Popular Bars in Iowa City

Girls getting sassy and guys looking spiffy, the week is over and it’s Friday night. Time to head to the bars!

If you are left wondering which bars everyone goes to these days, well search no further.

First off, for the younger crowd, head to Brothers Bar & Grill (“Brothers” for short) by around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. to get the most out of your night, those are the times most people starting showing up. Be sure to check out the drink specials, during FAC on there are usually long islands set at one dollar each. However, if crowded bars are not your forte, this may not be the bar for you. Brother’s can get really crowded as the night goes on. But, the environment is lively and full of expectations. The dance floor is a great place to ‘let your hair down’ and have a good time.

For those older ‘bar goers’, DCs is your best choice. Not only can you have an environment for some serious mingling but also, for sports fanatics, this is your venue. Surrounded by flat screen TVs on the upstairs and lower level there are bars on both so you can enjoy a drink and cheer on your favorite team. The popular drinks to get are the $4 dollar steins of beer on tap. The nightly specials are also set a good price and are sufficiently strong.

Another sports bar in addition to DCs, Sports Column, or “Spoco” as many refer to it, is the ‘typical’ sports bar. Numerous flat screen TVs found everywhere you can see, as well as booths and high tables to sit to have a great beer and burger and watch a game. During the Hawkeye football season, this is one of the most popular bars where people go to watch the game. Not only can girls come and enjoy a fun night out with close friends while guys can enjoy a good game, but, if it is your 21st birthday, Spoco has a drink special with 21 pitchers of beer for free as long as you provide ID to prove it is your birthday and you are 21. They are also known for having the classic Jell-O shots reasonably priced with a lot of alcohol in them.

The popular dance bar almost every college student has memories from is Union. On the website for the bar, Union was on Playboy’s list of best parties in the U.S. In addition, it has recently won the Girls Gone Wild Wildest Bar Contest. Established in 1993, this is one of the longest running bar establishments in Iowa City. It is also the largest venue in not only Iowa City but also, the Big Ten Conference. With 4 bar areas (one is closed off most of the time unless there is some kind of event), and a huge dance floor and DJ area, this is a place anyone can go to shake your booty and get lost in the music and ecstatic atmosphere.

If you're not looking for the typical sports bar and just want to relax in a jazzy hip environment, head to Martinis. They have a pool table, nice bar area and an outdoor patio lit with colored lights when the weather is nice. There is also an alluring stained glass window toward the entrance of the bar. Known for the best martinis reasonably priced at $7, this environment is best for a more laid-back night.

Clinton Street Social Club is an up and coming bar. It's a great spot to have a few drinks and appetizers before a long night out of drinking and mingling. The ambiance has dimmed lighting and is located above the summit with two floors. There are two main bars as well as a kitchen where the delicious masterpieces emerge. On the lower level, local bands with jazzy tones or ‘coffee shop’ music genre come to play for those looking to have a friendly exchange with those around them. If the ambiance and location didn’t persuade you to try this bar, the drinks should win you over. In the Cannery Row Beer cocktail’ section, the “porch crawler” drink is one to try if you like Blue Moon beer. “Mulled Claret,” found in the wine cocktails section has a great taste for those who like the tart taste of wine. Others in this section have merlot or cabernet components as well as other various additions in each of the cocktails. In the Booze Concoctions section, the A’ La Fille drink with tequila, cucumber and lime syrup is a good mix.

There are plenty more bars in the Iowa City downtown area worth a try. If you still have no idea which bar to head to, go try one out and see for yourself. The nightlife in Iowa City is what some would call, legendary. Not only valuable memories can be made, but also to have a good time meeting new friends or visit old ones. Ranked as the number two party school in the U.S., Iowa City is a destination for those looking for a fun, energetic nightlife.


•Brother’s Bar & Grill

125 S. Dubuque St.


124 S. Dubuque St.

•Sports Column

12 S. Dubuque St.

•The Union Bar

121 E. College St.


127 E. College St.

•Clinton St. Social Club

18 ½ S. Clinton St.