Hello, Buckeye fans! I hope you’re ready for a fun weekend of football after last weekend’s lull in quality and drama (with the exception of the other OSU getting screwed, which was outstanding). I’m sure many of you will be heading down to the Sooner State this weekend, as evidenced by the fact that you’ve sold out a pep rally at our basketball arena. We’re a pretty hospitable bunch unless your fan base has given us reason not to be (LSU fans are in for a rude environment if that home-and-home is eventually finalized), so we’ll definitely treat y’all well. In fact, I’ve decided to give traveling fans a guide to Norman and Oklahoma City to enhance the experience.
A couple of things that you need to know right off the bat:
- Beer sold at gas stations in Oklahoma is required by law to be at or under 3.2% ABW (or 4.0% ABV). It’s an archaic law that should be overturned in November, but for now we have to live with it. This means that if you want beer that might actually get you drunk, you’ll have to find liquor stores (which close at 9 p.m.). Bars are partially immune from this law, with the exception of domestics (which still have to be at or under 3.2% ABV). So if you go to a bar, order a grown-up beer.
- South OKC has absolutely nothing to offer you, with the exception of strip clubs. The vast majority of Oklahoma City’s strip clubs are in South OKC, and they’re actually not terrible. Other than that, stay north of the river unless you’re a meth head, in which case South OKC is probably heaven. I truly believe Breaking Bad could’ve been set there.
- Don’t say a word about Kevin Durant. Seriously, not a fucking word.
Here are the places you should go in Norman:
Norman Bars and Restaurants
- The Mont - Located at the corner of Boyd & Classen, this bar/restaurant is within walking distance of the stadium. Their patio is outstanding, and they’re known for having a great skillet of queso and a pretty good Blue Plate Special. If you’re a girl, order a Swirl (a frozen mixture Everclear and Sangria). Hell, order it if you’re a guy, too. I won’t judge.
- The Deli (Campus Corner) - Despite the name, this place actually doesn’t serve food. What they do serve, however, is a 32 oz. cup of Budweiser for $3.50. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a law regarding ABV in Oklahoma, so have them pour a shot or two of Crown in there for you. This is the dive bar for live music in Norman, with Oklahoma musicians Parker Millsap, Turnpike Troubadours, John Fullbright, and John Moreland playing there in the past before gaining considerable national notoriety.
- O’Connell’s (Campus Corner) - The old, legendary location at the corner of Lindsey and Jenkins is gone, but the new location on Campus Corner is perfectly fine. Order a beer rocket and an ETW Burger.
- Seven47 (Campus Corner) - This place will require a certain amount of tolerance to douchebaggery, but it’s full of hot sorority girls every Friday and Saturday night.
- Logie’s (Campus Corner) - This place used to be called Logan’s, but it’s still the same exact place. This is Norman’s weekend shitshow location with a mixture of different types of people. It’s one of those places that you’re embarrassed to say you actually like, but you end up going there anyway.
- Blackbird (Campus Corner) - This is a somewhat-classy gastropub on Campus Corner with some pretty damn good food. Upstairs is The Bird’s Nest, which has a bit more of a nightlife crowd. I definitely recommend it.
- Sugers (Campus Corner) - That’s not a typo - that’s how they spell it. This is Norman’s only strip club, and it’s a place that you simply have to go to if you’re ever in Norman. You don’t go to see attractive women dance on stage (you’ll be very disappointed if you do). You go there for the experience - kind of like the Clermont Lounge in Atlanta, but not as good. They have really cheap beer, too, which is always a plus.
OKC Bars and Restaurants
If you’re coming into town for the game, there’s a very good chance that you’re staying in OKC. People will tell you to go to Bricktown, but I’d suggest staying away from it for the most part. Unless there’s a Thunder game, it’s just full of townies, as well as small-town people who are spending their weekend in “the big city”.
- 51st Street Speakeasy (Western Ave. Area) - Formerly a large mansion across from my high school, this place is pretty awesome when there’s a good crowd (which is usually the case on weekend nights). They’ve got a great beer selection and usually some pretty good live music.
- Edna’s (Western Ave. Area) - Just down the street from the Speakeasy is Edna’s, which is a happening place. They’re known for their Lunchboxes (a beer with a splash of OJ and a shot of Amaretto). This is probably the late-night destination I would recommend the most in Oklahoma City, along with the Speakeasy.
