The 40 best college bars in America

Cambridge Queen's Head Pub, HarvardTwitter/@HarvardCQHCambridge Queen’s Head Pub serves great food and cheap beer.

Campus bars are a fundamental component of the college experience.

Every school has its favourite bar — the one that is as synonymous with a four-year college career as the freshman dorm, quad, or library.

Listed alphabetically by city, we found the best and most beloved college bars in the country.

Mickey's Irish Pub -- Ames, Iowa

109 Welch Ave.

Popular with: Iowa State University

Sitting along Ames' stretch of Welch Avenue nightlife, Mickey's is a favourite among Iowa State students. Many stop over on Tuesdays for a boisterous round of karaoke, accompanied by $US2.50 Long Island iced teas, $US3.50 Bud tallboys and, on occasion, free pizza.

The bar itself is even a proponent of ISU sports, frequently tweeting and posting on its Facebook page about the school's victories.

Rick's American Cafe -- Ann Arbor, Michigan

611 Church St.

Popular with: University of Michigan

In the heart of Ann Arbor, with a second location in East Lansing, Rick's is among U of M students' favourite places to party. Tuesday night is college night, with $US1 well drinks all night and no cover when you show your student ID.

The atmosphere is more club-like than cafe-like, so students who arrive at Rick's should be ready for a good time.

Bourbon Street -- Athens, Georgia

333 E. Broad St.

Popular with: University of Georgia

In downtown Athens, students point to Bourbon Street as the place to be after sundown. Known for its popularity among UGA freshmen, Bourbon Street's best deals are during its power hours, which tend to inspire some table-top dancing.

Those who desire a less rowdy crowd can always head to the upstairs area where pool tables and cheap beer await.

Maggie's Neighbourhood Bar & Grill -- Atlanta, Georgia

2937 N. Druid Hills Rd. NE

Popular with: Emory University

The ultimate college dive bar, Emory students call Maggie's home every Thursday through Saturday. The owner, bouncers, and bartenders are all friendly, and try to get to know everyone on a first-name basis.

The space is deceivingly big with a patio out back, and the patrons are in control of the music. Students race to Maggie's on free T-shirt nights to secure a coveted Maggie's shirt.

Cain & Abel's -- Austin, Texas

2313 Rio Grande

Popular with: University of Texas -- Austin

Known for its hangover-inducing Texas Tea -- the concoction includes vodka, rum, and tequila -- Cain & Abel's is the go-to bar for UT students.

Located near West Campus, Longhorns flock to the bar for tailgates and late-night partying. Thanks to the massive patio, there's plenty of room for everyone.

Top of the Stairs -- Blacksburg, Virginia

217 W. College Ave.

Popular with: Virginia Tech

Top of the Stairs, or 'TOTS,' as it's affectionately known among students, overflows with Greeks and non-Greeks alike most nights, especially karaoke night.

The signature drink is called the Rail, an effective mix of all the liquors on the shelf ('the rail'), which makes for both a great conversation -- and party -- starter. But don't discredit TOTS' extensive food menu, which is available at the bar and for catering.

Kilroy's -- Bloomington, Indiana

319 N. Walnut St. and 502 E. Kirkwood Ave.

Popular with: Indiana University -- Bloomington

Sometimes a night out at IU all depends on which one of the Kilroy's bars everyone's in the mood for. Kilroy's Sports Bar, on Walnut, is a three-level bar and club with a dance floor that holds 200. And, as the name implies, 'Sports' frequently shows IU games and serves all the game day munchies ever needed.

Kilroy's on Kirkwood also shows games and has great food, and it's the better choice for underclassmen who can get in and hang out before nightfall.

The Sink -- Boulder, Colorado

1165 13th St.

Popular with: University of Colorado -- Boulder

Known as much for its burgers as much as its bar, The Sink, which used to be the frat house for Sigma Nu back in the day, is the pick among UC -- Boulder students as the place to pre-game.

It's hard to find a better deal than their 2-3-4 happy hour ($US2 wells, $US3 drafts, $US4 martinis), and if you're hungry you can get your drink with the Texas Onion Straw -- the burger that was featured on Food Network's 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.'

Cambridge Queen's Head Pub -- Cambridge, Massachusetts

45 Quincy St.

Popular with: Harvard University

Formerly known as Loker Commons, Queen's Head was the rebirth of this on-campus pub and events space nestled underneath Memorial Hall.

