One of the great parts of your college experience is that you are more than likely going to turn 21 while you are taking your classes. While I pass no judgement against those of you who are underage and still partake, becoming of age has some real upsides. While I don’t judge, for legal reasons, I don’t condone it either.
House parties are great, and they have their place; but it is also a lot of fun to go out. Going to a bar is a totally different type of occasion. One thing to consider though, is that different places serve different interests. Knowing which bar is which can save you from a subpar night due to missed expectations.
I’m going to tell you my top four bars, in no particular order, all of which serve their own separate purposes.
First National Bar: Best All-Arounder
“The Nash,” is one of the best all-around bars I have found in Pocatello. It is very spacious with a bar top to match. One of the worst things is when you walk into a place and there are no open seats at the bar, but it isn’t worth getting a table to the side. If it’s just you and one other person, the bar top is where you want to be. Service has always been very good considering the size of the bar and the amount of bartenders per shift, usually one.
Prices are run-of-the-mill. Nothing special, but nothing outrageous either. Drinks are strong and consistent.
There are three very good quality pool tables as well, and most of the cues only have a slight bend to them.
The only downside is that everyone and their brother has ‘seen a bar fight happen there’. I personally never have, but you get a reputation for a reason.
Hooligans: Best College Bar
Hooligans is the place to be if the crew is going out. They also have a good sized bar top, and plenty of tables as well. In the back nook there is even a couple of sofas for lounging and conversation. The pool table is unremarkable, the rails have definitely seen better days, which can mess with your bank shots. It is crowded as well. Two of the six sides are not able to be shot from with your normal stance. They are very good about keeping it level though. If they aren’t busy and you mention that it’s leaning, there’s a very good chance they’ll break out the level and board right there and then.
Hooligans is also one of the few non-smoking bars in the area, a MAJOR plus for a lot of people.
In addition to the famous Mug Mondays, Hooligans also has one of, if not the best, beer selection I’ve seen in town. Drafts to bottles to cans, they have some stuff that you can’t find outside of Montana in those coolers.
The Rim Rock: Best Pool Bar
The Rim Rock is a little out of the way, but it is worth the 10 minute drive if you are a serious pool player. They have good food and decent prices on everything. The main feature though are the two pool tables, which are by far the best ones I have played on in a bar. Plenty of space for any shot you would need to make, and great maintenance. The best part about it, free pool all day on Sundays. If you’re anything like me, that could save you a lot of money.
The Idaho Bar II: The “Cheers” Bar
I may have lied about not picking favorites in the beginning. The Idaho is my bar of choice, and is by far my favorite place to go when I want a few beers. The Idaho is a beer bar, no liquor yet. But it is the most personable environment I have found in Pocatello. Self-described as a ‘working man’s bar’, they are welcoming to everyone and anyone who walks in the door.
You won’t find any top 40’s playing. Johnny Cash, AC/DC and country are on the radio. The pool table isn’t the best, the felt has a few small tears in it, and the bar top is pretty small. But if you want the “Cheers” bar, this is the place to go. I went in once at the beginning of the academic year, and the next time I went in all of the bartenders remembered who I was. One of the owners even made me a deal to buy me a drink every time he called me the wrong name to give him some incentive to finally get it right.
This is my hangout spot, and if you’re looking for good people and good music, make it yours too.