Thursday, May 14, 2009
Burlington's nightlife has naturally had to keep up with the astounding amount of college students, tourists, and residents that dig the homey and diverse vibe of the various clubs and bars available to the parched enthusiast.
Out of the many present spots to get your drink on in this humble college town, I've narrowed down a select five that stand out and hold their own individualism. These five spots are Nectar's, 3 Needs Taproom, Vermont Pub and Brewery, What Ales You, and RiRa
5. 3 Needs Taproom
Located on College street, 3 Needs is the perfect tavern for the Burlington local. With it's share of regulars and it's infamous Duff hour, it's the epitome of a home-town, dive bar with beers to boast. It's decked out with hilarious pictures and memorabilia from over the years, and despite its size, packs a decent pool table with a "sign-up" policy. One will immediately feel lively from the classic rock and reggae music, as well as be close to all the action with the taproom being only a few doors down from the Church Street Marketplace.
4. What Ales You
Located off of St. Paul street below the Brazilian steakhouse, What Ales is a dark, musky basement hideaway for the thirsty fratboy, lined with classy booths and a wrap-around bar in a classic, dive atmosphere. This spot typically has a regular younger, college crowd, but not quite as "townie" as 3 Needs. Friends visiting friends at their college will most definitely dig the classic yet contemporary vibe of this local tavern.
3. Ri Ra
If you're in the mood to shake your money maker and enjoy drinks and laughs with your aquaintances, Ri Ra's Irish Pub is the place to be. Immediately warm and welcoming, this is a pub rooted in the Irish tradition, both a comfortable family restuaraunt serving top-notch burgers and the perfect Guinness, as well as a hot-spot for the bustling college folk. Ri Ra hosts a diverse array of musicians, some of them traditional Irish musicians, and some that play the funky, raw rhythms that get the crowd dancing. With it's double-door entrance and the long, old-time style tables in the back, Ri Ra is Gaelic for "Good times" and "Celebration", both of which you will surely have.
2. Vermont Pub and Brewery
Every major bar-town must have a designated spot for all of us beer connoisseurs. Thankfully, The Vermont Pub and Brewery brings you a hefty menu of homemade brews, matched with a hearty food menu. Their Burley Irish beer has one countless awards, and there are some eclectic brews made with berries, chocolate, and other unconventional additives, which make for an interesting yet familiar beer-drinking experience. The bartenders and staff are incredibly knowledgable about their products and are quick on their feet to assist you in your needs. A beautiful dining patio across the front and the metal brewing pipes scattered throughout the bar area make you feel like you're drinking right inside a brewery, a brewery with a touch of comfort and class.
You will indeed be sorry if your visit to Burlington didn't include the infamous Nectar's. This hometown spot used to be a savings bank, and his since transformed into one of the most satisfying and musically-rich spots on the Burlington grid. With it's spinning, orange-lit sign out in front, you immediately know this place is the cream of the crop. They've got the tastiest gravy fries this side of Lake Champlain, and you can bet that any night you step into Nectar's, there will be live music. That's right; Nectar's hosts live entertainment just about every night throughout the week, with the exception of their fun "Trivia Night". Originally one of Phish's first venues, Nectar's is scattered with colorful local art that customers can offer to buy, a custom one will notice happening in a lot of Burlington's businesses. Upstairs is Club Metronome, another spacious, eclectic club that also hosts live music almost daily. One can very commonly come to Nectar's and be able to view two bands playing at the same time, an experience you will rarely find anywhere else. They've got a flatscreen outside the door, so all you cigarette smokers and folks in line can watch the game before you even get into the bar. A fun, comfy vibe paired with great drinks, food, and service make Nectar's the #1 bar to check out in B-town.
Whichever place you choose, the city of Burlington poses a lot to do for just about anyone. Days spent on the beautiful waterfront or bike path can be met with satisfying nights filled with a diverse and plentiful bar scene, all of the bars different in their own ways. A haven for college kids and interesting enough for the frequent tourist, it's a place we can all enjoy, all on a little piece of land in a town no bigger than you went to High School in. B-town is a teeny-weeny town chock full of things to do and interesting folks. Enjoy!