While Queen's Head is intended for students, grads, and their guests, it's an often-frequented hangout that serves great food and cheap beer. The place is also student-run, ensuring that those who come feel comfortable and are shown a good time.

Kam's -- Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

618 E. Daniel St.

Popular with: University of Illinois -- Urbana-Champaign

Underclassmen rejoice -- most of the bars in and around campus admit anyone 19 and over (but only those 21 and over can drink).

Still, the lax entry rules allow freshmen and sophomores to mingle with their upperclassmen cohorts at places like Kam's, one of the more popular campus-area bars with an upstairs, downstairs, beer garden, and dance floor. The bar has drink specials every night, and on certain nights it even has specials just for UIUC seniors.

He's Not Here -- Chapel Hill, North Carolina

112 1/2 W. Franklin St.

Popular with: University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill

He's Not Here has the true UNC vibe from first drink to last call. Proud supporters of the Tarheels, the folks at 'He's Not' have witnessed more 21st birthdays and graduation celebrations than they can count.

They have an impressive draft list for a college bar, and flaunt some of these beers at prices more suitable to the typical broke student on various days of the week.

Coupe DeVille's -- Charlottesville, Virginia

9 Elliewood Ave.

Popular with: University of Virginia

Located in an active part of 'The Corner' -- a seven-block stretch with all the best stuff to do -- Coupe's, as the students call it, serves good, shareable grub, inexpensive drafts, and late-night burgers for $US1.

Known more as a freshman hangout, Coupe's still draws upperclassmen back time and again, and the bar frequently partners with UVA organisations to host different charity events.

Touchdowns 'TD's' -- Clemson, South Carolina

339 College Ave.

Popular with: Clemson University

Clemson was recently named the most fun college in America, so you know the local nightlife must be good.

On game days and weekends, the Clemson Tigers pack the downtown Death Valley bar. In addition to serving great eats, TD's has live bands, karaoke, and disco nights.

Cornerstone Grill & Loft -- College Park, Maryland

7325 Baltimore Ave.

Popular with: University of Maryland -- College Park

Since Cornerstone took over the old Rendezvous Inn space in 1997, it's been a fixture in the social and night lives of UMD students. They keep 16 beers on tap at this pub-style bar, and their best drink specials are on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

A fierce supporter of the Terrapins, Cornerstone posts a link to Maryland's sports schedule on their website so those who come to watch on the screens know when to drop by.

Dixie Chicken -- College Station, Texas

307 University Dr.

Popular with: Texas A&M

Texas A&M students point to a large southern-country influence on the nightlife in College Station -- and the Dixie Chicken definitely embodies it all.

'Aggies' shuffle down to the bar nightly, and once you've graduated you must christen your class ring with the Aggie Dunk: a Dixie Chicken tradition where graduates drop their class ring into a 32-ounce beer and chug the whole thing.

Harpo's -- Columbia, Missouri

29 S. 10th St.

Popular with: University of Missouri

Harpo's calls itself 'the Missouri bar and grill,' and indeed, it's a legitimate Mizzou tradition to gather here for games.

With a great game day menu -- think juicy burgers, crisp fries, and bucket loads of hot wings -- and cheap beer (especially on Thursday, which is 'Quarter Draw' day), Harpo's has been a Mizzou fixture for the last 40 years.

Pavlov's -- Columbia, South Carolina

2000 Green St.

Popular with: University of South Carolina

Pavlov's has a huge patio to host lots of USC students and live entertainment. In addition to the great space, Pavlov's has billiards and inexpensive drinks, which appeals to the hordes of college students that pack the bar each week.

Bro Bible, The Daily Meal, and Thrillist all named Pavlov's one of the best college bars in the country.

Ugly Tuna Saloona -- Columbus, Ohio

1546 N. High St.

Popular with: Ohio State University

OSU students have a heap ton of Buckeye pride, and one of the most popular places to celebrate victories -- or any occasion, really -- is Ugly Tuna.

Columbus is known for its wide array of happening bars and clubs in the area, but Ugly Tuna is always a safe bet for a no-frills fun time. From $US3 pitchers during their 'Ugly Hours' to 50-cent wings and plenty of screens to catch Big 10 games, it's hard not to find a way to party.

