The start of a new college term means long hours in the library, classes, tests and deadlines. It also means reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. For many, college can be the best time of their lives with nights spent out in the city that never sleeps. The only problem? Being a broke college kid in one of the country’s most expensive cities can put a real damper on your social life. Never fear––these NYC bars cater to college kids’ light pockets with great drink and food specials. You may have a life outside of school yet.

NYC’s 5 Best College Bars

The Gin Mill

(credit: The Gin Mill/Facebook)

442 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY 1002

College students, especially Fordham and Colombia co-eds, delight in this sports bar located on the Upper West Side. Thursday is the night that college students pack in The Gin Mill. This weeknight includes many specials including $9 pitchers of Bud, Bud Light and Coors Light, $12 Pitchers of Sam Adams, Blue Moon and Redhook and half price bombs for all––a twenty-something’s dream special. College students also receive half off drinks with ID on Thursday nights. You’ll also find reasonably priced bar fare like deep dish pizzas and potato skins for under $8, so there’s no reason to subject yourself to yet another night of Ramen noodles.

Related: Best Brooklyn Bars 

Off The Wagon

(credit: Off The Wagon/Facebook)

109 MacDougal St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 533-4487

Located in Greenwich Village, Off the Wagon is a popular spot for the NYU crowd. Tuesday is college night at Off The Wagon with valid student ID. The college night special starts at 8 p.m. and includes $9 pitchers, $3 tall boys and 50 percent off all bomb shots. Weekly happy hour is between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., which consists of half price on drinks. Sliders and dogs are just $2.50 a pop, so eat up.


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50 W 17th St.
New York, NY 10011

This gay-friendly bar has a rousing campus night on Thursdays. Bring your student ID and partake in the dance party in this 10,000 square foot hotspot. Splash has two floors of entertainment on Campus Thursdays including live shows, drink specials and music from the most popular college hip hop and pop DJs. Splash has had many guest performers including Britney Spears, Patti Labelle, Cyndi Lauper, and Jennifer Holliday, so you may just get a little glimpse of the red carpet on your next night away from the books.

Jake’s Dilemma

The front entrance of Jake’s Dilemma (credit:

430 Amsterdam Ave.
(Between 80th & 81st)
New York, NY 10024
(212) 580-0556

Jake’s Dilemma has plenty of beer flowing with 14 beers on tap and more than 50 kinds of bottled beer. It is certainly the place to stop in while on a break from all-nighters and 8 a.m. classes. Wednesday is college night with valid student ID. The college night special offers $4 you-call-its, so it’s perfect for any discerning drinker. This includes all drafts, domestic bottles, well drinks and shots.

Related:  New York City’s Best Pub Crawl

Down the Hatch

(credit: Down The Hatch)

179 W 4th St.
(between 6th & 7th Ave)
New York, NY
(212) 627-9747

College ID may not be required, but students are welcome at Down the Hatch’s college night on Thursdays. You’ll find half price on drinks at the bar, which is known for serving some awesome Atomic Wings and was even voted Best Wings NYC in 2005. Also located in Greenwich Village, this is Off the Wagon’s more hip companion. Some other college specials are $3 Domestic Bottles, $3 Shots, $5 Bomb Shots and $9 Domestic Pitchers on Thursdays.

Tracy Dunstan is a freelance writer covering all things New York. Her work can be found on