Common Groun: Ithaca's GLBT nightclub
Although Ithaca is pretty open and accepting in general, this is known as is THE GLBT club in town. The people are friendly, the drinks are good, and the building is spacious and clean. The dancefloor is large, and the DJs are always up for requests. The place is very open to all types of people.
They also allow under-21s to come in; 18, 19, and 20 year olds have to just bring ID. They used to make us buy an "entrance card" for about $10 that they refunded when you turn 21.
Happy hour is a great deal - 2-for-1.
Dress Code: None.
Cornell Cinema: Normal movies, weird movies
Sometimes--rarely--they show the regular Hollywood fare, which I'll sometimes come to see because the pennies gathered from my change are often enough to cover the ticket. Most of the time, the movies they show are in some way unusual. All sorts of foreign and independent films you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Very cool. Occasionally, the movies they show are sponsored by activist groups on campus, and those movies, of course, can be politically charged, present falsehoods as facts, or be outright propaganda. I tend to avoid those.
Dress Code: No dress code. But do wear something.
Collegetown is Ithaca's other nightlife spot, found just off of the Cornell University campus. The neighborhood is a compact, walkable area. It is entirely possible to hit every establishmjent in Collegetown in one night. Highlights are below:
Chapter House - a couple of streets off of College Ave, on Stewart Avenue, the Chapter House is one of the best bars in Ithaca, with an excellent beer selection, occasionaly live music and free popcorn!
The Nines - outdoor patio, live music but best known for its pizza, the best in town.
Collegetown Bagels - great outdoor patio, serves beer in addition to typical coffee/cafe fare. THE place for late night food, but be prepared to wait in line with every other drunk Cornell student.
Downtown Ithaca is where one can find the most variety in nightlife in Ithaca. In addition to all the great restaurants found here, there are a half-dozen bars, a cinema and two theaters.
Great drinking establishments include:
Simeon's on The Commons - Great selectin of wine and bottled beer
Viva Taquiria! - Mainly a Mexican restaurant, but has an excellent selection tequila.
2nd Floor Bar - New place, moderately good beer selection, views out over The Commons.
Korova - Good beer selection, hip kind of place, cozy but comfortable. On The Commons.
Madeline's - is a fine dining establishment, but has good cocktails and desserts.
Micawber's - is a small Irish bar on Aurora Street.
Moonshadow's - is a divish bar on The Commons, but a I like it.
The Chanticleer - classic local institution. Historic pub since the 1940s. You wont' find many college students here.
Rongovian Embassy: Flashback to the 70s
I am pleasantly surprised to find that this place still exists. While at Cornell, my friends and I would go to the Rongo when we wanted to get out of the frat party/ Collegetown bar routine. It is a great place to see live music. The Rongo aspires to be a showcase for all forms of eclectic music, including roots and traditional, but also indie bands. They serve mexican style food too.
Here is some history:
The building housing the Rongovian Embassy was built in the early 1800's owned by original T-Burg settler Abner Treman (T-Burg was supposed to be named Tremansburg in his honor, but a spelling error at the time mistook the "e" for a "u").
Dress Code: Jeans, tee shirts, etc.
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Moonshadow: Scrabble and Cheap Red Wine
Okay, so I know that during the academic year this place isn't as sedate as it was when I went, but their Scrabble set was complete and the wine was cheap. There is a long bar, a front seating area and a back seating area. The bartenders are attentive, and did I mention the complete Scrabble set? They had other board games too, but who cares when you have Scrabble??
Dress Code: It's a bar in Ithaca.
The Atomic Lounge: (Mostly) Girls Night Out
This is a sleek bar with blue neon, silver walls, and very comfy couches. It is a great place to relax. There is a large cocktail menu, some bar food, and lots on tap. The even have funky t-shirts to buy so you can dress like the bartenders. They had hard, cold apple cider, so I was happy.
Open every day except Monday - 4PM to 1AM.
Dress Code: It's Ithaca; be comfortable.
