Nightlife

Location
Rochester, NY
Undergrads
5,512
Tuition
$42,890
Admission Difficulty
Hard
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Reviews

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4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: First semester, there are a lot of open parties at the fraternity houses that are a lot of fun. Second semester it can be a little boring on campus if you aren't in greek life, but there are always off-campus parties.

4 College Junior

Nightlife: Close connections are what will make your time worthwhile. Large parties are usually a large group of socially intertwined people.

2 College Freshman

Nightlife: It's really cold and some nights are very dull.

2 College Freshman

Nightlife: I am not a huge part of this scene so I can't say much. There are often parties on the frat quad. The drama house has good parties. But there isn't much to do, especially off campus.

3 College Senior

Nightlife: I prefer the downtown music/ club scene. The electronic is not great and the school does not choose great artists but if you like jam bands then upstate New York in general is great. Transportation is very reliable, the area is safe, going out is very reliable, and post party food is wonderful.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 283rd
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 525th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 1091st
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Dave Levy
Hometown
Randolph, NJ
Major
History and International Relations
View all previous student authors

Parties on campus are deemed "okay" and bars and clubs are accessible if you're over 21. If you're in the underclassman category, you'll probably be spending a lot of time at the frats, in rooms watching movies, or at coffee shops. If you are 21, or you can get in, there are plenty of bars in downtown Rochester to take advantage of. If you don't feel like shoving your way through a bar to pay for a drink or you are in the mood to be cheap, hang out on the frat quad. There's no cover to get in any of the frats and drinks are free, even if they aren't the highest quality.

If "night" means only until 2 a.m., you can easily find things to do in Rochester. Places close notoriously early-one of the biggest complaints by night owl college students. A couple of dining establishments are open 24 hours, but bars have last call at 1:30 a.m. Some go to the bars early on, and then continue the festivities on campus. Laid-back students can easily have fun chilling on campus and hanging with friends, but if you're a jet-set socialite from New York City, you may have trouble with the nightlife in the Rochester area.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Alexander Street
  • Allston
  • Brighton
  • Downtown by Eastman
Student Favorites
  • Bug Jar
  • The Elmwood Inn
  • The Old Toad
  • SoHo
  • Tribecca
Other Places to Check Out
  • Alexander Street Pub
  • Barfly
  • The Distillery
  • Explore downtown Rochester
  • MacGregor's
  • Nathaniel's
Local Specialties
  • Genesee Beer:
  • Nick Tahou's Garbage Plates:
  • White-Hots:
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Beirut
  • Card games
  • Century Club
  • Flip cup
  • Kings
  • Power Hour
  • Quarters
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • City Newspaper
  • Democrat & Chronicle
  • There are several groups on Facebook that send out updates about bar parties and other events going on.
Closing Time
2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
The Bug Jar
Organization Parties
Drama House will have parties, complete with live band, which can be a welcome change from the fraternity parties. The drama house is right on the fraternity quad, so you can walk right over and enjoy some student talent. Some of the organizations also hold off-campus shindigs, but there is always a cover whereas the frats are free. Their music is usually better at the off-campus get-togethers, however, so occasionally it’s worth it. The turnout for on-campus events for organizations is usually poor, but if people stay on campus, they’ll be at private parties or at the fraternity houses. Some notable events include Sigma Chi's Jungle Party, Psi Upsilon's Halloween and White Party, SAM's Beach Party, DU's Gangster Party, and DKE Purple Passion.

Club ListingsWhat's This?

Tapas 177 Lounge

With a somewhat rustic stone interior, Tapas presents itself as a "distinctly different lounge experience." It is, in fact, a tapas bar, and they have a full menu with 18 varieties of martinis, as well. Some events at the lounge include free tango and salsa lessons, wine tasting nights, and tapas happy hour.

177 St. Paul St.

Rochester

(585) 262-2090

www.tapas177.com

Tonic

A modern-style nightclub/bar/restaurant wedged in downtown Rochester. It caters to a more sophisticated crowd with more upscale events. For example, their Champagne and Ice event is DJed with high priced champagne and a VIP invite-only list. Their dinner menu is also not cheap. Brainfroot, an electronica-techno organization with multiple DJ groups, performs monthly.

336 East Ave.

Rochester East End

(585) 325-7720

www.tonicusa.com

Whiskey

One of the bar/clubs along Alexander Street, Whiskey boasts two floors with a bar on each. The music is generally hip hop. If you're going to be along Alexander Street and just want to be in the bar scene, you're better off going to Alexander Street Pub. If you feel like getting your groove on and need some variety in your outing schedule, head to Whiskey.

315 Alexander St.

Rochester

(585) 232-7550

The Club at Water Street

Known mainly for concerts, they also have a large bar area. There's a separate Club at Water Street described as "an intimate venue" and the main Music Hall with the bar and concerts. Some bigger name groups perform at Water Street, and the tickets are affordable, so even if you don't go for the club scene, you can catch a cool band live.

