For those of us who went to college in Upstate New York, the memories of our collegetown bars will stay with us forever. Whether you went to a big city university, a private school, or a college in a tiny, rural community, the towns all had Cheers-like watering holes that we remember with fondness. Here is a short list of 15 great college bars. Are they the best? Probably not. I mean who could pick the best college bar in a city like Syracuse or Buffalo? But they are worth stopping in for a pint with your alumni friends if you go back to “see where it all started.” Because this list is just 15, we encourage you to add your favorite college bar in the comment section. Especially from college towns not represented here like Binghamton, Fredonia, Troy, Utica, etc. (Remember: In this age of COVID-19, bars are either not open yet or are open on a modified basis. Please check their website for details).
As would be expected, I must start the list off with my sentimental favorite from my own college days in the 1960s in Albany. The Washington Tavern is situated deep within an area loaded with students. From SUNY Albany to the College of Saint Rose to Albany Law and others, this has been a favorite college drinking spot for over a half century. Even today they stay current with DJ party nights, light-on-the-wallet Happy Hour snacks, $5 pint cans and a designated night where if you wear your school colors you get a BOGO on beers. The WT is a great memory from this Albany Business College graduate.
250 Western Ave., Albany
For 42 years, Faegan’s has been pouring for students from all citywide colleges. One of the best “gimmicks” of any bar. Their famous “Flip Night” allows you to flip, heads or tails, for your beer to be free. For cash-strapped students, this has been a way to make it through any bar night in the city. Food is excellent, too. Place gets pretty raucous on a Syracuse game night!
734 S. Crouse Ave., Syracuse
No problem finding a watering hole in this famous college party town. With 7,500 students at two city colleges (SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College), the libations pour at a pretty steady rate from Thursday nights all through the weekend. Pick a bar, any bar, and you will be sure to run into campus friends or make new ones. The Red Jug Pub on Main Street seems to be the hot spot right now. And they have the routine down pat here, since there are popular Red Jug Pubs in several other Upstate college towns.
195 Main St., Oneonta
Just as you would expect a place called O’Callaghans Pub to be: sports on 17 TV screens, 3 pool tables, 2 dart boards, and food served until after midnight. And a Guinness…