The Belmar: a great neighborhood bar
The Belmar is a typical neighborhood bar. It's fairly small but not cramped. The beer is really good and cheap! It's perfect for poor graduate students :)
The staff is friendly - they'll stop and talk, hang out, whatever.
The pizza is excellent. I don't know what else they make, but if it's anything like the pizza, it's worth trying.
The jukebox has lots of good choices on it.
Dress Code: It's a bar . . . dress accordingly!
Speaking of Strip Clubs...
Madame Oar's and Tzer's are some of the best strip clubs in the world. Full nude in Tzer's and a great bar at Madame Oar's. All of the girls at Tzer's are clean and young (18-25) and the cover charge is only a couple bucks. Check it out if you are into that kind of thing.
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Lampy's Restaurant: Great alcohol and food!
This is a great restaurant and bar combo. I decided to put it under nightlife since I went here to drink, but you can go for just the food and sit away from the bar if you want.
It's a great atmosphere with great employees. The bar is dark blue tile, the lighting is low but adequate, and the seats are comfy. They also have fresh veggies and homemake dip on the bar.
The place is definitely upscale and caters to people who are looking for a great meal/drink and amazing service. They were running a 3-2-1 deal - 3 appetizers, 2 drinks, 1 price. For $30, we got sirloin wrapped jumbo shrimp, figs with prosciutto and gargonzola, and Greek chicken and feta skewers plus two fabulous specialty martinis.
They open at 4:30 every day, and the last seating is at 9:30 M-Th, 10:30 F and S, and 9:00 on Sun.
Dress Code: It's a nice restaurant, so don't go in the clothes you were gardening/painting in, but everything esle from jeans on up is fine.
CyberCafe West: Coffee, live music, and a cyberlife
This is a very cool cyber cafe. It's not a typical cyber cafe at all. You actually have to search for the computers which are hidden in a side room.
The food is good and varied - lots of vegetarian choices. The coffee is pretty good - not the best I've had, but plentiful.
There is a second floor with a lot of individual rooms - with pinball or foosball machines, places to hang out, etc.
In the main room on the first floor, they have live music with alarming frequency.
Dress Code: no dress code at all! Show up comfy. No one cares what you look like! :)
The only worthwhile club that was around was called IceHouse. This club looked dirty, but in all seriousness it was fairly safe, despite being on a really shady street. It got shut down recently because of underage drinking, or so I'm told. Basically, unless you want to get shot, stabbed, buy drugs, or go to a strip club... go to bed.
Downtown streets: Summertime First Fridays
On the first Friday of the month during summer months (definitely June, July, and August - I think May and September depend on the weather), they close down several blocks to traffic and have a huge party in the streets. They have live music and dancing, lots of food and craft booths, and the block of State Street where a lot of bars are is roped off and accessible only to people 21+ so you can sit at their tables and have alcohol. It's definitely a good time!
Dress Code: Anything goes - people come in shorts and t-shirts all the way up to dressy. Some people come directly after work. (I did get a "stern talking-to" by the people checking IDs at the bar about having a bandana over my hair - they said I shouldn't wear it again because it could be considered "gang colors" - yeah, right. This is Binghamton)
Cosmo's: Tiki Bar!
Cosmo's is a multi-room restaurant/nightlife spot. I haven't been in the actual sit-down restaurant room, but I've been to the Tiki Bar a few times and it never fails to amuse.
The alcohol is dirt cheap (like $2.25 for a pint of Sam Adams on draft, $2.50 for a large vodka and cranberry juice, etc.), the decor is over-the-top tacky - but fun, and they provide baskets full of snacks, both a mix of stuff (pretzels, nacho chips, fritos, cheezits) and peanuts in the shells -- and you can drop the shells on the floor. Makes for crunchy walking!
We've only gone there mid-week and it's always been full. It's a great place to meet new people, or just hang out with the group you came out with. A friend of mine said it had a bit of a meat-market feel, but I never felt like it was like that unless you wanted to make it that way.
A friend has gone to the take-out deli part of Cosmos and she said it was good. I'll have to take her word for it until I can check it out myself!
Dress Code: Casual - some people were a bit dressed up, but only the ones trying to pick people up.
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