204 N Water St.

Rochester

(585) 325-5600

www.waterstreetmusic.com

Club Rain

High-end nightclub, with a 20s crowd. The inside décor says "just add neon," with a wall of falling water and other effects. The music selection is techno, for the most part. A punching bag hangs in the men's restroom, too, in case patrons need to take out some negative energy from a lady's rejection. IDs are checked and enforced, so it isn't the best place to try and get in if you're under 21.

360 Monroe Ave.

Rochester

(585) 232-1340

Muther's

The favorite gay bar/club in Rochester. There's no cover charge, and they're open noon to 2 a.m. Many UR students like to go here, no matter their orientation. Girls like to go and not be harassed by club prowlers while they're dancing. Now that Tilt, the other popular gay club in Rochester, closed down for good, many have switched permanently to Muther's.

40 S Union St.

Rochester

(585) 325-6216

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

The Old Toad

A student favorite, the Old Toad is a good place to sit and people-watch out the large windows to Alexander Street, or enjoy the cozy setting inside. The pub was founded in the hopes of bringing British students and staff a genuine British pub. It continues to be popular, with Trivia Night and their specialty hard cider. They also have a menu with English foods for affordable American prices and a large variety of beers on tap, including their Real Ale served at a traditional lukewarm temperature.

277 Alexander St.

Rochester

(585) 232-2626

www.theoldtoad.com

Lux Lounge

This darkly voodoo-style bar is a welcome change from smooth wood and glass of other bars in Rochester. The lounge has a diabolical leaning, decorated in dark reds and black. Though not located in the main bar drag, the Lux is its own haven of cheap drinks and interesting atmosphere.

666 South Ave.

Rochester

(585) 232-9030

Salinger's

A small but noisy bar, Salinger's is popular as an after-work/happy hour bar for hardworking 20- and 30-somethings. By the time five or six rolls around, the place is fully packed, standing room only, and fairly raucous. It shares a door with a small, quiet restaurant, Haleigh's, next door, and the crowd can disrupt diners in the restaurant, especially later on in the evenings. It's centrally located on East Ave. downtown, and within walking distance to restaurants, movies and other places, so people can easily include Salinger's in their bar hopping travels or have it be an after event stop-off.

107 East Ave.

Rochester

(585) 546-6880

Paradise Alley

This is the place to go if you want cheap drinks. Located not too far from campus, you can't go wrong. For $5 you can have many a drink, and due to this, Paradise Alley has become quite the place to be. It might not be the classiest bar, but serves the purpose for the thirsty and economical college attendee. You're likely to see people you know if you go here.

373 S Goodman St.

Rochester

(585) 271-8180

The Bug Jar

The Bug Jar is a smaller establishment geared toward music lovers. They host a large amount of lesser-known bands and can reel in a crowd between their devoted fans and regular patrons. The décor is funky, if a little spare, but if you're in the mood for some live music of the alternative variety, the Bug Jar is a good place to head, with concerts three days a week, DJs, and an open mic night. Upstairs is the music area and they have a downstairs living room area. It's been a favorite Rochester student standby for a while.

219 Monroe Ave.

Rochester

(585) 454-2966

www.bugjar.com

The Blue Room

In the prime real estate area for restaurants and clubs, the Blue Room is in the middle of it all on A Street. They have a happening happy hour and late night scene, and you can play pool or enjoy their outdoor deck in season. They have karaoke nights as well.

293 Alexander St.

Rochester

(585) 232-2230

Johnny's Irish Pub

With more of a casual pub feel, Johnny's is your average pub with darts, pool, and somewhat older regulars. They have live music, usually blues and rock. There's also free parking and no cover.

1382 Culver Rd

Rochester, Lake Ontario area

(585) 224-0990

www.johnnysirishpub.com

The Elmwood Inn

This is a UR hangout, due to its proximity to campus. They have a large variety of beers on tap, as well as a decent dinner menu. You'll also find a typical low-key pub atmosphere with neon beer signs, games, TVs, and photos of regular drinkers. It's not very large, and attached to the side of a house pretty much, but students still choose the Elmwood over fancier bars downtown.

1256 Mount Hope Ave.

Rochester

(585) 271-5195

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

You can always go to a bar party as an under, which is still quite fun. Other options include movies, Frats, and hanging at coffee places downtown.

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 52 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 49 responses

  • 0% There are no good options.
  • 16% Use a designated driver.
  • 43% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 0% Public transportation.
  • 18% Taxis.
  • 22% Walk.

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 55 responses

  • 5% Parties? What parties?
  • 13% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 55% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 27% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 0% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 10 responses

  • 62% Off campus houses
  • 31% Frat Quad
  • 8% Douglass

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 14 responses

  • 79% D-Day
  • 21% Meliora Weekend

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