Roque: A look at the Lawrence bar scene


The Lawrence bar scene offers a variety of entertaining establishments to the nightlife masses. If you prefer trendy joints with loud music and dancing, look no further than Abe and Jakes Landing. For those seeking a diverse selection of draft beer, Free State Brewing Co. is a more than viable option. The Hawk and the Wheel have become ritual drinking grounds for the younger University crowd, and it’s become common knowledge that dollar night at the Hawk can make or break any student’s semester. But what about the other bars around this fine city that are never talked about? A night out at a “hole-in-the-wall” drinking establishment has become a lost art in the fast-paced socializing world of today, and it’s about time we slowed things down just a bit.

There’s nothing more frustrating to me than attempting to shoot a crucial billiards shot in a crowded bar. I’m sure that comes off as petty, but it’s true. When I head to Rick’s Place, I know that my mild form of claustrophobia won’t be an issue. Rick’s has been my go-to social hangout ever since I returned to the University two years ago. Located at ninth and Illinois streets, Rick’s has more than enough interior space to compliment a less-than impressive crowd size. Billiards tables, shuffleboard, darts, heck, even a homemade popcorn machine is on tap. The music never gets too loud because the owner, Rick, usually wants to watch a baseball game or watch the news. It’s the little things that Rick’s provides that keeps me coming back for more.

I know what a lot of you are saying, “why would I go to a hole-in-the-wall bar when I could hang out with more people at a more popular bar?” And honestly, I don’t really have a legitimate answer. I have my preferences for going out and I respect everyone else’s as well. My point, and the whole point of this column really, is that a hole-in-the-wall joint provides a comfortable escape from our academically-demanding lives in ways that The Cave and Quinton’s cannot. Conversations with friends can be better heard, comfortable space is in abundance, and there’s a vibe that seems to echo, “chill out, bro” to the drunken folk who grace us with their loud and boisterous presences every so often.

Either way, Lawrence is providing us with a plethora of pleasant beer-drinking establishments, and we should all be grateful for it. If you want to hit up The Hawk on a Wednesday night and stay past 2 a.m. — turning you into a lumbering human corpse stumbling down Ohio street, or as my brother and I label them, “walkers”—then by all means party on. College is supposed to be about personal freedom and experiences, and lord knows I’ve been a “walker” more times than I’d care to disclose. Just don’t forget about the Rick’s of the world, because they still have plenty to offer in the realm of modern drinking establishments. Here’s to safe drinking wherever you decide to venture.

Roque is a senior majoring in journalism from Overland Park. Follow him on Twitter @sroque4.

  • Updated Nov. 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm
  • Hotdogmilkshake

    Is this guy 21? Those are all spots for little kids.

  • Brian Jay Gilmore

    I wonder how much Rick’s paid this guy to write this piece. Bit of advice: when writing about the “Lawrence bar scene”, its usually a good idea to write about more than one bar.