Ask a Fifth-Year: Appleton’s Quirky Bars-kh tm

Jacob Horn

Dear Jacob, I’ve just turned 21. What bars do you recommend? – Señor PBR.

Definitely not any bar on College Ave. Every single bar on the Ave has a strange quirk to it.

The Wooden Nickel functions as The VR Part II. It’s a sequel that’s enjoyable, but still lacks the nostalgia of the original. Jekyll’s is fine, but be prepared to awkwardly run into your professors at any time at night (or the day for that matter).

If you’re feeling adventurous, head off College Ave to the biker bar Union Jack’s. I had a friend who wondered why Lawrentians avoided Union Jack’s. I told him even townies avoided Union Jack’s. Cleo’s is the cougar bar. Do what you will with that information.

The bar for me will always be the VR. Every bartender I know will be upset if I don’t mention one essential aspect of the VR: TIP. Now that we have that out of the way, here are more important matters to discuss.

There used to be a time when pizzas and unexpected cookies were available, but these items have disappeared from the menu. That doesn’t mean that there are absolutely zero options for snacks. The food options at the VR are unbelievably diverse. You can enjoy your salt with either peanuts or popcorn.

For your entertainment there are plenty of TVs usually tuned to some sports channel. The best nights at the VR are usually turned to the Home Shopping Network. If gaping at overpriced plates isn’t your thing, there’s a pool table, foosball table and dart board. All of these have way too many pieces and rules to follow, so I encourage good, old-fashioned drinking games.

My favorite drinking game was a wonderful one-time event known as 5-Shot George. It involved a series of mini-games that held no coherence whatsoever. This excursion included me, Mike McCain (the inventor) and George.

Darts were involved somehow. Some dice made an appearance. As the game progressed, the loser had to drink a shot. George lost every mini-game, even though he won the game. Still with me? George finished the game of 5-Shot George by taking five shots, effectively losing the game. But really, we were all winners that night.

Recently, bands have been having shows in the VR. These bands range from loud, energetic funk groups to laid back folk duos. No matter the genre, you must talk as loud as possible to enjoy any sort of conversation.

Be sure to say awkward bits of conversation loudly since the band will probably stop playing right as you start revealing embarrassing details about your life.

But the most wonderful aspect of the VR has to be its happy hour. Nothing says Wisconsin college like getting drunk on cheap drinks at 5 in the afternoon. Use this time to prepare for later engagements such as unbearably long-lasting rehearsals or group project meetings. Pro-tip: Everyone in your research group is far too polite and will overlook your drunkenness. Use this to your advantage.

I have not witnessed it, but I’ve heard rumors of VR karaoke. This frightens me.

Once again, if you have any questions you’d like me to half-answer, send them to