Party Scene

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Party Scene


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2 College Freshman

Party Scene: Champlain is a gaming school. Therefore like 90% of the kids here are for that. The circle of people who like to party every weekend is small so you will find yourself doing the same thing with the same people. Once you are 21 though Church street is fun, lots of bars.

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2 College Freshman

Party Scene: Not a lot of people who like to go out every weekend. You end up doing the same thing with the same people at the same few places.

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1 College Student

Party Scene: The nightlife is smoking pot outside the dorm. If that counts as a nightlife?

3 College Student

Party Scene: Ive heard of parties but ive never been so I cant talk on this one.

2 College Junior

Party Scene: I am not really the partying type, but even so, the party scene at Champlain isn't great. The school is a dry campus so most of the parties don't happen here. For parties, go off-campus or to UVM.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Since Champlain College is a dry campus, there is not much of a party scene, although steps away are friends' apartments and UVM's fraternity and sorority houses which host parties. There are quite a lot of house parties; it is just about knowing who hosts them. Downtown Burlington's nightlife is well-known and entertaining for those over the age of 21. People under 18 struggle to keep themselves busy late at night downtown, as many stores close at 9 p.m., coffee shops close at 11 p.m., and many restaurants turn into bars that card at the door. Most of the bars downtown, for those over 21, are pretty expensive because they offer Vermont's best craft beers and microbrews. Although, as in any college town, beer is the primary consumed beverage, and cheap drafts are usually available as specials.

Clubs downtown usually have a $3 to $5 cover charge, and are mostly 21-and-up due to city regulations. Once a month, the city allows LIFT to host an 18-and-up night; usually, it's planned so it falls near holidays like Halloween or Valentine's Day. Alternatives for house parties or bar-hopping are on-campus events. Student Activities hosts many events in the IDX Student Life Center; resident assistants hold social programs in the residence halls; clubs host their own outings; and the Grind's open mic night is held every Wednesday. There is also late night in the dining hall Tuesday through Friday to socialize with friends over food and soft drinks.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Church Street
  • Higher Ground
  • Main Street
  • University of Vermont (UVM)
Other Places to Check Out
  • The Farmhouse Tap & Grill
  • JP's Pub
  • Manhattan's Pizza & Pub
  • McKee's Pub & Grill
  • Mr. Mike's Pizza
  • Three Needs Taproom & Brewery
Local Specialties
  • Fiddlehead, Long Trail, Switchback, Otter Creek, Rock Art, Harpoon, Alchemist: As of November 2011, there were 21 breweries operating in Vermont that could be described as craft- or microbreweries. These are some examples.
  • Grateful Dead Drink: The band may be from California, but the drink is very popular with Vermonters.
  • Magic Hat: Magic Hat Brewing Company is a microbrewery located in South Burlington, Vt. They brew about four year-round beers, four seasonals, and other specialty brews. The company does a lot for the community, including the Mardi Gras Parade. Magic Hat #9 is the most common to get.
  • Shelburne Vineyards Wine: The vineyard is in Shelburne, which is only about 15 minutes from Burlington.
  • The Vermont Cocktail: 1 ounce Broker's gin (or any London dry-style gin) 1/2 ounce Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy 1/4 ounce Marie Brizard Apry (apricot brandy) 3/4 ounce lime juice 1/2 ounce Grade A maple syrup 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer Pong/Beirut
  • Flip cup
  • Kings
  • Spoons
  • Turrets
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • Burlington Free Press Calendar
  • Seven Days VT
  • Seven Nights Guide
  • What's Good - Seven Days Book
Closing Time
2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
McKee's in Winooski and Mr. Mike's Pizza in Burlington are the cheapest places to get a drink (and some drunk munchies).
Organization Parties
Usually, you don't hear about clubs throwing parties at Champlain since it is a dry campus and college-sponsored events are not allowed to have alcohol, even if they are off campus.

Club ListingsWhat's This?


