Being college students we all get stressed out from homework, papers, projects, and exams so when the weekends finally get here its time to party! I've been going to ISU's bars since the day I turned 21 and I have just about checked out every single one of them. Even though I have a handful of bars that I usually attend on the weekends sometimes I get a feeling like the weekends are all blending together and I need a change. With gas prices being expensive most college kids can't afford to travel around to different universities to get a change of pace. My experience in the bars have made me discover there are a lot of ways to change up your weekends and keep it cheap so your bank account doesn't take a hit. What I do if I notice the excitement in my weekends starting to disappear is go to a random bar that I have never been to before or one that I have only stopped in a couple times. In doing this I have found a few bars that aren't necessarily as popular as the Pub II and Daddio's, but they still have a lot to offer. I have classified these bars as some of the most underrated bars at Illinois State University and they include Mulligans and Brewe-Ha's. I will give you factors on what makes these bars so great based on my own personal experience and how these bars can add unexpected excitement to your ISU nightlife.
My vote for the most underrated bar at ISU goes to Mulligans in downtown Bloomington. This bar has hands down the best drink in the entire Bloomington Normal serving a strong Long Island Ice Tea in a huge mason jar for about 6 bucks. I would recommend sticking to just one of these because they put 7 different types of alcohol in it and if you aren't careful you could very easily not remember the rest of your night. Mulligan's also has a back patio to enjoy the weather when it is nice out also a convenient place to grab a smoke. Many students start their nights off at Mulligans with a Long Island Ice Tea to get their night going but because it is a small hole in the wall bar it often times gets looked over by ISU partygoers. Mulligans is a nice change of atmosphere that makes you feel like you are in a small town bar while still providing great music and live bands from time to time to keep the party going all night long. This gets my vote for most underrated bar at ISU because it offers everything from great drinks to a great atmosphere for how small the bar is. I would simply say don't judge a bar from its outside. Mulligans just might be that added flavor to your weekend you were looking for.
I put Brewe-Ha's in my top three because it often gets overlooked because the Pub II is right across the street from it. The Pub is one of the best bars at ISU so most students would find it absurd to go to Brewe-Ha's right across the street. Brewe-Ha's doesn't look like much of a bar because it is significantly smaller than the Pub and it doesn't have a beer garden but that doesn't mean you can't have a good time. This bar gives you a very homey feel that never really gets to crowded and has great drink specials every night of the week. They have games like darts and video games and if its not too busy I have been there when serious games of flip cup have started. If you aren't in the mood to deal with a crowd and just want to get together with your friends and grab a drink this is a bar that would suit your needs perfectly. One of the things this bar has that no other bar has in Bloomington Normal has is a pet. Yes I said pet. The owner of the bar lets his golden retriever wander around the bar and mingle with the students. It is one of the friendliest dogs and will go up to the bar, give a little bark and sure enough the bartender will toss a treat right into the dogs mouth. The dog isn't the only one that can get food though. With great bar food I would recommend grabbing an order of the best cheese balls in town. So if you ever get into one of those chill drinking moods like I do sometimes Brewe-Ha's is a great bar to grab a couple cheap drinks and good food with your friends while getting a nightlife experience you cant get anywhere else at ISU. Sure its more relaxing and laid back but I ranked this one of ISU most underrated bars because it gets overshadowed by the Pub and is a truly comfortable place to grab a drink or three.
I decided to pick one bar from downtown Bloomington (Mulligan's) and one from Uptown Normal (Brewe-Ha's) so I was able to give you an underrated bar to check out depending on what side of town you were on. The reason I picked these two bars as the most underrated at ISU was because when my friends and I decided to go to these bars I wasn't very thrilled at first because I hadn't really heard much about them or experienced them yet for that matter. What makes these places underrated was the little publicity these bars get compared to the surprisingly fun time you can have. If you have never been to these bars before and are stuck doing the same thing every weekend, I would highly suggest making a spontaneous trip to either of these establishments with your friends. After spending some time in these two bars I ended up falling in love and continue to go back to this day because sometimes the most fun can come from the place you least expect it.
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