Though the summer heat may be coming to a close, fall — full of tree color changes and abundant sweaters — is an excellent time to explore Eugene’s vast nightlife scene.
Just like your favorite coffee spot, bars, pubs and tap houses are no slouch when it comes to exclusive fall drinks and activities. Eugene’s most popular spots each have features that make them special.
Whether it’s the overall atmosphere, activities and events, outdoor seating, food or variety of drinks offered, these three locations are sure to have something for every friend group to enjoy.
Best campus bar: Rennie’s Landing
If you’re looking for a nearby spot where all of your friends can meet, Rennie’s Landing is the place for you. A Eugene staple for over 40 years, Rennie’s has a little bit of everything.
The outdoor seating is the best out of all bars and breweries within a mile from campus, with a small outdoor deck on the first level and an even larger one on the second floor.
A plethora of TVs are placed in both the indoor and outdoor areas of Rennie’s, with pool and a jukebox for those willing to pay extra.
Rennie’s is also no slouch when it comes to activities as their student favorite, Trivia Night, continues into the fall starting at 9:00 p.m. each Tuesday. Bring a group of friends and see how many questions you get right; you just might win a pitcher of beer and cool merch.
Not 21 yet? Rennie’s is open to all ages and even friendly dogs until 8:00 p.m. It also opens early for breakfast at 9 a.m. The menu, while eclectic, has a diverse array of finger food and meals. Burgers, wraps, quesadillas and even salads are just a few of the options available, with the hummus plate being a staple for my trivia night friend group.
Not sure what to drink? Rennie’s has you covered with a two-page drink menu featuring mixed drinks, wine, cider, domestic beer and microdrafts. While their beer selections aren’t anything to write home about, they easily make up for this with a consistent happy hour and their famous Rennie’s Lemonade.
Rennie’s Landing is located at 1214 Kincaid Street, right across from McKenzie Hall.
Best food & drink: Viking Braggot
What’s a braggot? Take some mead and mix it with a portion of beer, and that’s what you get. Viking Braggot Company features a wide variety of meads and braggots which utilize different infused honeys such as wildflower, orange blossom, hibiscus clover and, for limited time, their upcoming pumpkin blossom-based braggot.
Not only are the Southtowne Pub and south Willamette locations fantastic breweries, but they feature some of the best food to compliment your drink.
Swedish style smorgasbord platters are perfect for sharing among friends, while the sausage and mushroom pizza featuring goat cheese and creamy mushroom garlic sauce topped with arugula is one of the best pizzas in Eugene.
“Their burgers were juicy, substantial and full of flavor,” UO graduate Jacob Resnikoff said after claiming Viking Braggot Company had the best burger in Eugene. “I could tell the quality of the ingredients was superb, but the caramelized onion jam was what really brought it to another level.”
Their covered outdoor seating is also perfect for rainy fall weather if you’re looking to bundle up and stay dry.
Best gaming/sports bar: Big City Gamin’
If you’re looking for an experience that’ll take you away from campus with a larger drink selection and activities, look no further than Big City Gamin’ in downtown Eugene. This establishment is owned and operated by Justin Field, who sold the store after its near decade residency as a video and game rental store.
It wasn’t until Field had the opportunity to buy back the place in 2018 and rebrand it as a gaming sports bar that its name started picking up traction. For the majority of the COVID-19 pandemic, BCG was closed for renovations, but finally reopened in early 2021.
New outdoor seating that allows for more space between patrons and a spacious interior has helped the establishment adjust to modern COVID regulations by providing customers more comfort while social distancing and playing video games or watching sporting events.
BCG not only offers some of the largest TVs available for watching sports, but allows customers to rent out TVs per hour to play game consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. They have added games such as skeeball, arcade basketball, pong and even a rail shooter, or “shoot ‘em up” style arcade game.
The drink selection offered by BCG is out of this world, with 45 rotating taps and a recently-acquired liquor license allowing hard alcohol as well.
“I’m a big cage fighting and UFC fan, and one of the best things about this place is that they offer most of the pay-per-view fights here,” said BCG regular Cory Beuans.
Even though BCG offers a small food menu of their own, mostly containing a mix of different paninis and bar food sides, employee Xavier Sanchez mentioned one of his favorite elements of BCG is how people can enjoy a beer with food from the local food carts that are stationed right next to the bar.
“Fellow employees and friends all frequent here, plus the Za Pizza Cart also draws people in since they may want to eat inside and can enjoy a beer with their meal,” Sanchez said.
But Big City Gamin’ isn’t just for adults. Anyone under the age of 21 is able to rent out a TV and choose a game from a library of AAA titles and play alone or with buddies until 9:00 p.m.
Big City Gamin’ is located on 1288 Willamette Street, right next to Za Pizza Cart.
Best unique bar: The Monkey’s Paw
If you haven’t heard of The Monkey’s Paw Tiki Bar, you can’t be blamed. Located at 420 Main Street in Springfield, The Monkey’s Paw is a bit out of the way for most students, but worth the trip.
Not only is the staff some of the friendliest you can encounter at any local bar, but the atmosphere and unique drink selection can’t be found anywhere else.
Want another incentive? Karaoke night starts every Thursday at 9:00 p.m. and features exclusive drink specials such as their $5 Pineapple Chipotle Cooler.
The Monkey’s Paw is a bit of a trek from campus, but as long as you have a designated driver for drop off and pick up, the fun cocktails and escapist atmosphere makes it worth the trip.
Best classic pub: Pint Pot
While every UO student is most likely familiar with the Safeway on East 18th Avenue, what students may not be familiar with is the golden goose egg that lies right nearby. Pint Pot is owned and operated by The Webfoot Bar & Grill owner Justin Walker.
Pint Pot is a classic Irish public house, which is immediately noticeable upon entry as gaelic music blares through the speakers. Unlike the two-story bar of Rennie’s Landing, Pint Pot is a stretched building with primary and secondary bars, which allow for more seating.
Other than the notable Irish paraphernalia adorned on the ceiling and walls of the primary bar, the immediate standout of Pint Pot is its collection of 255 different whiskeys, with a shot ranging in price from under $10 to over $100 for top shelf, said bartender Dwayne Boggie.
While outdoor seating is a bit sparse, no other bar comes close to exuding the same ambience as Pint Pot. When you step through the front door you feel transported to another part of the world.
And then there’s the food. While not as extensive a menu as some of the other bars on this list, Pint Pot excels at classic Irish grub, ranging from an Irish breakfast — blood sausage and corned beef hash — to bangers and mash and Irish stew.
“It’s the food for me, man,” long time fan of the establishment, Kellen Hodges, said.
Pint Pot isn’t for everyone, but it is one of the best places to grab a drink in Eugene, and one that doesn’t get nearly as much love from college students as it should.
Pint Pot is located on 165 East 17th Avenue, right behind Safeway.
Though COVID is still a significant problem, each of these businesses have available outdoor seating and make sure to maintain proper mask guidelines, offering free disposable masks and hand sanitizer at the ready.
Whether it is on your own or with a group of friends, these five bars, pubs and breweries are a surefire way for you to enjoy the weekends and hopefully discover some new and intriguing locations that are close to campus.