Iowa City, IA
(A drinking town with a football problem)
Iowa City is probably most famous as being home to the University of Iowa
and the nationally renowned University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
. A college town
in the truest sense. It is widley known in the northern midwest
as being an enormous party town
. Located 40-50 miles west of the Illinois
border, it is approximately two hours east from Des Moines, IA
and four hours west from Chicago, IL
Iowa City served as the Iowa Territorial/State capitol from 1839-1857. The Old Capitol Building
is now a National Historic Landmark
and is located directly in the center of town. The gold dome of the building (destroyed in 2001 by a fire) is visible for miles and is the symbol of The University of Iowa
. The town was the end of the Mississippi and Missouri Railways. The Iowa City area was a launching point for numerous Mormon handcart expeditions
. Mormon Trek Road
and the Mormon Handcart Park
Those who believe that Iowa is a boring, flat land of corn will be surprised upon visiting. The Iowa River
bisects the town, creating some very
large hills (these can be problematic in the winter). It gets very cold in the winter, and very hot in the summer. The worst of both worlds
in that respect. The average high temperature is 59 degrees fahrenheit
, the average low is 39 degrees, with an annual rainfall of 32 inches. In the summer the river and local trees make an excellent combination, and it is a very appealing place to live.
Living and Working in Iowa City:
The cost of living in Iowa City is extrordinarily cheap. Apartments and houses (almost universally occupied by students) are plentiful. Employment is almost never a problem; the university and its hospitals employ over 23,500 people, and many major companies are located in the area, such as Oral B Laboratories
, Procter & Gamble
, Rockwell International
(United Technology Automotive
), and Hy-Vee Food Stores
. The companies just listed each employ from 250-2000 people.
(and now for my favorite part...)
IOWA CITY NIGHTLIFE!:
If you like to party, dance, drink, listen to live music, are underaged, etc., Iowa City is the
best place to be in the midwest. The party scene is fantastic. During the school year you are likely to find keggers
on any day of the week, and multiple on the weekends. There are 30-plus bars near and in downtown Iowa City, and you can get in to most of them if you are at least 18. Control of alcohol is extremely relaxed; you will never have a problem getting a drink
, no matter your age. Honestly. It's crazy
. Here is a list of the city's most popular bars with some descriptions:
Malone's Irish Pub
Dancing is the focus at Malone's, and most nights the place is jam-packed. The music is very loud. If you like to talk or sit down
while drinking, Malone's is not the best place to go. It is great for dancing, however. You must be 18 to get in, cover as follows: Friday and Saturday before 10 p.m., $5 for minors, free for legals; after 10 p.m., $10 for minors, $5 for legals.
Nearly identical to Malone's, but slightly bigger and you must be 19 to get in. Go here if you want to avoid a lot of freshmen.
The Union Bar
This is the king of dancing bars. It's about the only thing to do there, actually. They are relatively strict with the alcohol. It covers two stories, with separate dance floors and music on each floor. You will find loads of sweaty, dancing freshmen here. 18 to get in, cover similar to above.
a.k.a The Fieldwhore
Similar to the Union, sometimes known as the Fieldwhore because a lot of relatively older (older meaning 30+ here) guys tend to hang out here. Two stories, but the top floor has a large foyer
that looks down upon the first floor dance floor. You can spit/throw small objects at people
, just don't get caught. 18 to get in, cover similar to above.
On Wednesday nights there is no cover, $2 You-call-it
's, and it is packed
. Loads of fun, cheap drinks, no dancing. Highly recommended if you happen to be in town on a Wednesday. 18 to get in.
"-ist bar in town. They used to light the bar on fire
with 151 Rum
(extremely awesome, and of course dangerous), but this practice has recently ceased because a girl decided to "breath fire
" by spitting her shot into the flames (eight injured, three hospitalized). The only reason to go there is because they have large, comfy couches
and tables you can play drinking games
on if you get there early. There is a dancefloor. 18 to get in, erratic cover charges.
(or just "Jake's")-
This is the bar to go to for birthdays. Their birthday special gives you enough beer to drown a dorm
for an insanely low price
. Dancing on the second floor. 19 to get in, $5 for cover, very strict about underaged drinking and fake ID's.
This is more of a poolhall, so go here if you like pool. They frequently have $1 pitcher specials. 16-plus pool tables, cheap hourly table rates. No dancing. 19 to get in, erratic cover.
Specializes in live jazz bands
. All the music junkies
hang out here and there is no dancing. This is one of the few places where you might actually want to eat as well as drink - the food is pretty good. Did I mention no dancing? Definitely
no dancing. The entrance requirements are sketchy; I've gotten in without being carded before but I've also been stopped at the door with an underaged ID. Usually no cover, but that depends on the band.
Live bands almost every night of the week with a great variety of styles. Great place for live music altogether. No dance floor, but that doesn't stop people if the band is right. 18 to get in, cover depends on the band(s).
A great place to go and sit down. A little small, but they have $2 You-call-it
s until 11 p.m. Interestingly, they usually mark you legal with only a colored marker. If you want to save yourself the cost of a fake ID, buy a few colored markers and go to Bo James, and you're as good as legal. Rumored to be 19 to get in, but I went there twice while 18 with no problems. Cover is $3-$5 for underagers, free for legals. No dancing.
Popular for their $1.50 slices of pizza on Sunday night. It's very good, highly recommended. They occasionally have some fantastic specials. Also, entrance security is known to be a little lax. To that end, I'm sorry but I don't know the cover there. ;)
The author's favorite bar. Never a cover charge, always a place to sit. They have a beer garden
that is fantastic when the weather is warm, and they serve anyone with a face
. The food is also excellent and they carry a large variety of beers. It is a few blocks from the downtown area which means there aren't many hoe'd-out freshmen girls
(that can be a plus or a minus, I suppose). It's actually two connected bars, but everyone calls it Fitzy's and treats it like a single bar. They play all sorts of neat music, from Bob Marley
to the Beatles
at just the right volume so you can listen but still talk to your pals. Highly Recommended
This list will be updated with new bars/info as I gain the knowledge.
In summary... If you're a binge-drinking college student
, welcome to paradise. If you're someone who prefers a little peace, quiet, and lack of sex, drugs, and alcohol
in their town, you might want to steer clear
. I have never let a visitor leave without an outrageously good time, and all the stereotypes about Iowa are always dispelled. I love Iowa City, but it's definitely not the place for everyone, and it can be easy to get in trouble if you're careless. Be careful, have fun, welcome to Iowa City.