has become a hassle.

527 N. Main St.

Bloomington

(309) 828-4434

www.daddiosbloomington.com

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

The Loft

As one of the classier bars, the Loft has a dress code and usually has a jazz band playing (but there is also a DJ on certain nights). While the image of an upscale bar would seem to push some students away, this bar is still very popular, especially on Thursday nights. However, one of the drawbacks is the location, as it is not on the same street as a majority of other bars.

220 E. Front St.

Bloomington

(309) 828-8464

Fat Jack's

Fat Jack's is one of the bigger bars at ISU, and what makes this bar unique is its cigar room. The space also allows bar-goers to roam the bar and check out who is in attendance. Students are able to play pool, sit at the bar, lounge on one of the many couches, or get down on the dance floor, where a DJ is usually playing hit music. While there may not be a band every night, there is always a cover charge. Also, Fat Jack's offers a wide variety of specially-brewed beers.

511 N. Main St.

Bloomington

(309) 821-9222

www.fatjacksinc.net

Maggie Miley's

This Irish pub has great food, even better drink specials, and generally a joyous drinking atmosphere. Also, there is authentic Irish music playing all of the time.

126 E. Beaufort St.

Normal

(309) 807-4301

maggiemileys.com

Pub II

The atmosphere is what makes Pub II one of the most popular bars at ISU. The dress code can be as casual as a sweatshirt and jeans to as dressy as black slacks and a nice shirt. The most popular night to be here is Wednesdays for $3 pitchers of Miller Lite or Bud Light. Sports are usually broadcast on the TVs throughout the bar, and students can even be found playing flip cup at the island tables. This is definitely the most popular bar at ISU. Most alumni come back to visit just for the Pub II.

102 N. Linden St.

Normal

(309) 452-0699

Mulligans

Mulligans is known for its Long Island iced tea served in a mason jar. It's a drink that is sure to leave you feeling good. This bar has a comfortable feel to it, and it's a great place to stand around and drink with friends. Mulligans recently added an outdoor beer garden equipped with TVs, so the local sports fanatics can enjoy the game. Through the years, this bar has gained popularity and has become a staple in any bar-goer's weekend activities. Friday and Saturday nights are when this bar gets crowded to the max. It is difficult to have a good time when you can't walk through the bar.

531 N. Main St.

Bloomington

(309) 827-7796

Blue Line Nightclub

Blue Line is a new bar in town and is generally a relaxing lounge, but be wary if you are using a fake ID-the bouncers will call the cops. If you call the drink names by the Blue Line name, then you will receive the drink at half price!

602 N. Main St.

Bloomington

(309) 585-2641

www.bluelinenightclub.com

The Bistro

The Bistro is the local gay bar that offers a fun time to anyone who enters. The drinks are fairly cheap, and Bingo is played every Thursday night. Winning a game of Bingo means winning a shot, so it is a must-try for most.

316 N. Main St.

Bloomington

(309) 829-2278

Chasers

Located in the basement of Michael's Restaurant, Chasers is the ultimate dance party, offering great DJs with an unbelievable dance floor. This is often the last stop for most bar-goers.

110 W. Washington St.

Bloomington

(309) 820-1330

www.chasersbloomington.com

Elroy's

A classic sports bar, Elroy's has big-screen televisions surrounding the bar. The rectangular layout of the bar tends to be inconvenient and causes the bar to get crowded easily; however, this is the place to be when a big game is broadcast-you can be certain that it will be packed.

102 W. Washington St.

Bloomington

(309) 828-0142

Drifters

This is an excellent place to chill with friends, and it usually isn't crowded. Also, there is an open space for dancing and tables for sitting and chatting, as well.

610 N. Main St.

Bloomington

(309) 829-1920

www.drifterspub.com

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

Coffeehouse & Deli

The Coffeehouse is a great place to hang out with friends and listen to the nightly entertainment. On certain days of the week, local musicians, poets, and storytellers can be found displaying their work.

114 E. Beaufort St.

Normal

(309) 452-6774

Student Polls

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 81 responses

  • 1% There are no good options.
  • 31% Use a designated driver.
  • 5% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 2% Public transportation.
  • 7% Taxis.
  • 53% Walk.

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 82 responses

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

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 81 responses

  • 2% Parties? What parties?
  • 5% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 22% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 64% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 6% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 7 responses

  • 43% Around the World
  • 43% Any tailgating event. Cherrystock.
  • 14% Tailgating!

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 11 responses

  • 38% Illinois State University
  • 31% There's always something going on anywhere you go
  • 31% It mostly depends on who you know or who you meet.

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