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Oh, the places you’ll go!
A guide to having late-night fun if you’re under 21
by Dale Bridges
It’s official. You are a college student. No more “mystery meat” in the high school cafeteria. No more getting blasted in the testicles with dodge balls in gym. No more hanging out in your parents’ basement, listening to your My Chemical Romance albums and writing blubbery poetry about how your girlfriend dumped you for some hairy, illiterate football player who thinks Karl Marx is the ’80s pop star who sang “Right Here Waiting.” That’s all behind you now, and you can look forward to four (or five or six or whatever) years of reading Faulkner and smoking weed and not shaving your body hair.
But being a college student in America can be a bit of a pain in the proverbial ass. For some ridiculous reason, the Puritan fascists who run this country have decided that you can drive a car when you’re 16, kill and die for your country and vote for your president when you’re 18, but you can’t have a goddamn Budweiser until you’re 21. This greatly reduces the options for the average college student, who is probably not ready to go nighty-night at 9 o’clock but can’t get into any of the local bars because they start checking IDs when the sun goes down.
But not to worry, Young Insomniacs. Boulder Weekly has scoured the city in search of venues that open their doors to those between 18 and 20 years of age who do not wish to play Candyland on Friday nights (although, to be fair, Candyland is probably the greatest board game of all time — except for Mouse Trap, of course).
CU has several recreational venues that are open after hours. The Connection has video games, pool tables, snacks and bowling for all you Little Lebowski Urban Achievers (if you don’t know this reference, hang your head in shame and rent The Big Lebowski. Best post-Gulf War movie about bowling and ferrets ever made). The Connection is in the basement of the University Memorial Center next to Club 156, which is a prime spot to see live performances by local and national musicians. Club 156 has been a fixture at CU for decades, and they bring in some of the top bands in the country.
University Hill is the primary off-campus hangout for college students and will remain so as long as certain middle-age curmudgeons don’t ruin it by constantly complaining that the bars are playing music past, gasp, 8 p.m. (If you want peace and quiet and Barry Manilow music, move to North Boulder — or, better yet, Highlands Ranch.)
The Fox Theatre is one of the main music venues in town and a great spot to take in a concert. Not all of their shows are all ages, but many are and should be attended. Across the street from the Fox, Albums On The Hill has a small stage that features music and stand-up comedy late at night. They also have a great record store in the basement.
If you are one of those pallid, skinny health nuts who believes your body is “a temple,” you should probably stay away from the late-night snacks. However, if you’re like me and you think temples should be stuffed with delicious food and carbonated beverages, there are plenty of eateries on The Hill for your dining pleasure. Jimmy John’s is open until 3 a.m. and has great sandwiches made with fresh-baked bread. Half Fast Subs has approximately seven bajillion sandwich choices. They are open until midnight on the weekends and often host live music. Illegal Pete’s burritos are so good you’ll want to adopt them. They’re open until 2:30 a.m. on weekends and sometimes feature live music. For pizza, Abo’s keeps its doors open until 2 a.m. on the weekends and Cosmo’s doesn’t close until 2:30 a.m. Boulder Baked has 24 varieties of baked goods, and they’re open until 2 a.m. just in case you’re… um… like stoned, man.
While The Hill is the college hang out, Pearl Street is the main spot for rich hippies and hipsters and didgeridoo players. The Boulder Theater hosts a variety of all-ages music shows, movies and theatrical productions. The Hookah House is a popular joint that’s open until the wee hours of the morning. You can hang out with friends, chat and smoke a wide range of high-quality tobaccos. Keep heading east on Pearl Street, and you’ll hit the Laughing Goat Coffee House. This is a great place to get a caffeinated beverage and just chat or take in one of the many indie music performances. They also host one of the longest-running open poetry mics in the country.
Open until 11 p.m., Rock N Soul Cafe is further east in Boulder, but it’s worth the trip. They have coffee, food, free wireless Internet, and they feature a constant variety of talented acoustic musicians.
If you have to stagger down to South Boulder in order to get home from the bars like I do, Silver Mine is a cozy, little sub shop that stays open late. And of course, there’s always Denny’s, the place that never closes, and if you’re lucky, you can catch a conversation at 4 a.m. between a dude in a Star Trek shirt and a dude in a camouflage vest about whether or not Captain Kirk would be able to whip Dirty Harry in a fistfight.
The Nitro Club is the newest strip club on Pearl Street. They’re open until 4 a.m. on the weekends. Further north on Broadway you’ll find the Bustop, which has been the primary strip joint in Boulder for many, many years, and they are also open into the morning hours. Both are 18 and up.
So there you have it, dozens of places in town where you can go late at night to spend your parents’ hard-earned money. And if that fails, you can always take a trip through the Candy Cane Forest and over Gum Drop Mountain in search of the lost king of Candyland.
Abo’s Pizza, various locations, www.abospizza.com.
Album’s on the Hill, 1124 13th St., 303-449-6637.
Boulder Baked, 1310 College Ave., 303-444-4999.
Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., 303-786-7030.
The Bustop, 4871 Broadway St., 303-440-3911.
Cosmo’s Pizza, 325 Broadway, 303 447-3278, and 659 30th St., 303 447-3278.
Denny’s, 2905 Baseline Rd., 303-447-0080.
Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., 303-443-3399.
Half Fast Subs, 1215 13th St., 303-449-0404.
Hookah House, 1325 Broadway #215, 303-444-0804.
Illegal Pete’s, 1320 College Ave., 303-444-3055, and 1447 Pearl St., 303-440-3955.
Jimmy John’s, 1125 13th St., 303-447-3200.
Laughing Goat, 1709 Pearl St., 303-440-4628.
Nitro Club, 1124 Pearl St., 303-444-1680.
Rock N Soul Café, 5290 Arapahoe Ave., Suite 1, 303-443-5108.
Silver Mine Subs, 1100 28th St., 303-402-9400.
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