Good times flow downtown Brookings

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This weekend, Brookings annual Pub Crawl will have people from all over the community—Jackrabbit or not—bar-hopping their way down Main. Anyone visiting Downtown Brookings can find more bars than they can count on both hands and all within a few block radius.

“You’ve got a number of good sports bars…a college bar…a twenty something social bar… There’s a number of bars that attempt to do the cocktail thing…like Old Market…There’s a pretty good cross-section,” said Seth Koch, co-owner of Wooden Legs Brewing Company and SDSU graduate.

Downtown has a number of different bars to offer locals, SDSU students and alumni and visitors. According to Koch, this is what draws people down to Main Street.

“We wanted to make a place that was approachable for professionals. There are good sports bars in town. There are good college bars in town,” Koch said. Wooden Legs offers a wide variety of brews and puts on events to attract the community, such as Tuesday Trivia or Wall Street Wednesday.

The sense of community, different atmospheres and nostalgia is what keeps drawing people back to Downtown Brookings and the various bars, Koch said.

“It’s just a memory that you have…It’s like Nick’s…it’s an institution; there’s nothing wrong with Applebee’s or chains but it’s transferrable,” Koch said.

For SDSU alumna Linda Duba, her recent visit to Brookings made her realize the many changes in the bar scene, but brought back many memories of Friday and Saturday nights spent having fun with friends.

“For you guys it’s house parties – for us it was the bars…that is the difference between then and now…we were old enough. We went downtown to dance and meet guys…it was fun. Whether you lived on campus or off, you went downtown,” Duba said.

According to Duba, Brookings has changed since her time at SDSU, when people who were 18 and 19 had the ability to legally drink, which means the atmosphere at the bars has changed.

“We didn’t tailgate, we’d go downtown…you’d go drink downtown and then you’d go to the game…we’d walk, nobody drove,” Duba said, “It wasn’t that far, we didn’t care if it was the middle of winter…it was safer.”

Returning to Brookings brought a lot of memories back for Duba, which is what Koch says is the charm of the downtown bars.

“My wife was a bartender at Rays and that’s where we met…[I’ve had] more than one LOL moment at Jim’s…or out on Skinner’s patio…” Koch said.

As for today’s version of downtown, Cubby’s Sports Bar is a great place to go on game day, and returning to Jim’s Tap provides the nostalgia, Duba said.

According to Duba, visiting Brookings becomes a challenge for many alumni.

“You go back right after you graduate…and then you get married and have kids and you don’t go back because you have to get through that phase of your life…and then you go back,” Duba said. She said Downtown Brookings is progressive with all of its changes since her last visit.

With Pub Crawl taking place March 21, students like senior psychology major Kayla Micke are prepared to make a pit stop at all of Brookings establishments.

“I like that it brings everyone together and no matter what kind of atmosphere you want to be in they have a bar for you…They have the 9 or the Lantern where you can go and dance, or places like Sully’s, they are the local ones where people are regulars,” Micke said.

Pub Crawl brings the community together and allows people the opportunity to meet new people, Micke said. The deals and specials at different bars around downtown lead to bar-hopping.

According to Koch, people often stop in for a drink and move around, and even locals still bar-hop around Main.

“You can literally and figuratively soak up the nostalgia within four blocks,” Koch said.