If you're heading out on the town, there's plenty of choice in Lawrence nightlife.
Both students and Lawrence residents mingle at the numerous bars and live music outlets around the city. The gathering places draw bands from across the country on tour and area bands of all ages, sizes and styles.
Both the Jazzhaus, 926 Mass. and the Bottleneck, 737 N.H., schedule about half their dates from area bands and half from touring groups. Many other venues around town cater to live music on the weekends and during the week.
Jazzhaus owner Rick McNeely said his audience, which used to be made up predominantly of the thirty-something crowd, is drawing more and more students.
"I'd say the average age at the bar was at 35 a couple of years ago and has recently fallen about 10 years," he said.
One of the newer sites in town is Benchwarmers, a sports and live music bar at 1601 W. 23rd. Last spring, the bar offered a full schedule of live bands, but for the coming year the owner envisions catering to special events, both in the way of sports and live music.
"WE'RE GOING to book more touring bands and sell advanced tickets," said Reed Brinton, owner of Benchwarmers. "When we book a band we want it to be special, and the other times we want to make this a place where people can come and not have to worry about cover.''
Football weekends also draw the crowds to Benchwarmers, he said. And Benchwarmers saw booming business last March and April when the Kansas University men's basketball team advanced to the final game of the NCAA championship tournament.
"We had people camping out overnight waiting to get in," Brinton said. "It was unbelievable for us.''
At the Bottleneck, things are looking good for the coming year as well, said Brett Mosiman, the owner.
"I was interviewed for USA Today about the recession," Mosiman said. "I told them that we weren't really seeing it here because Lawrence seems to have a recession-proof economy.''
"THE KU KIDS have more money than any time before," agrees McNeely.
Students just getting acquainted with Kansas drinking laws need to remember that the legal age for buying any alcohol including beer is 21.
Here's a brief rundown on many of the city's popular night spots.
The live music scene also gets a boost from such venues as Duffy's, Sixth and Iowa at the Quality Inn; the Rum Tree in the Holidome, 200 McDonald Dr.; the Crossing, 618 W. 12th, just north of the KU campus; Just a Playhouse, 806 W. 24th; and the Outhouse, four miles east of Massachusetts Street on 15th Street.
If your taste leans more toward country and western, then try Shiloh's, 23rd and Haskell. It's a private club with a floor made for dancing. And you can catch some of a coffee house-folk atmosphere at the Glass Onion, 624 W. 12th.
The Jayhawk Cafe, better known as the Hawk, 1340 Ohio, the Wagon Wheel, 507 W. 14th, and Bullwinkles Bar, 1344 Tenn., are all within walking distance of campus. All three are packed with students and alumni after home KU football games.
DOWNTOWN, The Mad Hatter, 700 N.H., remains popular as a beer bar with live music, and the Free State Brewing Company, 638 Mass., offers an on-site microbrewery, food and occasional music in its beer garden during the summer months.
The Kansas Sports Bar and Grill, Seventh and Massachusetts, is in the basement of the Eldridge Hotel and offers large-screen televisions for sports fans. And Louise's, 1009 Mass., and Louise's West, 1307 W. Seventh, are a pair of straightforward bars.
Johnny's Up and Under, 401 N. Second, also offers some live music for those willing to cross the Kansas River bridge. Johnny's also serves burgers and fries of some distinction.
ANOTHER popular dance venue is The Power Plant, Ninth and Mississippi.
Among the other places that offer respite with food and drink are Dos Hombres, 815 N.H., which along with Becerros, 2151 W. Sixth, offers Mexican fare. And Molly McGee's, 2429 Iowa, and the Brass Apple, 3300 W. 15th, have good kitchens to add to the ambiance of sports and imports.