Taylor's Bar & Grill -- Eugene, Oregon

894 E. 13th Ave.

Popular with: University of Oregon

Despite the small-town feel of Eugene, UO students lay down loyalty to Taylor's. Cited for its boisterous, fratty environment, Taylor's has great music, cheap drinks, and a hot crowd.

It's a popular spot among the Greek community at UO, but non-Greeks find it's the best spot to party 'til dawn as well.

Devine's Grill and Sports Bar -- Durham, North Carolina

904 West Main St.

Popular with: Duke University

Duke students flock to Devine's for live entertainment, to catch the latest Duke game, or just to hang out and party with friends on the weekend. Devine's has an extensive beer selection and always has something going on.

Duke students hail Devine's as the best place to watch Blue Devils basketball outside of Cameron Stadium.

The Swamp Restaurant -- Gainesville, Florida

1642 West University Ave.

Popular with: University of Florida

The Swamp, named after the University of Florida football field, was once awarded the title of best college bar by Playboy.

The large patio accommodates the masses of die-hard Gators fans that head to the bar to celebrate sports victories and to party on the weekends. Occasionally The Swamp will host free beer Fridays, which allows patrons to drink as much free beer as they want until 11 p.m.

Brother's Bar & Grill -- Iowa City, Iowa

125 S. Dubuque St.

Popular with: University of Iowa

The University of Iowa has no shortage of bars for Hawkeyes to choose from, but students flock to Brother's for its Mug Club. On Thursday nights students bring $US4 reusable mugs for unlimited $US1 refills on well drinks and beer.

The line at the bar counter can seem never ending, but is always worth it when 25-cent wings are at stake.

Cool Beans Bar & Grill -- Knoxville, Tennessee

1817 Lake Ave.

Popular with: University of Tennessee

Tennessee students love Cool Beans because there's a party every weekend as well as Sunday Funday, which offers happy hour-like drink specials all day.

Cool Beans has darts, tables for beer pong, good music and, of course, University of Tennessee sports games playing on the big screens.

Harry's Chocolate Shop -- West Lafayette, Indiana

329 West State St.

Popular with: Purdue University

Around since 1919, Harry's oozes tradition and has even been deemed an immortal Purdue establishment.

For football and basketball games students and alumni 'go ugly early,' as in seven in the morning early, to commence the pre-game drinking and festivities.

901 Bar & Grill -- Los Angeles, California

2902 Figueroa St.

Popular with: University of Southern California

The 'Nine O' is a sports bar that has no trouble picking sides between LA's most infamous college rivalry: USC v. UCLA. It's Trojans all the way, giving only USC students and faculty a 25% discount on food and drinks.

Established in 1947, 901 offers USC fans a lively atmosphere to watch the game, and an unbeatable two-for-one happy hour special on all drinks.

Kollege Klub -- Madison, Wisconsin

529 N. Lake St.

Popular with: University of Wisconsin

Affectionately dubbed 'KK,' this downtown Madison landmark overflows with old memorabilia from past Badger legends. Current athletes on the Wisconsin basketball and football teams can also be spotted at KK on weekends.

When school is in session, students delight in seasonal drink specials such as 'beer-n-shot' night, when the purchase of any bottled beer comes with a free shot. Bring your own mug on Sunday nights for $US1 any taps.

Kite's Grille & Bar -- Manhattan, Kansas

615 N. 12th St.

Popular with: Kansas State

The 'Little Apple' hosts a shopping and dining-out district known as 'Aggieville,' where the home crowd comes in droves after K-State games.

One of the area's gems is Kite's, home to the Will Ferrell Challenge. The 'Anchorman' star stopped in Manhattan during his comedy tour in 2008 and ordered the joint's newest burger: three pounds of fresh beef topped with American cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle, and tomato. Today, customers who can clean off their plate earn a free T-shirt (and six degrees of separation from Will Ferrell).

Tin Roof -- Nashville, Tennessee

1516 Demonbreun St.

Popular with: Vanderbilt University

Tin Roof is known for its live music every night. It attracts artists of all ranges from local bands to more well-known names like Coolio and Vanilla Ice.

Students love the atmosphere and drink specials. Every week the bar has Thirsty Thursdays, where select drinks are just $US4.

