Welcome back: Ames nightlife


Hannah Olson

AJ’s Ultra Lounge is one of the most popular bars in Ames for students to visit on the weekends.

Kylee Haueter

With around half of its population being students at Iowa State, Ames is a college town. To appease the predominantly younger population, the city has plenty of nightlife and entertainment options for students.

Ames has many that students can hit up on the weekends and in the middle of the week as well, as a matter of fact. To cater to students, Ames bars have deals such as Trivia Tuesday, dollar drinks Wednesdays, mug nights on Thursdays and a crowd-favorite – Friday After Class.

Some of the most popular bars in Ames make their homes on Welch Avenue, right in the heart of Campustown. 

AJ’s Ultra Lounge is one popular bar, boasting three levels and an outdoor patio. The bar also has a large dance floor, contributing to its nightclub-esque feel.

BNC Fieldhouse is a sports bar that also hosts Bachelor/Bachelorette nights, trivia nights, karaoke nights and comedy nights. The Iowa State standup comedy club can be spotted at BNC on every other Wednesday. 

Cy’s Roost is another popular bar, with its upstairs game room setting it apart. Enjoy a game of Mario Kart or play a game of bags out on the patio. 

Just a few steps away from Cy’s lies Mickey’s Irish Pub. Mickey’s is one of the bars that sells $1 well drinks Wednesday night and also has a patio. Mickey’s basement is home to a dance floor.

Another Irish pub, Paddy’s, can be found across the street from Mickey’s. Paddy’s shares a building with another popular bar, Sips. Paddy’s can be found upstairs in this building and has a couple of pool tables and a beer pong table. Downstairs at Sips, students can treat themselves to a game of Ski-Ball or break it down on the dance floor. At 11 p.m., Sips gives out a free tequila shot or dirty shirley for Sips O’clock.

Outlaws is a bar for those that want to connect with their inner cowboy. One of the few country bars in Ames, the venue hosts live bands and also has frequent drink deals. The downstairs area has a more relaxed vibe, while the upstairs area, home to the dance floor, is much more rowdy.

For a more low-key vibe, settle in for drinks and food one street over at Es Tas Bar and Grill on Stanton Avenue. Some of the bar’s most popular menu items are the tacos and nachos. Or, stay on Welch and play some pool and order pizza at Welch Ave. Station. 

There are, of course, plenty of other bars around Ames that aren’t considered the “hotspots” of the party scene. One Night Stand, Mother’s Pub and Time Out are examples of bars that are more low-key and tend to attract more of the residential Ames population as opposed to only students. Whether you’re looking to break it down on the dance floor or just relax with a beer, Ames has something for you.