Sing, drink, be merry in Ames bars

Sarah Gonzalez

Sweet Caroline, don’t stop believing because I’ve got friends in low places sitting at a bar.

Popular bar songs seem to be universal in almost anywhere in the country. In Ames, it’s likely that at least one of these songs will be played during a night out, especially on a Tuesday karaoke night. However, after a survey of mostly Campustown bars and some others, it seems that every drinker can find his or her favorite drinking tunes in Ames.

While most bars will obviously cater to their customers’ taste and requests, there is a certain style of music that can be expected from the different bars in Ames. From French café to hip hop to country, each genre seems to find a home in a Campustown venue.

“We keep pretty good variety playing upstairs, we just keep it upbeat and ready to party,” said Mickey’s Irish Pub general manager, Tim Schrum.

The two levels of Mickey’s Irish Pub offer different atmospheres for the partying drinker: dancing drinker and singing drinker. Attend Mickey’s on a Tuesday for karaoke and you’ll likely hear “Santeria” by Sublime — the most popular karaoke song at Mickey’s — sung by a Campustown drinker. Travel downstairs and expect hip hop and dancing on Wednesday through Saturday nights. Stay upstairs, and almost anything goes.

“The right kind of music brings the best out in people,” Schrum said. “We’ll play the top 40, but also keep the throw-backs going to promote conversation and just a good at time.”

If you’re looking for something more exotic and international, Café Beaudelaire on Lincoln Way offers unique bar music every day of the week. The Café is open to serve lunch, dinner and Long Island iced teas to a playlist of everything from Bob Marley and the Black Keys to international artists like Nouveau Vague and Morcheeba.

“We have a lot of international students that come here so we really try to cater to those crowds. We’ll play mostly international music during lunch and dinner because it’s a South American establishment,” said server Natalie Woodrum. “On the weekends we get the bar crowd so the DJ plays more top 40 and other familiar songs.”

If you have friends in low places and want to boot-scoot-boogie, head to Outlaws for lively dancing and country music. With a raised dance floor and two levels of bars, Outlaws offers the only primarily country atmosphere in Ames.

So you know your atmosphere, you’ve picked a destination, and you’re ready to order a round or few. You know you can drink to any kind of music, but you want to get the whole crowd together. You’re all just sitting at a bar on the inside, waiting for a ride on the outside, after all.

“‘Irish Drinking Song’ by the Dropkick Murphys — now that’s a drinker’s drinking song,” said Marcus Noge, manager of West Town Pub. “You know when you play that people are going to be drinking a little faster.”

West Towne Pub, in west Ames on Mortensen Road, offers its crowds Karaoke Tuesdays and a jukebox to request their own music if it’s not on the bar’s regular playlist. The regular crowd has various tastes in tunes, but to get the party started, according to Noge, you bust out the Irish drinking songs.

Rest assured, no matter where you go in Ames, you can grab your friends, a few adult beverages and sing away.