- Fassler Hall/Dust Bowl (NW 10th St.) - These are two bars that are on top of one another - The bottom one being a bar/bowling alley that is a lot of fun, and the top one being a German sports bar. Both are originally Tulsa establishments, but the OKC locations are phenomenal.
- Bleu Garten (NW 10th St.) - This is an outdoor food truck area and beer garden pretty close to the entry listed above. This is a really chill place, and you should definitely check it out.
- The Pump Bar (Uptown 23rd) - This is a pretty damn good patio bar that plays Harry Potter books on tape over the speakers in the bathrooms. They recently got in trouble for infusions , but the issue has been resolved and they’re allowed to do it again. The crowd here is pretty hip, but it’s very laid back and a good place to drink. They have some decent bar food late at night, as well.
- Empire Slice House/The Mule (Plaza District) - The first place is an outstanding pizza place with a good beer selection, and the second place is an outstanding sandwich place that specializes in Moscow Mules (hence the name). They’re both in the Plaza District, which is a new and hip little area that you should check out.
- Tapwerks (Bricktown) - If you’re downtown during happy hour on Friday, this is the place to go. They have like 200 taps from all over the world and some good food. My dad claims to have been their first ever customer, but I think he’s full of shit.
- JJ’s Alley (Bricktown) - The upstairs area is usually great for live music, and it’s a good place to go in Bricktown if you’re trying to escape the idiot crowd.
- S&B Burger Joint - If you’re looking for good burgers and Bloody Marys, look no further. They have multiple locations in OKC, including a good one on NW 9th St. They used to have a location on Main St. in Norman, but I think it burned down.
- The Garage - This is OKC’s chain of sports bars, and there’s a good location at 10th & Robinson. Get yourself a bison burger.
- Guyute’s (NW 23rd St.) - This is for a bit of a niche crowd, but if you’re into jam bands like I am, this is a place to check out. They stream live shows on the projectors, and the walls are filled with pretty cool concert posters and things of that nature. Even if you aren’t into jam bands, they have good food and a good booze selection, as well as a pretty solid upstairs patio.
- Cowboys OKC (South Side) - If you’re looking for a stereotypical Oklahoma experience, this is a place to go. They have bull riding (not a mechanical bull, ACTUAL bull riding) in the bar, and it gets wild. This isn’t the type of place that I frequent, but if you’re looking for something to tell your friends back home about, this is probably the place.
- The Wormy Dog Saloon (Bricktown) - This is another place that is very Oklahoman in nature, primarily because they have live Red Dirt music there. If you own a pair of boots, check it out.
- Another area to check out in OKC is the Paseo. It’s kind of an artsy area with some hipster bars, and it’s a good place to walk around. There’s this place called The Other Room that Wayne Coyne (from the Flaming Lips) frequents, and you should give it a look if you’re cool with shit like Downton Abbey being on the TVs (without sound).
Oklahoma Craft Beer
Here are some local beers to try while you’re in the area:
- Coop Ale Works - The DNR is a Dark Belgian Ale brewed in Oklahoma City with an ABV of 10%. Last time I had this, I ended up being punched in the face by a Dallas Mavericks fan at Chesapeake Energy Arena, so be careful.
- Mustang Brewing - These guys make a lot of good beers, my favorite being their OKtoberfest, which I believe is out now.
- Anthem Brewing - This is probably OKC’s best brewery, and their Arjuna is the beer that stands out to me.
- Prairie Artisan Ales - This is a Tulsa brewery that takes the cake in Oklahoma. The Prairie Hop is incredible, but so are the rest. No matter what style of beer you like, order one of theirs if you see it at a bar.
Tailgating in Norman is solid, but it unfortunately isn’t as centralized as it needs to be. The best place for it is Lindsey Street just south of the stadium. If you walk down the row of tailgates over there, fans will definitely offer you some beers. I’d also just recommend walking along Campus Corner before the game, as you’ll definitely have a fun time doing that. You’ll also find a tailgate in the parking lot of Sarkeys Energy Center, and if you find a guy named Jack Shields and are really nice to him, he might give you a cup for the kegs. If you’re mean, my dad will play “Hail to the Victors” over the speakers. He already has it downloaded for Saturday.
I genuinely hope you enjoy your time in Oklahoma (with the exception of the game), and I’m sure all of our fans feel the same way.