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Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024
The Observer

To bar or not to bar

Eric Richelsen | The Observer
Eric Richelsen | The Observer

Months and in some cases years after my closest friends, I finally turned 21. In the two weeks I have been allowed to stand on the hallowed, sticky floors of local bars, I have experienced much and have come to some conclusions about which bars in town are up to my speed.

Brothers Bar & Grill
Since the day my ID allowed me, I stopped by Brothers to see what the fuss was about.

I had heard Brothers was a cool place to be, a place where friends could come together and stand around. Little did I realize how literal of a description that was and how little else took place there.

The two evenings I spent there, I must admit, were a bit of a disappointment.

Brothers is a bit too loud to hold a conversation, a bit too bright to make bad decisions and a bit too sporty to facilitate a dance floor atmosphere. While it was a great spot to watch the U.S. vs. Mexico football — I mean soccer — game, it left a lot to be desired otherwise. I came to Brothers in a good mood and left in a bad one. Isn’t that the opposite of how it’s supposed to go?

On the bright side, I received a pretty sick T-shirt that I wore on Game Day. Thanks for that, Brothers. I’ll be back during the day to eat some of that fried cheese you’ve got on your menu, but my nights will be spent elsewhere.
Finni’s or The Blarney Stone
Ah, Finni’s. A little bit darker, a little bit dirtier and a lot more fun. Except when it’s a Notre Dame football weekend and there are so many people packed into that small space that you feel like a sardine and smell like one too.

When I went to Finni’s on a Wednesday, I was pleased. The place wasn’t too crowded so I was able to easily move from the bar to the dance floor and back again. I came with a few of my best friends and lived the cliché, dancing like no one was watching. Although the music was loud, I was actually able to hold a decent conversation near the front door. A perfect evening all in all.

When I went to Finni’s on a Saturday, I was displeased. The football weekend brought many more sweaty individuals out to prowl. It was so packed that a walk from the entrance to the elevated dance platform took a good five minutes and a good amount of determination. Friends were lost on the journey, not to be seen again. Paige, did you ever make it home? I may never know.
Madison Oyster Bar
The night of reckoning, Sept. 29, 2015, was not full of pomp and circumstance. No rage was held in my honor, no tray of shots was purchased for my consumption. Simply a quiet drink at Madison Oyster Bar on a Monday night/Tuesday morning welcomed me into adulthood.

Oyster Bar has my kind of vibe, with two floors and tables spread throughout. The pool table on the upper level allows for a relaxed game to take place between friends and it’s quiet enough for jokes to be shared. I feel as if Madison Oyster Bar might be the bar with the most consistent atmosphere that I’ve been to and I like my bars like I like my men: reliable and kind. (I say kind because the bartender gave me a free shot for my birthday as well as an awesome, if girly, first drink. Much love.)
I have many more South Bend bars to explore and I look forward to the experience. Until then, I think my first few weeks of legal drinker-status have reminded me what I’ve always known: I will always prefer a good conversation and good friends to a crazy night I won’t remember.

So, it seems like I’m going to put the bars on the back burner and spend this weekend drinking wine and playing board games with my best friends. That’s more my speed anyway.