A Stroll Down Water Street: A Glance at the Oneonta Bar Scene

Adam Lis, Columnist

image courtesy of brainz.org
image courtesy of brainz.org

What’s the first thing that pops in your head when you hear Oneonta? For most people it might be freezing winters, city of the hills or maybe just plain boredom when school is not in session. However, for a lot of the general student population, when we think of the small city nestled right off of Interstate 88, the word “bars” comes to mind. At one point in time Oneonta had close to 15 bars all within walking distance from one another. The bar scene hit a rough patch with the raiding of three bars in one evening that resulted in the closing of the businesses, leading to uncomfortable crowding for the weekends following the incident, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel with the Red Jug Pub joining the scene in just a couple weeks. For those readers who are new to the area or have just reached the rightful age of 21 and really don’t know where to spend your weekend evenings, you’re in luck! Here is a guide to the Oneonta bar scene.

For starters, we have Stormy Mondays, which after the closing of The Alley and Today’s, has become extremely popular. Moving right next door we have The Black Oak Tavern which is your true “old school” bar. This bar caters to a large variety of individuals who are looking for a relaxing atmosphere, good beer selection and, most of the time, live music. The Black Oak is the bar to go to if you are into music and want to spend time in an atmosphere with fellow music lovers. The Oak hosts a number of events for the Oneonta students in the music industry field, for example Jazz Night and Rock combo. The two organizations work hand in hand to help each other grow. In an article from The Daily Star circa 2011 in which Music Industry students talked about the music scene in Oneonta; Brianne Galli stated, “When I was in Oneonta, I tried to support good bands by attending their concerts at the Clinton Pub, the Black Oak Tavern and other venues where good live music was being presented. After professional experience at both my internships, I’ve learned that bands need to work with venues to increase audience size and loyalty. The venues can help by paying for some of the advertising, and the band can help by using their online presence to bring in audiences.”

Next, we have The Sip and Sail Tavern. Arguably the most popular bar in Oneonta, The Sip is filled with students on Tuesday nights for trivia night and Friday afternoons fo rhappy hour. It caters to individuals who like a crowd and a good time. There is a decent sized dance floor with great DJs for the weekends. The only negative aspect of The Sip would be the fact that it is so popular that it has a tendency to get really crowded really fast. If you are looking for a relaxing bar on the weekends where you are not waiting in line for a drink, then The Sip is not for you. On the otherhand, if you want to dance and see many fellow classmates for meet and greets then head down to Water Street directly across from the parking garage.

Following we have The Fox and Legends. The Fox is your typical “townie” bar which frankly only seems to see students for football on Sundays. The Fox is almost like the best kept secret specifically for their cheap drinks and above average bar food. If you ever take a chance and go down there, don’t be too shy to order some food. The wings are great and the sandwiches are superb. Legends is your typical lower end sports bar. I only say this because you don’t see much advertising for the games that are playing at the bar. Mostly overloaded with Hartwick students on the weekends, Legends gets lost in the mix. Most people don’t know of the specials there and may only go for Mug Night or Karaoke on Thursdays.

To finish off the voyage we have Jimmy T’s, your version of a club here in Oneonta. Owned by Joe Ruffino this large venue can hold way more people than any other bar in Oneonta. If you are looking to dance your ass off for the night then you should come here. The best thing about Oneonta’s bars is the variety of them; there is something for everyone.

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