Bloomington, Indiana is known for a handful things. The city has been named a designated Tree City for its many forestry programs, which is great if you like trees. For all the cinephiles out there, the Academy Award-winning film Breaking Away was filmed in Bloomington and features the annual IU bike race. Lastly—and arguably most importantly—Bloomington is the birthplace of Indiana University and a thriving B1G Ten party scene; a party scene that revolves around one street in particular.
At the heart of Hoosier country lies Kirkwood Avenue, a stretch of road that houses a list of the city’s most frequented bars and restaurants. If you didn’t think Kirkwood was that big of a deal, just know that the Wikipedia page for Bloomington has a shot of Kirkwood Avenue as its featured photo. If that isn’t enough to convince you, you’ll only have to do some light reading to find out why Hoosiers love to party so hard on this street. Kirkwood Avenue is THE downtown destination in Bloomington as well as the best spot to party at IU.
I texted a friend to get the scoop on what partying is like in Bloomington and, to no surprise, he mentioned Kirkwood and one of its most frequented establishments: Kilroy’s. Kilroy’s is your ideal college bar. It’s loud, it’s crowded, and it features a great outdoor seating area for when the weather is nice.
Adjacent to Kilroy’s is Nick’s English Hut, another IU favorite. With damn good food, a great local beer selection, and a two-floor bar experience, Nick’s is always packed on nights and weekends. Whether you’re interested in a five o’clock happy hour or a one a.m. rager, you’re in for a good time at Nick’s.
The Root Cellar is another great option for those who want something a little more relaxed. With classy décor and a mature vibe, The Root Cellar is the perfect spot for upperclassmen. They also have a drink named after Bill Murray, which alone should be enough to convince you of its greatness.
Not too far off of Kirkwood lies Brother’s Bar & Grill, a sports bar with great drink specials and classic pub fare. Those who have experienced Brother’s one too many times will tell you that Brother’s is the place to go when you’re short on cash and clamoring for the typical college atmosphere. If you’re looking to stretch your dollar as far as it can go, Brother’s is sure to be your place.
With everything from stylish cocktail bars to classic college dives, partying on Kirkwood is as necessary an experience as that 2 am slice of pizza from Pizza X. But don’t take our word for it. Save yourself the reading, have a little fun and head down to Kirkwood for your next night out.
Want to live near Kirkwood? Check out the best list of Bloomington apartments and houses for rent near Kirkwood Avenue.