In good old Gainesvegas, partying is a little unconventional compared to the radical 9-hour nights-turned-to-mornings in more vibrant cities. We make do with what we have, but when it comes to bar-hopping, there’s really only one place to be in Gainesville: Midtown. Midtown is a quaint little ball of debauchery (depending on the night) located right on University Ave. It consists of five bars for underages, four bars for overages, and most importantly, ten restaurants for drunchies.
You could spend two years trying to nail down a routine for the perfect night in the “Ville,” or you could hop on the Tour de Midtown for a quick analysis of your ideal experience in this sh*tshow. The magic lies in hitting the right combination of bars, and then NAILING it with a bomb restaurant that will never disappoint you. As your trusty tour guide, I’ve managed to assemble a comprehensive list that matches your personality type with your ideal itinerary for the night.
The People Hater
You do not want to be out. In fact, you tried so hard to convince your only friend that it would be much more fun to have a Harry Potter movie marathon instead. But you’re out now, and there’s nothing you can do about it. In that case, head over to Salty Dog, where it’s socially acceptable to sit in a small, uncomfortable booth by yourself with a Blue Moon in one hand and your phone in the other.
Salty is a fairly cramped bar that offers minimal space to walk around and socialize — music to your ears, right? The music makes you want to relax rather than dance, so you don’t have to fret about anyone trying to cop a feel once Drake comes on. Chances are, if you’re at this bar, there’s no way your inebriation level will bring you to the point of “drunchies,” so you can take your friend (or just yourself) over to Mochi for an even more calm, anti-people atmosphere.
The Social Butterfly
You started pre-gaming an entire seven hours before your arrival in Midtown, and you’re still ready for more. Fat Daddy's is your place. The bartenders know your first name, last name and drink preference at this point, and it’s about time you attempt to remember their names, too. But you won’t. Although, you do know just about everyone else in the bar, and you’ll be sure to make your rounds just so that everyone sees you too.
When you’ve reached your limit of sweaty people touching you and bartenders forcing drinks down your throat, all you need left to reach your maximum level of fulfillment is a hot slice of pizza. Italian Gator, aka Pizza by the Slice, is as close as Gainesville gets to authentic Italian pizza, and it does a pretty great job at it. Heading from Fat’s to this pizza joint will keep your night goals in line — literally. Standing in this line will guarantee you the best possible way to “show face” for the night. Not to mention, your stomach will thank you in the morning.
The Queen/King of Bad Decisions
Congratulations. You are seeking an extremely ratchet night. Absolutely no one goes to Cantina sober, and frankly, no one goes to Cantina ever… unless a) you think you’re at a different bar or b) you’re past the point of caring. Once your friends inform you of your guest appearance at “Tina” in the morning, you’ll be both embarrassed and confused. This bar closes at 2 a.m. sharp, which is precisely when the congregation of partiers, ranging from ages 15-55, will flock to the restaurants of Midtown for their salvation. If you’re smart though, you’ll head straight to Flaco’s for an on-the-go meal.
Every night you go out in Gainesvillle, you make a crucial decision. Tatu, or no? This bar offers BOGO sake bombs, which include a shot of sake and a pint of beer each. If you make the choice to go to Tatu, you will black out. You also will not make it to any other bars for the entire night. As for Tatu’s food pairing, no food. Go home. Throw up. There is absolutely no hope. Unless of course you're feeling dauntless and want to order Tatu's infamous sushi rolls, but good luck.
The Ultimate Gator Fan
You are the ultimate Gator, and the Swamp is your home. The one promise you will keep in your life is to never miss a Friday or Saturday at The Swamp Restaurant. In fact, you often start out at Swamp and remain in the same spot until the bar closes at 2 a.m. Swamp is for beer-loving, talkative sports watchers who simply can not get enough of the college atmosphere. It’s for the fans who never miss a second of the game. But when they do, it’s because they’re grabbing a burger at the stadium before running back into the stands to do the infamous chomp. The same applies at night. After your routine at Swamp, you’ll head over to Relish for a wildly greasy burger and fries. You may have to stand in line for 30+ minutes, but fear not — Relish also has TVs lining the perimeter of the restaurant so you won’t miss any sports updates.
A night out brings a lot of fun but also raises a lot of questions. What do I wear? Who will I see? How do I make sure bae sees me at my peak in the night? But it’s not until the window of sunshine (1:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.) that we start asking the real question: Where do I eat in Midtown?