Party Scene

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Party Scene


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4 College Sophomore

Party Scene: Going out and experiencing the party life was not something that I was over excited to do when I came to Cornell. However, I became friends with an upperclassmen, and he invited me to a party that they were having at their frat. I am so thankful that I found these people. It is one of my favorite places to go when I go out because of the people. If you can find a group of people like that, then the party scene is great! CAUTION: Always go to a party with someone you trust. As great as the people are, it is always safer to be around a friend.

3 people found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Party Scene: If I was ever looking for a party I usually had no trouble finding one.

3 College Sophomore

Party Scene: There are a lot of fraternity parties that go on. People also have house parties. They have a good impact because people can relax after a week of work.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Party Scene: There is always something to do and a very strong greek life.

3 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Party Scene: I really rarely go out, so I'm not the best person to ask about this. I prefer smaller things with friends. The couple of times I've gone out, it's been okay. I have nothing to compare it to, though.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

View student contributors

Nightlife is not lacking at Cornell, despite Ithaca’s small size and somewhat remote location. The combination of Greek life and the bar scene provides opportunities to socialize and meet new people, especially from Thursday through Sunday nights. However, nightlife is very limited to the bars and the frat parties, with only a bit of variety in between. Even with the many decent bars in Collegetown and the Commons, going out can become routine and somewhat boring. There are many more bars than clubs in the area, so much of the nightlife centers around drinking, which makes activities even more limited for the under-21 crowd—most places do check IDs and are strict). Most bars have last call at 1 a.m., after which many students go to house or frat parties, so even those who are older experience a limited social scene.

Still, various campus groups host night activities that are fun and alcohol-free. Local bands play at the Nines, Johnny O’s, the Haunt, Stella’s, and elsewhere. In past years, popular bands have held campus-wide concerts, including Moby, Incubus, Dave Matthews Band, Ludacris, and Death Cab for Cutie.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Collegetown
  • Commons
  • North Campus fraternities and sororities
  • West Campus
Student Favorites
  • Chapter House Brew Pub
  • Dunbar's
  • Royal Palm
  • Rulloff's
Other Places to Check Out
  • Chapter House (Stewart Ave.)
  • Cornell Concert Events
  • Evening Booze Cruising on Cayuga Lake
  • The Haunt
  • Ide's Bowling
  • Micawber's (Ithaca bar)
  • The Nines (local concerts)
Local Specialties
Dr. Pepper Shot: Amaretto with Bacardi 151 lit on fire then dropped into a glass of beer. The rest you can figure out.
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Card games
  • Century Club
  • Flip cup
  • Kings
  • Power Hour
Useful Resources for Nightlife
Closing Time
1 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Big Red Barn, Chapter House Brew Pub, The Nines

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Johnny O's

Located in Collegetown, this is a popular place for fraternity and sorority students.

408 College Ave.


(607) 272-0999

Level B Bar & Lounge

A more upscale bar located in Collegetown, Level B has a lounge and dance floor.

410 Eddy St.


(607) 272-3888

Big Red Barn

This is a popular hangout for graduate students. Anyone 21-and-up, though, can enjoy a beer, and students of all ages can go to listen to live music, hear presentations on community issues, salsa dancing, and engage in other fun activities.

Cornell Campus, behind A.D. White House and Gardens


(607) 254-4723

The Nines

The Nines is a great place to relax and have a few beers and a pizza with friends. Local bands, as well as cover bands, frequent this old firehouse often.

311 College Ave.

(607) 272-1888

Micawber's Tavern

Only two miles off campus, this bar is very popular with students who live off campus. There is never a cover charge, yet students agree it's not the cheapest place to drink. But it's where the hottest Cornell students tend to hang out.

118 N Aurora St.

(607) 273-9243

Royal Palm

This is what you would expect of a college bar. Cheap drinks, run-down interior with past Cornellians names carved into the wooden tables. This is the place to enjoy your college years because no matter what, you can always find friends at the Royal Palm.

209 Dryden Rd.

(607) 272-9636

Stella's Martini Bar

Stella's has live jazz music two nights a week. They have a great drink menu with 30 scotches, 19 bourbons, and three dozen martinis and cocktails. It has brought the lack of sophistication back into Ithaca. Food is served daily until 10 p.m., and jazz music is played from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Smoking is prohibited during the hours food is served.

403 College Ave.

(607) 277-1490


Aside from getting their name from a bank robber (check out the Web site), they have a great menu with everything from crab cake sandwiches to burgers, with an excellent Sunday brunch. It's a bit crowded with Cornell students, but there is never a cover to drink here.

411 College Ave.

(607) 272-6067

Maxie's Supper Club & Oyster Bar

Maxie's offers New Orleans-style seafood and Southern Comfort cooking, live music every Sunday night, Late-night menu, great liquor list, delicious specialty drinks, such as the Maxie-rita and the Oyster Shooter, microbrews, and boutique wines.

635 W. State St.

(607) 272-4136

Felicia's Atomic Lounge

Felicia's has a very simple menu and a very straightforward lounge philosophy that says a lounge is for lounging. The funky decor, with metal panels and velvet couches, fits nicely. They have a good selection of microbrews, as well as a rotating Ithaca beer each week.

508 W. State St.

(607) 273-2219


This is the unofficial hockey bar on campus where you can meet the players after Saturday night games. It doesn't have the best selection or the greatest atmosphere, but many students enjoy it week after week.

409 Eddy St.

(607) 216-0904

The Haunt

Music ranges from hard rock to boy bands, so it's a place everyone should check out. Depending on who is playing, there is either a cover or a higher ticket price. To buy tickets in advance call (607) 277-2726. There are also drink specials, a full menu with lunch specials, and a take out menu available.

702 Willow Ave.

(607) 275-3447

Chapter House Brew Pub

With happy hour every day except Saturday, and a huge selection of beers on tap, it's no wonder this is a Cornell student's favorite hang out. Live bands play almost every Saturday with music ranging from gritty country to rock. Just a $5 cover lets you enjoy these great bands.

400 Stewart Ave.

(607) 277-9782


Every night, Castaways has a different band or DJ with music ranging from reggae to alternative-country. With 75 bottled beers, 12 draft beers, and a full menu, you won't be disappointed.

413-415 Taughannock Blvd.

(607) 272-1370

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

Fraternity and sorority parties are the most common source of entertainment. The Cornell campus has many concerts, comedy shows, dances, etc. at night that you can go to free of charge or at a reduced price. Student centers and dormitories often host game nights, movie nights, and similar.

Student Polls

What is the best day of the week for nightlife on your college campus?    Based on 33 responses

  • 0% Sunday
  • 0% Monday
  • 0% Tuesday
  • 0% Wednesday
  • 3% Thursday
  • 52% Friday
  • 45% Saturday

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 95 responses

Very poor
  • 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 64 responses

  • 62% Walk.
  • 2% Taxis.
  • 22% Public transportation.
  • 9% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 5% Use a designated driver.
  • 0% There are no good options.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 49 responses

  • 49% Frat houses or Frat annexes
  • 22% Friends
  • 18% I don't care for parties.
  • 7% Bars
  • 4% Clubs

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 97 responses

  • 15% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.
  • 47% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 32% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 3% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 2% Parties? What parties?

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 51 responses

  • 100% Slope Day
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