Being a young college student who has the world at his or her own oyster is a wonderful thing. However, being a young college student also means being strapped for cash when the desire to socialize and frequent bars is at its peak. The solution to this unfortunate dilemma is to take advantage of “college nights,” which are offered at many local watering holes. Whether they offer a discount on entry, have slammin’ drink specials or host special events or giveaways, the following are some of the best bars to enjoy an affordable night out on a college student budget.

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The Shout House
650 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 337-6700

While most bars offer college ID nights on random weekdays, The Shout House offers it every Friday. Simply flash your college ID at the door to get in free of cover. Have a few beers, sing loudly to whatever top 40 hit or classic rock song gets requested, and laugh as the dueling piano players entertain with their comedic antics. If you are under the age of 21 you are out of luck, however, as The Shout House is a 21+ venue.

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Legends Bar & Grill
825 E Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-8781

Really wanting to go out on a Saturday evening, but the financial aid is rapidly running out? Luckily Legend’s Bar & Grill celebrates college ID night on Saturdays with 2-for-1 drink specials, which include rails, top-shelf cocktails, pints and more. Legends also has specials every night of the week on top of the recurring happy hours, so frequenting this bar on a college budget won’t break the bank. Don’t forget to check out the tasty menu, full of bar staples like burgers, sandwiches and wings.

(credit: Aqua Nightclub via Facebook)

Aqua Nightclub & Lounge
400 First Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 232-3232

If clubbing is more your scene, downtown nightclub Aqua regularly features an 18+ night every Thursday with free cover when you flash your college ID (offer good prior to 11 p.m.). Co-eds of drinking age can enjoy $2 drinks until midnight and $5 drop shots until the doors close. Jam out to current top 40s hits and hip hop while you mix and mingle at one of Aqua’s three bars. Expected dress is trendy and casual, but not too casual; think dress to impress. If you fail to meet their standards and decide to toss on overly baggy clothes or a hat, you won’t be granted entry.

Related: Best Nightlife Spots for the Under 21 Crowd


Memory Lanes Bowling
2520 26th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 721-6211

Regardless of age, bowling is one of those “non-sport” activities that most everyone enjoys. You need not be particularly skilled at rolling a ball down a lane, and when you mix this activity with beer, that’s a good thing. Even if you wind up with more gutter balls than actual pins knocked down after a game, time spent bowling with friends can be a fun social activity. This is a fun and affordable option because Memory Lanes offers $2 games Sunday through Thursday to bowlers who show their college ID. Take advantage of happy hour specials until 6 p.m. and $8.25 pitchers of PBR any time.

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The Halftime Rec
1013 Front Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55103
(651) 488-8245

What college student doesn’t appreciate a good dive bar, a homey if slightly grungy home-away-from-home that serves beer? Buying in bulk saves money, even on beer, so show the bartender your college ID to get a $6 pitcher of suds. Challenge a friend to a game of pool, darts, bocce ball and even something called Hammer Schlagen every Friday & Saturday night every winter to liven up a casual night out. This fun, Oktoberfest-inspired drinking game will have you forgetting the stress of finals in no time.

(credit: Sally’s Saloon and Eatery via Facebook)

Sally’s Saloon & Eatery
712 Washington Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-3231

Conveniently located near the U of M, Sally’s is an institution of sorts frequented by thirsty college co-eds. Sally’s boasts some of the best happy hour specials around, making an evening out an affordable event for students. Sally’s periodically has seasonal college specials, including their recent summer special dubbed “Wild Wednesdays,” which featured a DJ spinning all evening and free drinks for those in possession of their college ID from 11 p.m. to midnight.

Related: Best Secret Bars In Minnesota

A Minnesota native that was born and raised Up North, Minneapolis is where Christina Kalinowski currently calls home. Christina appreciates irony, loves bacon, enjoys a hearty libation (drink responsibly, folks), and is an avid proponent of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Her work can be found at