Nightlife

Location
Bloomington, IL
Undergrads
2,015
Tuition
$39,136
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews

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College Sophomore

Nightlife: I do not go to parties on campus.

5 College Freshman

Nightlife: You don't have to go out and drink every night. Illinois Wesleyan offers a ton of great sober activities and events. Recently, I met the head writer of SNL, Colin Jost and the entire band of 3OH!3. They make it awesome. But if you want to go out and party, the frats are very open to who they let in. Not like what is commonly depicted on TV and in movies. They arent really douchebags.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: There are a few really good parties here and there, but we're not a very big school, so the parties aren't that crazy.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: There is always something fun on campus.

3 College Freshman

Nightlife: I am underage so I cant into many places.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 454th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 573rd
    Best Drink Prices
  • 918th
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Diego Báez
Major
English Writing
View all previous student authors

The nightlife on campus is dominated by parties with Greek affiliation, and for good reason. On a campus this size, the only practical place to have large groups of thirsty people party is in the basement or general vicinity of a fraternity. TKE throws the occasional themed party, and those are always the most fun. Black-light parties, foam parties, and toga parties are the most popular. You'll be well aware of frat parties from the chalked announcements letting you know they're having another "non-alcoholic event." Other gatherings on campus are arranged by word of mouth and are usually smaller groups of friends hanging out. You can meet pretty cool people in small get-togethers.

Off campus, parties are bigger and wilder, and you are entirely at the whim of the Normal police. ISU has tenfold the number of parties Wesleyan has on any given weekend, and frats host only a fraction of the parties. While the accessible beverages, women, and general debauchery is greatly increased at ISU, the chance of getting a drinking ticket is almost inevitable. An undercover Normal police officer will walk right up to you, engage in a full conversation, and then slap cuffs. You won't see it coming. Of course, upperclassmen don't have this problem, and the bars in Downtown Bloomington offer refuge to thirsty souls in need of a drink. The bars attract different crowds, so you've got to check them out before frequenting any of them. They are as expensive as anywhere else, but Bloomington bartenders make stronger drinks than you get in Chicago.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Campus of Illinois State University
  • Downtown Bloomington
Other Places to Check Out
  • Drifters Pub
  • Maguire's Pub & Restaurant
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Baseball
  • Beer Pong
  • Drinking "Insert Favorite Movie or TV Show Here"
  • Flip Cup
  • Screw the Dealer
Useful Resources for Nightlife
The GO! insert of Thursday’s local newspaper
Closing Time
1 a.m.–2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Any bar on ladies' night
Organization Parties
Academic departments host colloquiums and holiday events, but these hardly qualify as parties. The best organized party of the year is the Mariachi Dance hosted by the Latino Student Organization. Also popular is the notorious Transvestite’s Ball, which is a fashion show and dance all to the tune of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Mugsy's Pub

Mugsy's is a really popular place among Illinois Wesleyan students. The closest bar to campus, students congregate for a drink or a bite to eat almost every day of the week. Tuesday night specials on wings are a big draw, as are the decently-priced pitchers. Although a popular attraction, most people only hang around for a while before venturing downtown.

1310 N. Main St.

Bloomington

(309) 827-2628

www.mugsyspub.com

Rosie's Pub

Rosie's is a low-key, quieter place to chill, but is filled to capacity most nights on the weekend. The kitchen offers amazing meals served in the adjoining restaurant or right at the bar. Daily drink specials aren't exactly cheap, but every drink is made by some of the most professional bartenders in the area. Don't be surprised if you run into a couple local celebrities mingling among the young professionals and students.  

106 E. Front St.

Bloomington

(309) 827-7019

www.rosies-pub.com

Illinois Brewing Company

The Illinois Brewing Company has long been a staple of downtown Bloomington among locals and students alike. The spacious pub has a lounge with billiards and darts, a huge wraparound bar, and a lofted stage in the back. IBC regularly hosts a wide variety of music, with everything from rock to country to the sometimes unclassifiable. The crowd is best on show nights when everyone is excited and lively but can otherwise be dominated by groups of locals.

102 S. Center St.

Bloomington

(309) 829-2805

Elroy's

Elroy's is a large sports bar with an open two-story layout, big-screen TVs, and projection screens all around. Booths and tables in every direction surround a large bar in the middle. A loft area is great for groups of friends to congregate, undisturbed by the other patrons. The food is decent, and pitchers are cheap. An outdoor beer garden is especially enjoyable as the weather turns warmer.

102 W. Washington St.

Bloomington

(309) 828-0142

Fat Jacks

Fat Jacks is an ever-popular draw among both the younger and older crowds, the latter dispersing right around the time the former arrive. Boasting the most square feet of any downtown facility, Fat Jacks has three bars, a dance floor, a lounge with couches and tables, a stage near the main entrance, and a billiards room in back. The only drawback is that the bar is almost always impossibly crowded. If you don't mind squeezing between friends to wait for a drink, Fat Jacks is the place for you.

511 N. Main St.

Bloomington

(309) 821-9222

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

Coffeehouse & Deli

The Coffeehouse is a vegetarian deli in downtown Normal that hosts local rock shows, poetry readings, and small-scale plays.

114 E. Beaufort St.

Normal

(309) 452-6774

Reality Bites

Reality Bites regularly hosts shows at which alcohol is served, but you needn't be 21 to get in.

414 N. Main St.

Bloomington

(309) 828-1300

realitybitesblm.com

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 15 responses

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

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 13 responses

  • 0% There are no good options.
  • 0% Use a designated driver.
  • 8% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 0% Public transportation.
  • 8% Taxis.
  • 85% Walk.

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 15 responses

  • 7% Parties? What parties?
  • 13% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 60% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 20% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 0% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.
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