A go-to spot for the Burlington late-night college scene, Rasputin's always has the same people. Weekend nights usually include two DJs (one in the front bar and one in the back bar), usually from the Burlington area and surrounding colleges. If you're looking for cheap prices, fast bar service, and loud music—check it out.

163 Church St.


(802) 864-9324


A good deal: On a Saturday night, the cover is $3 or free if you have a student ID. LIFT includes a lounge atmosphere with a huge dance floor. The music is Top 40, clubbing type with some oldies mixed in. Once a month (or more), LIFT hosts 18-and-up nights on Wednesdays.

165 Church St.


(802) 660-2088

Club Metronome

A club owned by Nectar's Restaurant, Metronome is always packed. There is a cover charge to get in, and the most popular nights are '80s nights on Thursdays, with cheap drinks and lots of happy people.

188 Main St.


(802) 865-4563

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Ri Ra the Irish Pub

The best part about this place is the live music. The stage is small, and the audience is super close to the bands. They also seem to have pretty interesting local bands play on a regular basis. It has friendly bartenders, a nice atmosphere, and large group tables.

123 Church St.


(802) 860-9401

Red Square

Red Square is a very hip and popular bar, with dark ambiance, packed audiences, good live music, and lots of people.

136 Church St.


(802) 859-8909

Ruben James Restaurant (RJ's)

A great place for wings! Fifty-cent wings are an awesome deal along with free chips! They have the same selection of great Vermont brews as most other bars.

159 Main St.


(802) 864-0744

What Ale's You

It's your classic college bar. Dimly lit, loud, slow service—everyone is always really drunk.

152 Saint Paul St.


(802) 862-1364

Vermont Pub & Brewery

With great food and awesome beer, the brewery's menu is like a newspaper, filled with fun facts about beer. This place is recommended for a casual night out for food and drinks with friends.

144 College St.


(802) 865-0500

Church Street Tavern

Good solid place in Downtown Burlington for some pub food and beer. The price is the best selling point here, as they offer a good bar/restaurant experience for much cheaper than their neighbors. Special $2.50 Bud drafts on Fridays!

103 Church St.


(802) 658-1309

Akes' Place

Akes' is kind of a hallway of a bar, but it has some pretty solid drink specials. It's also set up for some games, pool, and darts—very cheap, especially pitchers on Thursday. They never let it get too crowded, so you can actually sit and talk to people.

134 Church St.


(802) 864-8111

Das Bierhaus

Das Bierhaus has a fantastic selection of German beers and great service; plus, the menu is very good, too. Perhaps a bit pricey for food, but it's worth it, all things considered. It even has a "Mug Club" for frequent customers.

175 Church St.


(802) 881-0600


Despite being around for decades, Nectar's is a hidden gem venue. Always presenting different kinds of music, it's the birthplace of Phish, and has awesome gravy fries. It's roomy with pool tables, lounge areas, and open to the street.

188 Main St.


(802) 658-4771


With drink specials and board games, Drink is a good place for casual drinking and actually talking. It may not appeal to the usual bar/wings/sports type, though, as it tries to aim toward the eclectic, but it is a nice pre/post-show (at the Flynn) stop, and you can expect good service. It's mostly a sit-down bar for girls to catch up with their girlfriends.

135 Saint Paul St.


(802) 860-9463

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

LIFT (18 and up)

On Wednesdays, LIFT has 18-and-up nights. Doors open at 9 p.m. sharp, and 18- to 20-year-olds must be in before 11 p.m., 21-and-up all night long. It's easiest to find out about events by checking out LIFT's Facebook page.

165 Church St.


(802) 660-2088

Higher Ground

All shows at Higher Ground are typically all ages unless otherwise noted. This venue has great music, food, and a cool intimate atmosphere.

1214 Williston Road

South Burlington

(802) 652-0777

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 32 responses

Very poor
  • 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 36 responses

  • 3% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.
  • 17% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 36% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 22% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 22% Parties? What parties?

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

  • 46% End of finals
  • 38% Winter Snowball dance. School-sponsored
  • 8% During the months of fall and spring
  • 8% There isn't one
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