As the year draws to a close, a lot of students at Purdue will be leaving shortly, not soon to return. Unfortunately, many of these students will leave only experience half of what the location of Purdue has to offer, rarely venturing across the river into Lafayette.
After realizing my days at Purdue were numbered, I gathered 12 of my most easily persuadable friends together and planned a spontaneous a bar crawl with the simple goal of exploring downtown Lafayette.
We set out with the noon sun high in the sky, not knowing if we’d all make it back alive.
Stop 1: DT Kirby’s
I should start this story by mentioning that this bar crawl was an idea spawned while we were enjoying a drink or two at Harry’s the night before. That being said, greasy food sounded awesome. All of us being avid fans of DT Kirby’s, we knew that lunch here was where we had to start. Most of the people in our party hadn’t been to the new location yet after their relocation mid-fall. It’s much larger than the original spot across the street (35 seats v. 120 seats).
As I’ve mentioned before, DT Kirby’s is home to all things delicious and unhealthy such as deep fried hot dogs, mac n’ cheese topped burgers, and a whole slew of other calorie intensive options. It’s a great place to fill up the tank, but overeating there can stop your day dead in it’s tracks. Beware. Bar crawls are no fun when all you want to do is sleep.
Also, good bloodies here to start the day.
Stop 2: Lenehan’s
All fighting a food coma, we reluctantly opened the door to leave, painfully smacked in the face by the sunlight of the outside world. We slowly managed to waddle across the street to a new slighty Irish sports bar, Lenehan’s. I’d heard a lot about this place, mostly that it was fun if you were really drunk and if it was really late. We had neither of those qualifications on our side, but thought we’d check it out anyways.
Predictably, we were the only people there at 2 in the afternoon, however this played to our advantage as we instantly turned the establishment into a personal game room. With free ping pong and several sports games you can pay a dollar each to play, this place took me back to basement hang outs in high school. What we had originally intended to be a brief visit quickly turned into several hours of mild exercise. The onsetting tiredness rapidly dissipated.
Stop 3: The Vault
With the desire to keep playing bar games, we set our eyes towards the west to our favorite pool hall. By the time we had walked several city blocks, we finally reached our destination. The doors were locked.
We looked at our watches, 4:50, and pressed our faces against the window peering at the workers inside who kept holding up 5 fingers, meaning we’d have to wait a few more minutes. Luckily, the overall look of disappointment that spread quickly across the faces of the group, along with probable concern for those in the party that had started to heavily chainsmoke, seemingly touched a note of sympathy. An employee let us in a couple of minutes early. Sure it was only a few minutes, but there’s nothing like that feeling of special privilege to boost morales.
It was the first time I’d been inside of the Vault without a smokey haze slowly rising towards the ceiling. There was no music playing, no pool balls crashing, just the chatter of the group we came with.
We quickly took advantage of the any day, any beer schooner deal ($6 for a 34 oz. craft beer) followed by cashing some bills, collecting some change, and tightly racking some balls.
I’m not sure how long we were here, or how many games we played. All I know is that it was long enough for us to watch the entire movie of Twister that was playing on the flat screens around the bar (and even pumping it through the speakers after enough begging).
Stop 4: Hunter’s Down Under
Having finally worked off what felt like eternal DT Kirby’s food babies, somehow we felt the need for more food. After arguing for several minutes about where to head next, a friend made a simple request, “I know a place, follow me.”
Intrigued by his confidence, all 12 of us followed him back out onto the streets of Lafayette. We quickly noticed we seemed to be walking away from all of the other suggestions, and that it didn’t really seem like we were walking towards anywhere too interesting. As we all started to question our decision to blindly follow, suddenly our leader seemed to vanish in thin air. After a few moments, we noticed he was no longer with us and confusion quickly spiked.
“Guys, down here” cut through the air, instantaneously met by heads whipping around trying to determine which direction it was coming from.
Eventually, someone peered over the railing along the sidewalk. There were stairs, and those stairs led to a wooden door hidden in the shadows. We were at Hunter’s Down Under.
A humble combination between a bar and a restaurant, I felt immediately comfortable. As we found our seats and picked our way through the menu, several locals flagged us down to make their recommendations, even one that claimed to eat there at least 5 times a week. I got the deep fried cat fish strips with buffalo sauce. The meat was tender, delicious and exactly what I needed.
Stop 5: Chumley’s
The night was fast approaching, and the general consensus was that people would start dropping like flies if we didn’t head further west soon. So after finishing up our meals, we jetted towards Chumley’s.
With a wide selection of good beer, we had decided this would be a great place to recap our day out on the town. Somehow, be it luck or destiny, we were able to claim the huge fishbowl table in the back of the bar, where everyone could fit and no one had cellphone connection. Cheers were made and glasses were clanked, everyone was having a good time and happy with the way the night was ending.
That is, until someone got the bright idea to spend the better half of a paycheck on several rounds of explicitly named shots for the table.
The rest was history.
Needless to say, when we walked across the pedestrian bridge and up the hill to Harry’s, we all shared a similar feeling of accomplishment.
We had wasted a day and a lot of money doing nothing productive, filling our bodies with things that could literally kill us.
But, everyone was happy, no one was stressed, and we had made some great memories with people soon to be separated by huge geographical distance. It’s hard to put a price on that.
Out of all the new little places and the things I’ve done trying to find content for this blog over the semester, the “How the West Was Won” bar crawl was my favorite.
I’d encourage everyone to take the time to explore downtown Lafayette before they graduate, a bar crawl is one way to do that.