Nightlife

Location
Saint Paul, MN
Undergrads
2,035
Tuition
$43,693
Admission Difficulty
Hard
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Reviews

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College Freshman

Nightlife: I have not attended a student hosted party on campus. However, there are definitely many opportunities to go if one is interested. They can also be easily avoided (as in my case) if one does not wish to partake.

3 College Freshman

Nightlife: Some people like the parties but I find them a little weird because it's such a small school so you either know people or see them everywhere. We haven't really tried to go off campus to the club or anything so I don't know what that's like.

3 College Freshman

Nightlife: Macalester parties are more intimate than ragers, but if you're looking for more hardcore partying, the U of M is about a 15 minute bus ride away. Progressives are fun bonding experiences for organizations, teams, and other groups. Kagin is rowdy and it's a mistake to go sober.

3 College Junior

Nightlife: On campus the party scene varies between heavy drinkers, stoners, non partiers, and everything in between. However, most people go off campus on a night "out" because the residential area prevents house parties from happening.

3 College Senior

Nightlife: Nightlife around campus consists mostly of house and dorm parties. There are several bars in the area with good late night deals, but there are no clubs close to campus. However, students interested in clubbing sometimes take the metro or a taxi into Minneapolis, where there are several large clubs.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 151st
    Best Drink Prices
  • 682nd
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 691st
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Tatiana Craine
Hometown
Eden Prairie, MN
Major
English with emphasis on Creative Writing
View all previous student authors

For all the great things about the Mac-Groveland neighborhood, there’s one thing that it doesn’t offer Macalester students: decent college-oriented nightlife. While house parties are great and can often get really big (word of mouth and texting spread information about good parties faster than wildfire), the area isn’t conducive to the same sort of progressives or ragers that U of M students might find on Frat Row. Truth be told, students that go to Macalester might not necessarily want that level of chaos on a weekend night, but it’s nice to have that option for those particularly rough weeks when you just want to let loose.

Fear not: just a short bus or cab ride away, students can find a whole world of nightlife awaiting them with open arms. Downtown Minneapolis has countless clubs and bars, and though downtown St. Paul doesn’t have the same caliber of club life, there are some decent bars there, too. Dinkytown and the U of M provide the best stereotypical college nightlife options, with clubs, music venues, bars, and late-night food joints. If you’re brave enough to breach the traditional rivalry between Macalester and the University of St. Thomas, you can find some small-scale, frat-like parties on the St. Thomas campus. However, students don’t need to leave campus (or even be of age) to have a good time. There are dances every few weeks in the Kagin ballroom, with fun DJs, nighttime events sponsored by various student organizations (including the ever-popular Queer Cabaret), art gallery openings, theater and dance productions, musical groups that come to campus, and more. Nightlife at Macalester is completely up to individual students, and more often than not, people are aching to seize the night until the sun comes up.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Dinkytown
  • Downtown Minneapolis
  • Uptown Minneapolis
Other Places to Check Out
  • Billy's On Grand
  • Sneaky Pete's
Local Specialties
  • Summit Beer: The Summit Brewery is located in St. Paul.
  • Surly Beer: Surly Brewing Company is located in Minneapolis.
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Flip cup
  • Kings
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • The City Pages
  • www.digitalcity.com/twincities/bars
  • www.twincitiesnightclubs.com
Closing Time
2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Groveland Tap O'Gara's Bar & Grill Wild Onion
Organization Parties
Student clubs and organizations often throw dances on campus or organize parties (some of which may be exclusive to members) either on campus or off. Sports teams also throw inclusive parties in on-campus cottages/houses or in houses off campus.
Did You Know?
Many of the concert venues and clubs in the Twin Cities will have occasional 18-and-up or all-ages shows. Be sure you check out club schedules or special events before you declare that there's nothing to do before you're 21 years old. The Gay `90s, The Quest, First Avenue, and Bryant-Lake Bowl are all good places to check out if you're not yet old enough to drink. There are also clubs in the Twin Cities area that always offer all-ages or 18-and-older activities.

Club ListingsWhat's This?

Turf Club

Long before line dancing became a national fad, the Turf Club was the leading club in country two-stepping. Today, the Turf Club is a well-known and unconventionally trendy club in an area where many clubs didn't survive. Unlike most of the popular clubs in the Twin Cities, it's actually in St. Paul, and only a short, few-minute drive from the Macalester campus. The club offers live music almost every night, surprisingly cheap concert tickets, and cheap drinks. The Turf Club is a great place to go to hear a promising live local band or an odd national act Tuesday through Saturday.

1601 University Ave. W

St. Paul

(651) 647-0486

turfclub.net

The Gay `90s Night Club

As the name of the nightclub would suggest, the Gay `90s is officially a gay and lesbian club; in fact, it's the largest such club in the Upper Midwest. What you find upon entering on any given weekend, however, is that, for better or for worse, all three dance floors are packed with predominantly straight men and women. In other words, everyone is welcome to have a good time. The club even has two restaurants and seven bars. The drinks are large and strong, and the drag shows and karaoke nights often draw a large crowd. There are male strippers every Friday and Saturday night, plus specials on burgers, chicken dinners, and cocktails throughout the week.