The Haunt: The number one music spot downtown
I was heartbroken to discover that The Haunt is now a pizza place...it seems like everything is becoming a pizza place in Ithaca. I'll leave this tip up for posterity.
In my day it was a place to see MILC and to dance about to Shakedown Street. Nowadays, I think it's much more busy...they do have an Eighties Night!!
It's convenient and just out of the way enough. A great place to stop in for some music and casual hanging out.
Dress Code: It depends on the event, but always some version of casual.
MANY OPTIONS: NIGHTLIFE
If theater is your thing, Ithaca has a number of quality performing art centers. Located just off the Commons in a white-pillared Greek Revival building, The Ticket Center at Clinton House is the best place to begin (left). Open Monday through Saturday, tickets to local events can be purchased at the Ticket Center.
Also located in the Clinton House is the Kitchen Theater, which houses contemporary plays and new acts. Ithaca also hosts performances by the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and the Ithaca Opera Association.
During the summer months, the Hangar Theater, on Route 89 about five to ten minutes drive from downtown Ithaca, presents a varied series of different productions.
Being home to a major university and a number of small colleges means there's no shortage of nighttime activities. A walk along College Avenue will provide a sampling of what Collegetown has to offer.
-Try Stella's Martini Bar, which has live music two nights a week.
-Just off College Ave on Stewart Avenue, stop by the Chapter House Brewpub for its fifty-one taps of microbrews and imports. .
State Street has a number of options, especially along its intersections with Aurora and Cayuga Streets.
Chanticleer, on the corner of State and Cayuga, is hard to miss.
Just up the road, Simeon's on the Commons offers a "sophisticated bar menu."
You can also avoid the bar scene altogether and bowl a few racks at Ide's Bowling Lanes or catch a flick at the Cinemapolis on East State St.
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Cornell Cinema: Foreign movies - a great cinema
I'm a movie lover, and Ithaca is great for that since it has the Cornell University Cinema. It's located on campus and hows a wide selection of movies - mainstream Hollywood as well as lesser known ones and exotic ones. You can check what's running in the Ithaca newspaper or on the internet.
Although Ithaca has more cinemas than this one, I like this one the best!
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Dino's: Having a good night at Dino's
We always have fun at Dino's in Collegetown. Pitchers of beer, Long Island Ice Tea, meeting friends etc. Now they also have a dance-floorand you can dance until late at night if you feel like it.
Dress Code: Casual dressing, jeans etc.
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- School Holidays
Chapter House: Good beer and lots of it!
The Chapter House has one of the best atmospheres of the bars in town. The majority of the crowd tends to be college aged since it is right next to Cornell. They have a lot of different beers from the mainstream to the microbrews. Be daring and try something new. I tried a pumpkin beer, which sounded really bad, and it is now one of my favorites. They have big heavy wooden tables and benches there, which is part of the charm. They also have the typical accoutrements - pool tables, darts, etc.
Dress Code: Very casual!
Hangar Theater: Hangar Theater
This is a converted airplane Hangar. There are heaps of productions - everything from professional level, to college student run productions, to productions for kids. The season, I think, is only in the summer - like May or June through September.
Price is decent for live theater.
- Theater Travel
The Haunt: Try The Haunt
The Haunt is pretty much your typical dance place. It gets in a lot of good bands ranging from 80s to reggae to hip-hop, so just check the schedule for what is playing when. They book in local as well as more nationally known acts which cater to a wide range of tastes. On nights without the booked acts, it's DJ music.
They also serve lunches and dinners on Tuesdays to Saturdays. They have something like 15 types of wings!! The menu is well worth checking out.
Dress Code: No special dress code.
Hangar Theatre: See a show!
The Hangar Theatre has a wonderful set of shows each summer. Last summer I saw *Proof* and truly enjoyed it. You can buy tickets at the Clinton House or at the box office. The Clinton House is located on the corner of Cayuga and Seneca Streets in downtown Ithaca.
Dress Code: Anything you like - just cover the provocative bits.
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