07 February 2009

Penn Staters' night out on the UWS

What happens when five or more Penn State alumni go out drinking?

The school cheer happens, that’s what.

And last night I was out with an eclectic group of about 15 Penn Staters, so it was inevitable that someone (I figured it would be Ian as he is always the tallest of the group so his voice carries across the crowd very easily) yell “We Are!” at some point during the evening. My prediction was true, down to the Penn State obsessed individual who began the cheer, our friend Ian, the tall guy from Survivor Palau which aired in 2005.

We began our evening with $.50 Bud Lights at Bourbon Street on 79th and Amsterdam. The bar was an undeniable Sausage Fest - so much so that the bouncer refused to let men in after a while – whose clientele seemed to include every frat boy from Columbia University. The median age of our group was 26, so we were, on average, four years older than the next oldest patron. We spent about 30 minutes there, screaming over the music, fighting our way to the bar, and dodging the pool-players pool sticks (yes, there was a pool table, and yes, it was nearly impossible to play because of the sheer number of bodies crammed into the tiny space). And so we left the land of the college boys and headed over the 84th and Columbus to Prohibition.

Prohibition was definitely more “our” scene and it was here that we entertained other patrons with “We Are” “Penn State.” The clientele ranged in age from 22 to 50, but the age range worked. The décor is based on the Prohibition-Era style of the twenties and early thirties, but has a definite sophisticated, minimalistic feel.

The Eastside Mix played covers to some of the world’s favorite songs including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious.” The dance floor was crowded, but the weaker dancers were pushed to the outskirts of the crowd, leaving the partiers with control of the floor. Eastside Mix was one of the best cover bands I have ever seen play. Three singers, two men and one woman, had their own singing style and Broadway-worthy voices. Everyone in our Penn State group either attended or organized last month’s Hope Gala and we all identified Eastside Mix as a potential band to entertain at next year’s gala.

As I rarely drink, I am not sure about the price or quality of alcoholic beverages at Prohibition, but the atmosphere alone is worth the visit. Although, I did read some reviews about Prohibition’s menu, and it appears as if the restaurant/bar’s food is fresh and moderately priced. I think I will take Hayley here for dinner when she visits in three weeks. Check back in March for a review of Prohibition’s dinner.

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