It’s always a toss-up to say what the best part of an evening out is. Pregame and preparation are always fun, but last call is also a crucial part of a night out, especially when you’re going to school in the Midwest and the town closes down around 2 AM.
You can really get a sense of the type of establishment you’ve been frequenting by learning what it closes with each night. In New York, sometimes a sick sense of accomplishment coincides with every last call you actually make it to. 4 AM is much easier said than done when you’ve been trained to turn in after 2. Sometimes, though, regardless of the time, you’re going to get the same gratification.
What’s sad is that no one actually NEEDS that final drink at last call, but everyone panics all the same, as though they haven’t been drinking all night anyway.
By far, on my undergrad campus, the favorite establishments were moderately-to-very dirtball bars filled with a slightly frat-tastic crowd of kids, and sometimes bartenders in basketball shorts. Some of said frat boys were known to wear sweatpants on the rare occasion. But the best part of these bars was the unquestionable fact that come 2 AM, the lights would flicker on and the speakers would be blasting either Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” or “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers, depending on which venue you had chosen for the night.
As we finished our last of too many dollar Long Islands (pre-mixed and always a terrible idea), we’d belt out the lyrics and take pictures that could only be used for blackmail purposes later on.
Thursday nights almost religiously ended at our favorite basement bar. This highly overrated place was the highlight of campus, a seniors-only establishment that we loved dearly and long for when paying anywhere from eight to twelve dollars a drink in the real world.
Someone lost a NorthFace or a coat there every weekend. It was unnecessarily jam packed with people waiting at the bar to order sharkbowls, which periodically ran out and were always either tequila- or vodka-heavy. The DJ was guaranteed to play a great mix, the crowd was always the same, and we felt like the cast of Cheers in the Midwest… only about fifteen years younger.
These were the places where no one remembered your name, and that was okay. You always had your table, you knew the door guys, and most importantly, you felt as though you owned a little part of that bar. It’s the place you first need to visit when you go back for alum weekends and football games, and still, at 2 AM, you can guarantee the last song blaring throughout the basement and ricocheting off the orange and turquoise walls hasn’t changed and won’t anytime soon.
I’ve shared my two favorite last call songs from college, tell us yours!