The Boot -- New Orleans, Louisiana

1039 Broadway

Popular with: Tulane University

Across the street from Newcomb Hall, The Boot is the place to meet up with friends before going out or to regroup after party-hopping. Tulane and Loyola University students make it their stomping ground for the 50-cent drink nights and raging Mardi Gras celebrations.

This NOLA watering hole also hosts 'Hurricane parties' on days school is canceled.

Josie Woods Pub -- New York, New York

11 Waverly Pl.

Popular with: New York University

While NYU students have no shortage of bars to choose from, partaking in drunken shenanigans at Josie's is a rite of passage. Filled to the brim with congregations of Greek students and campus clubs, Josie's gives off a serious frat house rec room vibe.

It's just $US1 to play pool, $US5 for a basket of buffalo wings during happy hour, and $US9 for the Grateful Dead, a Jaegermeister drink described as a 'blackout in a glass.'

Knight Library -- Orlando, Florida

11448 University Blvd.

Popular with: University of Central Florida

Every night of the week has a different theme at Knight Library, from karaoke Sundays to country Tuesdays to happy hour Fridays.

Knight Library knows how to attract college students on a budget, with free pitchers of liquor until midnight on Wednesdays and Single Saturdays, with certain drinks priced at $US1 until midnight.

Brick Street -- Oxford, Ohio

36 East High St.

Popular with: Miami University Ohio

Brick Street is open to people 18 and up with an over-21 balcony overlooking the bar.

Students can reminisce about their younger years with a throwback '90s night every Tuesday. On the weekends Brick Street hosts beat the clock, where the number of the hour at which you arrive is the price you pay for a pitcher of beer.

Smokey Joe's -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

210 S. 40th St.

Popular with: University of Pennsylvania

Smokey Joe's is known as 'The Pennstitution,' serving Penn's residents for more than 70 years. It's so embedded in campus life that, during his commencement address, President Gerald Ford called Smokey Joe's the 17th institution of higher learning at UPenn.

Snag a table under vintage photographs of school athletes between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. for $US1 hot dogs and $US2 16-ounce pitchers.

Hemingway's Cafe -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

3911 Forbes Ave.

Popular with: University of Pittsburgh

Down in the 'Oakland Zoo,' Panthers fans know Hemingway not as America's beloved novelist, but as the spot to drink cheaply and excessively. Located under the freshman dorms at Pitt, Hemmie's packs the recently-turned-21 crowd and serves burgers, cheesesteaks, and other bar fare at half-price during the afternoon and late evening.

Order a pitcher of shots (because that's a thing) or a 20-ounce cocktail, which comes with a candy necklace or Ring Pop.

El Hefe -- Scottsdale, Arizona

4425 North Saddlebag Trail

Popular with: Arizona State University

Arizona State students love El Hefe because you can come early for one of the best burgers in town and then return later that night for the best dance spot in old town Scottsdale.

Even Scott Disick, Kourtney Kardashian's long-time boyfriend, has made an appearance at the Arizona party spot.

Indigo -- State College, Pennsylvania

112 West College Ave.

Popular with: Penn State University

Even though it only opened five years ago, Indigo has established itself as the place for Nittany Lions to go dancing and get great drink specials.

Indigo always hosts huge bashes for events like homecoming and Halloween, and books guest DJs to perform throughout the semesters.

Houndstooth Sports Bar -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama

1300 University Blvd.

Popular with: University of Alabama

Located just two blocks from Bryant-Denny Stadium, The Houndstooth got its name from Paul 'Bear' Bryant, who coached Alabama to six national championships during his 25-year career and had an affinity for houndstooth-print hats. Memorabilia and photos of him cover nearly every inch of the faded burgundy walls.

Catch a 'Bama game on one of the 36 flatscreen TVs (they're even in the bathroom, so fans don't miss a moment) or on the 120-inch HD projection screen.

The Tombs -- Washington, District of Columbia

1226 36th St. NW

Popular with: Georgetown University

Founded in 1962 by a Georgetown alum, The Tombs calls itself 'a neighbourhood restaurant by day and a popular gathering place for Georgetown students by night.'

Students gather for Hoya basketball games, or just to hang out, share a cheap pitcher, and munch on some tater tots from the late-night menu.

See some other schools that know how to have a good time.

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