Heaven may not have any beer, but the brews flow freely in Iowa City on University of Iowa Hawkeye football game days. And, well, that’s why we drink it here.
The town is renowned throughout the Big 10 for its tailgating and bar scenes. Whether you’re a veteran Kinnick attendee or a first generation Hawkeye, combing the two scenes can make for an unforgettable experience. Here’s a list of the best places to go before, during, and after the game.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bar in the downtown area that’s not opening early for home games. Most places will open their doors around 8 a.m. to serve downtown tailgaters two of the most important B-words in town: Breakfast and beer.
Here’s our pick:
The Airliner, 22 S. Clinton St.
The Airliner has been a favorite of game goers for more than six decades – and for good reason. The kitchen staff makes some of the best pizza in town. Having undergone a renovation a few years ago, the downtown staple now features 17 flat screen televisions, two bars, plenty of seating, and atmosphere that will please fans young and old.
To wet your whistle, the restaurant will be providing a 25-ingredient, make-your-own Bloody Mary bar.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to The Airliner without ordering a pizza. This year the kitchen will be churning out breakfast pizza and, as a bonus, made-to-order doughnuts.
To watch the game
Two bars stand out most, depending on how you spent the early morning. Our picks:
Pints, 118 S. Clinton St.
If you’ve been tailgating and have already eaten, the clear choice is Pints. The place has a ton of seating, 12 42” flat screens, 20 specialty beers on tap, a full liquor bar, and a BYOF (bring your own food) policy.
DC’s, 124 S. Dubuque St, in the Ped Mall
If you’re hungry and thirsty, head to DC’s. Once inside, you’ll find two floors of seating filled with TVs, seating, room for standing, and great drink specials.
But one of the best parts about DC’s can be experienced without ever going inside. If you’re lucky enough to nab one the patio tables, you and your friends can enjoy the outdoors while watching the game on one of several flat screen facing the outdoor seating area – perfect for those who didn’t get enough sun during the morning’s flippy-cup game.
Win or lose, there’s still a party to be had after the game. Here’s two places where you’re sure to find a good time.
Brothers, 125 S. Dubuque St, in the Ped Mall
As evidenced by the long line outside the bar on most weekend nights, Brothers is a popular destination for downtown party seekers. The only thing that changes on the evenings of game days is an increase of black and gold clothing and an elevated number of non-students.
Whether the Hawks win or lose, the bar will be lined with fans, the dance floor will be packed, and there will be enough people to make the fire marshal uneasy. In short: It’s one hell of a party.
The Vine, 330 E. Prentiss St.
The Vine has two locations — one in Iowa City and one in Coralville — but the location on Gilbert and Prentiss is definitely where you’ll want to be after games if you want to be surrounded by Hawkeye fans who are slightly less rowdy than those downtown.
This place is famous for the Vine Stein, an inexpensive monstrosity of a beer stein, and $1 Apple Pie Shots. There’s also plenty of seating and televisions for watching postgame highlights.
Other notable Iowa City destinations for game days
Vito’s, 118 E. College St.: $3 Bloody Marys, $3 22 oz Bud Light drafts, $3 Vegas Bombs
Donnelly’s Pub, 110 E. College St.: Open at 8 a.m. for breakfast. Breakfast sandwiches, specials on Bloody Marys
Bo-James, 118 E. Washington St.: Open at 9 a.m. $4 “Big Beers,” $5.99 burger baskets
Micky’s Irish Pub, 11 S. Dubuque St.: Open at 8 a.m., bloody marys
Sports Column, 12 S. Dubuque St.: Three rooms, bar seating, booths, high top and low top tables
The Summit, 10 S. Clinton St.: Open an hour before kickoff. bloody marys, mimosas
Quinton’s, 215 E. Washington St.: Open at 8 a.m., $3 domestics, $3.50 premium and imports
Joe’s Place, 115 Iowa Ave.: Open at 8 a.m. for morning games, tons of seating, bar games