Seven bars. Three hours. One pub-crawl. All in search of the ultimate Fairfield University bar experience. On Friday April 16th Jon Haskins and I embarked on a search for the perfect pub. Jon and I were roommates for our first two and a half years in college but don’t see each other as much as we’d like these days. What better way to catch up then hop from one local watering hole to another?
9:44 p.m.- The Levee: $2 Budweiser bottle
There was a bad sign right off the bat: no tap handles on any of the kegs and there was one person drinking at the bar (she was with the bartender). We had to wait three or four minutes for a beer, not because it was busy but because the two bartenders were in the process of closing out the cash register and we didn’t have exact change. There were four people playing pool and five others in a booth eating- none of whom were 21, making Jon and I two out of the three people drinking. There was a good playlist on but it was entirely too loud. As we walked out The Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling” came on which set the tone for the rest of the night. Slow start.
10:27 p.m.- The Shack: $4 Budweiser bottle
Formally known as Beach Café, they knocked down the wall between the dining area and the bar, which really opened the place up. The bar could only hold 20 or so people and all the seats were taken. There were about another 35 people sitting at tables, some were eating, all were drinking. It took four minutes to get the attention of one of the two female bartenders. The atmosphere was relaxed and enjoyable with swing music adding some flavor. The crowd was a little old for Jon and me; the average age seemed to be around 35. At 10:40 p.m. on the dot the lights dimmed and the cougars were ready to pounce; we finished our drinks and left in a hurry.
11:01 p.m.- Long-time Fairfield favorite the Skybox doesn’t exist anymore.
11:04 p.m.- Neither does the Snickering Squirrel
11:06 p.m. – The Field: $4 Budweiser bottle
Before we even got in the bar, we could tell this scene had a little more life to it than the previous two. Ten people were smoking cigarettes by the door and we could hear the live band from the other side of the parking lot. This is the first bar we encountered that had bouncers, one on each side of the door as we walked in. The entire place was one large room with a divider separating the bar area from the dining area (which was converted to a makeshift stage/dancing area for the band). The bar area was packed but there was still no wait for a drink because they had three bartenders working a relatively small bar. The average age was about 25, I ran into a member of the class of 2009 and asked him how the real world was. He told me not to graduate. There was a bachelorette party going on (I could tell because of the giant inflatable penis they were throwing around) so things started getting pretty wild. The band, Exit 48, was really good. I wish we could have stayed longer. But we were on a quest.
11:38 p.m. – Archie Moore’s: $4 Budweiser bottle
We were going to go to O-Bar but felt underdressed for a martini bar. There were 17 people sitting at the Archie’s bar and 10 others other tables around the restaurant. There was only one bartender, so it took about three minutes to get a drink. The clientele was largely Hispanic, and I received several skeptical looks when I pulled out a pen and paper to document the experience. Someone actually came up to me and asked why I was writing things down and didn’t seem happy at all with my answer. What I do for the sake of journalism!
12:09 p.m. – The Grape: $3 Budweiser bottle
As usual, here was the party. Two bouncers were checking IDs at the door and two more working their way through the crowd making sure their presence was known. There were three bartenders, but I still didn’t get a beer until 12:20 p.m. and it was only with the assistance of a female. From then on things got a little crazy; it was either alumni weekend or siblings weekend, I never got a straight answer but either way there were a lot of strangers in the bar. At one point an Australian bought me a beer, which is a pretty good example of how diverse the crowd of 200 people was. If you like personal space, The Grape is not a good place for you.
So, on a Friday night: If you want to drink alone, definitely hang out at the Levee. If you want to try to bring someone home twice your age go to The Shack. If you want to listen to some live music and watch women drink out of penis straws go to The Field. If you want to speak Spanish and get dirty looks go to Archie Moore’s and if you want to get weird go to The Grape.