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Monday, May 20, 2024
NEWS  |  CAMPUS

Nightlife options abound for under-21 crowd

<p>Many students enjoy country music, line dancing and trying out the mechanical bull at :08, located on University Avenue in downtown Gainesville.</p>

Many students enjoy country music, line dancing and trying out the mechanical bull at :08, located on University Avenue in downtown Gainesville.

Midtown Nightlife Options

When you first get to UF, that stretch of bars and restaurants across from the stadium, on a little lane called University Avenue, seem to glisten. That strip, in all its glory, beckons you from your dorm late at night after your parents move you in, when you’re finally free of curfews.

Fortunately, not all of the venues in this area, known as Midtown, are 21-and-up.

Here are a few options for all you underage students to explore before you hit the big 21.

The Swamp Restaurant

One of the most iconic restaurants in Gainesville, Swamp is also great for hanging out after dark. Some nights there’s live music, and there’s always good food. On Mondays and Fridays, cover is $5. Food ranges from $7 to $14.

On Aug. 20, Swamp will start selling a Midtown pass wristband for $25 that will last all Fall semester. The pass includes tickets for two wing baskets for under-21 patrons, said Steve Maciejewski, Swamp’s event coordinator.

O!O Garden Grille

We know what you’re thinking. Don’t hurt yourself; it’s pronounced “oh oh.” Even though part of O!O is an outside patio, more dancing takes place here than some of the other Midtown venues. Cover ranges from $2 to $10, and entrees cost $4 to $14.

The Grog House Bar and Grill

While it seems sketchy having to climb a long staircase to get into Grog from the University Avenue sidewalk, take a chance. A modest dance floor and pulsing music will keep you there. Cover is usually less than $10.

Ya gotta eat

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Post-partying, in UF Plaza, Relish offers create-your-own burgers with too many toppings to fit in one mouth. Next door, Pita Pit plays great music while you eat. Upstairs, Munchies 420 Café — conveniently open from 4:20 p.m. to 4:20 a.m. — has a huge selection of food. Pizza by the Slice, on West University Avenue, is literally a window where great pizza appears. Most of these options cost $10 or less.

Downtown Nightlife Options

Midtown is fun if you want to hang out with friends. But if you really want to dance the night away, downtown is the place to be. Here are just a few venues who cater to the under-21 crowd:

:08

If you are looking for some line dancing and good country fun, then ladies grab your daisy dukes, and gentlemen grab your flannels, and hit :08. Inside, you can try your hand at riding a mechanical bull. But if a few line dances are all you can handle, then try :08 on Thursday for college night, when the songs are a mixture of country and house music.

The Vault Nightclub

This Miami-style club is in the heart of downtown. Artists such as Steve Aoki, MSTRKRFT and LA Riots have played for a packed audience inside the 16,000-square-foot club.

FUBAR

Some Orlandonites may be familiar with Fubar; the club also has a branch catering to University of Central Florida students. Always smoke- or fog-filled, the Gainesville club feels a bit small, but it plays good music and offers billiards as a cool-down from dancing.

Forum Night Club

Forum, the moonlighting iteration of the Florida Theater, is a huge venue with lots of dancing space.

It’s a really popular house music club and pulls in quite a few big-shot DJs most Saturday nights.

Many students enjoy country music, line dancing and trying out the mechanical bull at :08, located on University Avenue in downtown Gainesville.

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