From reading some posts and comments on various articles on WRNL, I took the notion to begin a fan post about the Campus Town bars in Ames. I encourage all of you to join in on this and tell of some stories of your college bar experiences at Iowa State/Ames. Whether a current undergrad or 50 year alum, let us know what it was like for you.
For those of you unfamiliar, Campus Town is on Welch Ave. which is one block south of the ISU campus across Lincoln Way. This area is well known for partying, Superdogs (3,000 calorie hot dog), random hook ups, dumpster fires, and incredible riots. I have compiled a list of most of the current Campus Town bars worth your time. The bar scene is great and diverse for a university in the middle of Farmland, USA. Another main area of bars is downtown Ames, more of the older crowd and townies. There are also other bars scattered around Ames, but we will focus on Campus Town. If I left out a bar you particularly enjoy, don’t chew my ass out, but post about it yourself. Enjoy!
This list is in alphabetical order. I don’t believe in putting your favorites first, unless it’s the Cyclones or Oreo Fluff! Damn that sounds good right about now…
Address: 2504 Lincoln Way.
Crowd: Mostly college, some locals
Also known as: Café B. This bar is famous for Long Island Iced Tea. And trust me, two of these babies and you think you look like The Mayor. This is a smaller bar and not a lot of room, but worth a drink or two. This sits on Lincoln Way about a ¼ of block west of Welch Ave. Basketball team frequents here from my experience. Check this place out when in Ames. Grab some exotic food here for a unique experience. Mostly college students, but the older crowd does wander in here as well.
Address: 116 Welch Ave.
Get in the mood for Café Mood! This is definitely a dance club and the owner is working on getting big name artists in there such as: Lil’ Wayne. I talked to him once. This bar was the old Sergeant Pepper’s up until last year. It still looks very much the same, but with a much different atmosphere. My friends and I went there before it ever opened and got free shots for an hour! The staff seems very nice as well. They are currently in the process of making this a Café by day, and club by night, type-of-thing. Oh, and free Wi-Fi! Also, they claim to have the longest happy hour in town. In the future we may see this attempt to draw in locals and passer-throughs.
Address: 2430 Lincoln Way.
Crowd: College and locals
Famous location, different name. This sits on the corner of two of the most well-known streets in Cyclone Town: Lincoln Way and Welch Ave. This was most previously known as: Headliners. And was the famous People’s. If I owned a bar anywhere in Ames, I would own this one. This is a huge one floor bar with a big stage fit for some wild dancing and live bands. There is a big island bar with great drinks. The music is a great mix of rock, pop, and dance. This bar seems hit or miss. Some nights it is packed (like the Jack), and other nights it is like Memorial Stadium in Lawrence (quiet and desolate). On slower nights, I have seen the locals here, especially if there is a band. I haven’t had their food there, but I hear it is normal bar food and good. Check this famous (locationed) bar out if you’re out and about.
Address: 121 Welch Ave.
Crowd: College, alumni
You haven’t had the real bar experience in Ames unless you come to Cy’s! I hit this place up every night I’m out. My uncle visited this bar plenty while he was in Ames, so it has been around a while. This is a pretty large bar that has an outdoor patio. They have been in trouble several times for serving underage and overflow of capacity, but that’s what’s good about it! There is one, big, main bar and they have great birthday specials. There isn’t a lot of seating, but a lot of standing room. There’s a small dance floor and live DJ’s on the weekends. And of course, plenty of Iowa State memorabilia on the walls. This is in the heart of Campus Town and usually a line to get in. But don’t be scared off by the line, you gotta check this bar out! Why? Because it’s Cy’s. That’s why.
Address: 216 Stanton Ave.
Crowd: College and locals
Sports and Tacos! Who don’t love that?! Es Tas is on Stanton Ave., which is one block east of Welch. This bar is popular and probably a favorite in Campus Town due to the cleanliness and sporting atmosphere. There are a lot of beers on tap, several pool tables, and of course a taco bar! Come here on Taco Tuesdays and Burger Wednesdays. Great deals on food. There is plenty of seating and many televisions where avid sport fans watch their favorite teams. I personally haven’t gone here a ton, but the several times I was, I was very impressed with the food and excellent service. This bar is surrounded by college student housing, but locals and families seen in here as well. Compared to other bars, they actually give you a FULL shot. None of that half shot plastic cup stuff that you get at communion on Sunday’s. If you want food at a bar in Campus Town, get it here!
Lost and Found:
Address: 121 Welch Ave.
