Nightlife

Location
Iowa City, IA
Undergrads
19,639
Tuition (in-state)
$26,279 ($8,057)
Admission Difficulty
Easy
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Reviews

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4 College Student

Nightlife: There are a lot of places to go for just some casual entertainment as well as a plethora of events hosted daily and weekly around the local community that get the night started. Taxi's and night ride service are readily available.

1 person found this useful Report
College Sophomore

Nightlife: I don't party much, but from what I know of the people that do party and club like it here in Iowa City

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Nightlife: There are always things to do, whether it be going to the bars or parties, or doing things in the dorms.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Nightlife: On the weekends downtown Iowa City is full of life and people.

5 College Junior

Nightlife: There is a lot going on here, but there are safety issues too.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 9th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 22nd
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 1351st
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Kelly McPhee
Hometown
Naperville, IL
Major
Journalism
View all previous student authors

It has been said that the weekend at UI begins on Wednesday night and ends Monday morning. Many students will count down the days until they can go out for the weekend. The bars are the popular place to be—the nice thing is that most bars in Iowa City allow anyone 19 or older through the doors. So even if you can’t legally drink, you can still head out to the bar to dance or meet people. There are many different types of bars, as well: the super-crowded social bars like Sports Column or 808, the fancier but still underage-friendly bars like Summit or Union, and nicer 21-and-over-only bars like Martini’s and Formosa. Airliner and Jake’s are more laid-back and sports-oriented but still have a dance floor upstairs. Several bars feature live music every now and then, like the Picador. The bars are definitely what most students look forward to on the weekend. Other options include going to house parties—there are several every weekend and even more when the weather is nice.

The nightlife at UI is largely what you make of it. There are plenty of bars to offer something new every night, so choosing a bar that fits your style is the key. And going to the bar with people you know makes the experience that much more enjoyable. For students who choose not to drink, there are several movie theaters, the Fieldhouse offers night games every once and a while, and there are often non-alcoholic activities in the residential halls on weekend nights.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Downtown Iowa City
  • Pedestrian Mall
Student Favorites
  • Brothers Bar & Grill
  • Jack's
  • The Union Bar
  • Vito's
Other Places to Check Out
  • FireWater
  • Martini's
  • Piano Lounge
  • Yacht Club
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Century pong
  • Flippy cup
  • Irish poker
  • Power Hour
  • Quarters
Useful Resources for Nightlife
The Facebook group "Iowa City Barmaster" has a list of every bar's specials for every day of the week. Print it out and put it on the wall for easy reference!
Closing Time
1:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Any bar on a Thursday night or during FAC (Fridays after Class).
Organization Parties
Several organizations and departments offer gatherings on weekend nights. These often involve a party or a guest speaker to raise awareness about some issue. The residence halls also have alternative activities for students who wish not to take part in the bar scene.

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

808 Restaurant and Nightclub

Considered one of the "freshman" bars on campus, there always seems to be an unsually high number of underaged students here. The dance floor is huge, so it makes the bar seem less crowded, but that could also be because not many people go there other than on Fridays.

121 Iowa Ave.

(319) 351-0044

The Airliner

The Airliner has been an Iowa City tradition for more than 60 years. It's the best bar to watch football games and has the best pizza in Iowa. It has great FAC deals, and is an upperclassman bar. Many students head to The Airliner on their 21st birthday.

22 S. Clinton St.

(319) 351-9259

www.theairlinerbar.com

Brothers Bar & Grill

Brothers is one of the more relaxed bars. Most people go there with their friends or for bar crawls rather than to go dancing. It's a huge sports bar with pool tables, dart boards, and great bar food. There is another Brothers in Milwaukee, so when Wisconsin plays football here that's where most of the fans will be.

125 S. Dubuque St. (Pedestrian Mall)

Pedestrian Mall

(319) 338-6373

www.brothersbar.com

DC's

DC's is a newer bar and has become a popular place for FAC, featuring $2 fishbowls of mixed drinks. It's a little more upscale than the other sports bars and has lots of big screens and a great lunch menu.

124 S. Dubuque St. (Pedestrian Mall)

(319) 358-9575

Jake's

Jake's is an Iowa tradition for celebrating your 21st birthday-it offers 21 pitchers of beer for $21 dollar. Students who aren't fans of beer can switch out a pitcher for four mixed drinks. Jake's is the place to go on Wednesday nights: The infamous punchcard special (15 drinks for $10) is very popular.

18-20 S. Clinton St.

(319) 351-0557

www.oneeyedjakes.net

Fieldhouse (Third Base)

Fieldhouse has a large dance floor and lots of big-screen TVs to watch any game on. Thursdays are $2 pitchers of mixed drinks, so if you're tight on money, it's a great place to go.

111 E. College St. (Pedestrian Mall)

Pedestrian Mall

(319) 339-1516

The Picador

This is the place to come to listen to live music. The Picador has bands, big and small, playing almost every day. It is considered the "alternative" bar, so you won't find any Top 40 music or sorority girls here. There are dance parties every Thursday, and everyone who has gone has fallen in love.

330 E. Washington St.

(319) 354-4788

www.thepicador.com

Sports Column

"SpoCo" is the most popular bar for freshmen. There are $1 pitchers of beer on Thursdays, so if you want those, get there early (think 9 p.m.) and be prepared to get suffocated later. It can get so insanely busy that you won't be able to move and it will take 20 minutes to get a drink-longer if you're a guy.

12 S. Dubuque St.

(319) 356-6902

The Summit

Summit has a dress code that restricts logos, hats, and ripped jeans. This is a huge bar for dancing and tries to be more of an upscale bar. While it looks a lot nicer than most bars in Iowa City, a lot of older men will come here looking to hook up with young college girls, giving it the nickname "Scummit," or "Scum" for short.

10 S. Clinton St.

(319) 354-7482

www.thesummitrestaurantandbar.com

The Union Bar

Union has a dress code similar to The Summit-and the same reputation, and Girls Gone Wild has been known to stop by a few times. It has a huge dance floor, private rooms with hot tubs, and can get very crowded. It has the best FAC deal around with 50 cent beers. It's also known as the bar to go to if you're looking for a quick hook up.

121 E. College St. (Pedestrian Mall)

Pedestrian Mall

(319) 339-7713

www.theunionbar.com

Vito's

Vito's was recently changed to a 21+ bar but has always been more of an upperclassmen place to hang out. The line is usually around the corner on Thursdays.

118 E. College St. (Pedestrian Mall)

Pedestrian Mall

(319) 338-1393

www.vitosic.com

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

Most of the bars in Iowa City allow those 19 and over to enter, so there are only ever a few left out of this scene. Those younger then 19 may enter the bar before 10 p.m., but are supposed to leave at 10 p.m. Downtown Iowa City has a few other activities to offer those who don't want to bar-hop, and the Coral Ridge Mall is another alternative.

Student Polls

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 85 responses

  • 2% There are no good options.
  • 2% Use a designated driver.
  • 21% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 4% Public transportation.
  • 4% Taxis.
  • 67% Walk.

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 84 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 85 responses

  • 2% Parties? What parties?
  • 1% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 8% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 60% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 28% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

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

  • 100% Just talk to people

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 13 responses

  • 100% Iowa tailgating

Photos

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