408 Hennepin Ave.

Minneapolis

(612) 333-7755

www.gay90s.com

First Avenue & 7th Street Entry

Like other clubs in the Twin Cities, First Avenue is well known outside of Minnesota in part because of the connection it has to Prince-he featured the club in "Purple Rain." However, the Prince connection isn't what draws most people to the club; rather, it's the diverse lineup of bands that play, the eclectic crowd, the fact that it's open until 3 a.m., and the rare, small-venue atmosphere that First Avenue & 7th Street Entry offer. There is also a lengthy list of musical history that originated from the club, and a good chance of hearing a really great band that hasn't already been played to death on the radio. First Avenue is among the most popular clubs in the Twin Cities, and along with the 7th Street Entry, it's a great place to hear some talented, new bands or dance into the early morning hours.

701 First Ave.

Minneapolis

(612) 338-8388

www.first-ave.com

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

O'Gara's Bar & Grill

Along with Plum's and Groveland Tap, O'Gara's is a Mac favorite. They brew their own beer in small batches to ensure the best quality, and have live bands, including the popular Battle of the Bands competition. Thursdays are college nights and usually are the most crowded. The menu includes wings, quesadillas, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and pastas.

164 Snelling Ave. N

St. Paul

(651) 644-3333

www.ogaras.com

Groveland Tap

Whether you like it or not, you're basically guaranteed a run-in with a fellow Macalester student if you go to the Tap. A short walk away from campus, the Tap is a good place to get drinks and play some pool, video games, or darts in the back. In addition, no matter where you turn in the Tap, you're always in view of a TV broadcasting some sort of sporting event. The big wooden booths are nice places to sit in big groups and grab some fast food. Daily specials include $2 PBR tall boys every day.

1834 St. Clair Ave.

St. Paul

(651) 699-5058

www.grovelandtap.com

Wild Onion

A Chicago-style bar, Wild Onion is nicer than all of the others around the area and the kind of place where you might hear a little Frank Sinatra.

788 Grand Ave.

St. Paul

(651) 291-2525

Plums

Plums is a household name for any St. Paul college student, and it is always on the top of most students' lists for places to go on a Thursday or Saturday night, when Plums has DJs and dancing. The music is usually top 40 or standard college party-night music, but there is a jukebox or the occasional local rock band if you want to change it up. It usually gets pretty packed at night, but if you go early, you should be able to snag one of the few booths or a nice seat on the patio.

480 Snelling Ave. S

St. Paul

(651) 699-2227

Cabooze

Although the Cabooze is a popular bar, it's best known for its live music and distinct design. The Cabooze, shaped like a giant train caboose, is a very casual environment to have a drink, meet some interesting music-lovers, or listen to some great live blues, rock, soul, country, or reggae. While the Cabooze features local bands on a regular basis, national acts such as George Clinton have also performed at the bar.

917 Cedar Ave. S

Minneapolis

(612) 338-6425

www.cabooze.com

Artists' Quarter Jazz Club

The Artists' Quarter is a favorite among many Macalester students because it offers something that no other club in the immediate area does: great, live jazz on an almost daily basis. Located in the historic Hamm Building, the AQ has a particularly inviting atmosphere inside. European jazz posters and photos of local jazz legends decorate the walls, the lights are dimmed, and the acoustics are first-rate. The lounge is also a place of convergence for jazz fans of all generations, and the extensive wine list makes the AQ a good place to relax for wine connoisseurs. Most nights, the cover charge is only $3 to $5. National or well-known acts are slightly more expensive, but always affordable, even for the college student. As an added bonus, the club is also fairly easy to access by bus.

408 St. Peter St.

St. Paul

(651) 292-1359

www.mnjazz.com

400 Bar

Although the 400 Bar is closer to the University of Minnesota than Macalester, it's still a popular place to drink, hang out, and listen to music for Mac students. In general, musical acts tend to fall into the indie or alternative rock genres, and bands that have played at the 400 Bar include The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, Sean Lennon, Interpol, and Soul Asylum, among many others. If you don't come for the music, come for the large selection of beer.

400 Cedar Ave. S

Minneapolis

(612) 332-3844

www.400bar.com

Bryant-Lake Bowl

Bryant-Lake Bowl is part bar, part restaurant, part coffeehouse, bowling alley, and performance center. In other words, it's a great place to go for a variety of different activities and for a variety of different people, but the crowd definitely tends to be 21-and-up. Live entertainment is offered daily. The performance art stage features music acts, plays, comedy shows, dance numbers, cabarets, and films. Some of the special features of Bryant-Lake Bowl include a wine list featuring more than 50 bottles from around the world and an old-fashioned bowling alley. Keep in mind, however, that you do have to keep your own score in bowling.

810 W. Lake St.

Minneapolis

(612) 825-3737

www.bryantlakebowl.com

Blue Door Pub

The little-pub-that-could with the best Juicy Lucy burgers (they call them "Blucys") in the Twin Cities. This establishment was once featured on the Food Network's show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" with Guy Fieri, who raved about the burgers and appetizers at the Blue Door.

1811 Selby Ave.

St. Paul

(651) 493-1865

www.thebluedoorpubmn.com

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

"Too Much Love" at First Avenue

As the Twin Cities' most-loved dance club and music venue, First Avenue was made famous by Prince. "Too Much Love" is the 18-and-over dance night.

701 First Ave.

Minneapolis

(612) 338-8388

www.first-avenue.com

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 25 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 22 responses

  • 0% There are no good options.
  • 14% Use a designated driver.
  • 0% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 59% Public transportation.
  • 5% Taxis.
  • 23% Walk.

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 24 responses

  • 0% Parties? What parties?
  • 46% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 46% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 8% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 0% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.
4
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