Exactly as the name implies. It’s a lost bar, but once you find it, you will always remember where it is. This sits right above Cy’s Roost. You have to enter Cy’s to get to it. There are two stairways to get to it. There is a nice view from the upstairs window that overlooks Welch Ave. and there are couches (not meant to be burned), but to sit on. More of a clubby bar with hip-hop music and lights. $2 bottles and $2 mixed drinks Saturdays before 10 pm. Check it out, then head back down to Cy’s to hang with Cyclone fans.
Mickey’s Irish Pub:
Address: 109 Welch Ave.
Crowd: College, passer-throughs
"Whiskey river take my mind"… then get hammered! That’s the feel of this bar. Well known for a Moose head mounted on the wall with women’s bras hanging from it. It’s a symbol of this bar. The bar opens up into a lower floor with one pool table. There is also FREE popcorn, and FREE hot dogs. FREE: one of my favorite words. Then you go up about four steps to the main area. There is a bar here and gets super crowded during busy times. There’s one big TV and karaoke on certain nights. One night out, karaoke was over and the chants began, "One more song! One more song!" Which then quickly turned into, "Let’s go State! Let’s go State!" Good mix of music as well. If you want to be super adventurous, check out the basement (I know it as: The Rape Kitchen). There’s a fog machine on down there and absolutely no breeze, so you can’t see… ever. Just keep an eye out for the stripper pole in the corner. Good place to FAC, especially in the early fall and spring due to the outdoor deck. This place has an older feel with wood floors and wood on the walls. Worth the trip if you’re in town.
Address: 2522 Chamberlain St.
Country. No bones about this. Because I was in the Ag College, I knew just about everyone here. For the agriculture students, you had to go here every night at some point. Although I am stressing the country/ag side of things, don’t be fooled. I had friends from all kinds of majors and they frequent here. There’s 3 floors with a bar on each. The top floor overlooks the dance floor on the main floor. And to answer your question, yes, people line dance, pretzel, and two step. The dance floor gets fairly crowded after a while but great for some good ol’ Iowa barn dancin’! The basement is dingy with concrete flooring and has karaoke on Wednesdays and Fridays. Outdoor patio for the smokers and minors jumping the fences. Pool tables on main floor and basement. College students mostly, but students do bring their families here as well on the weekends and after football games. Grab a Busch Light when you’re here!
Paddy’s Irish Pub:
Address: 124 Welch Ave.
The only thing Irish is the flag hanging. This is one of the more popular bars for people of all because it is a big bar. The floor is also well known for being sticky. No seriously, the floor is nasty, but I still love this place. My favorite things about his place is how spacious it is and the free pool. This place is pretty large for one level as the bar seating and standing area extends around the bar itself. Karaoke here on Tuesdays isn’t as packed as Outlaws is, but still a good time. The music is a great mix of everything from rock to country to pop. Mostly college aged students, especially Thursday’s.
Address: 126 Welch Ave.
Club and preppy. That’s how to distinguish this bar. The music is hip-hop and dance mixes. There is a decent sized dance floor where a lot of grinding action takes place (Holla!). There is also a stripper pole. If you are in the older crowd, probably don’t recommend going there. If you are of the younger crowd and want a dance club, then this is your place! Good dance music and a packed dance floor by 11 pm. I frequent here on occasion. This bar sits directly below Paddy’s. There is an area of booths that are cut off from the dance floor aspect, so if you wanna escape, you can. Beer Towers Wednesday-Saturday!
Welch Ave. Station:
Address: 207 Welch Ave.
Crowd: Locals, Alumni, college
ISU, ISU, ISU! This is how I feel when I come here. I love to see the pride of Iowa State in here (not the marching band this time). There are a bunch of Iowa State pictures on the walls and there is always people watching sports. A great place to go when the Clones are on the road for football or basketball. It sits below Pizza Pit on Welch Avenue. I frequent this bar, especially to start the night. It’s a calmer bar that draws a mix of people: locals and college students. There are several pool tables and other arcade games (Buck Hunter!!!!). This is a narrow bar but is long. If you gotta use the porcelain throne, this is the place to do it. Great bathrooms. They have specials quite often that are posted so you don’t have to ask. I check this place out on Thirsty Thursdays and get me two PBR tall boys for $3. You have to also try the ‘Pissed Off Japanese Minnow Farmer’. One of a kind drink. It is a fruity drink, but hey, I can’t drink the only thing still made in America all night long (reference to PBR). You can also grab a bite to eat from here that comes directly from Pizza Pit. The bartenders are second to none in my opinion. When in Ames, do what the Cyclones do, go to Welch Ave. Station.
For those of you with great stories of this historic place, please share! If you are from out of town, take the post, stories, and advice more serious than a Black Friday special at Wal Mart! Hopefully this post helps you in the future to figuring out (or wanting to check out) these bars. Ames F**king, Iowa! Go State!