Archive for Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two Lawrence bars named to national ‘Top 50’ list

Cheers to the Replay Lounge and owner Nick Carroll, front and center, pictured with staff members of the bar in this 2007 file photo. The bar was voted one of the best bars in America in a recent Complex Magazine article.

Cheers to the Replay Lounge and owner Nick Carroll, front and center, pictured with staff members of the bar in this 2007 file photo. The bar was voted one of the best bars in America in a recent Complex Magazine article.

August 31, 2010


Apparently finding a good college bar isn’t really that difficult for Complex Magazine, especially if you look in Lawrence.

The men’s lifestyle publication has tapped two Lawrence establishments as among the best of the best.

The Replay Lounge, 946 Mass., and The Wheel, 507 W. 14th St., were named Nos. 31 and 41, respectively, by Complex Magazine in its list of the 50 best college bars in America.

The Wheel was called a “must-visit” to folks making their way through Lawrence, though the writer jokes that the pizza isn’t that good, it just tastes good thanks to the copious amounts of alcohol served at the bar.

Meanwhile, the Replay, which was tapped as one of the top bars in America by Esquire magazine back in 2007, was praised by Complex for its live music, pinball and patio as much as for its anti-frat house vibe.

Replay owner Nick Carroll says that though he’s excited about being on the list, one of the reasons it may have even been mentioned is because it’s kind of an anti-college bar.

“I’m not sure it’s really the 31st best college bar, but it’s nice to get that, to have it called that,” Carroll says. “I think a lot of times, the reason I think we get a lot of attention is it sounds really different when they’re comparing a bunch of bars. It’s like all the bars kind of say that they have sports, TV and good food or whatever, and ours is pinball, bands and a patio, and so it kind of separates us a little bit.”

Snagging the top spot on the magazine’s list was actually a watering hole catering to another Big 12 school (for now), Nebraska. Duffy’s Tavern, which is located at 1412 O St. in Lincoln, was praised for having a fire pit, live music (Nirvana played there back in the day) and “fishbowl-sized cocktails.”

Lawrence was the only Kansas college town to have bars on the list, and one of just a handful of towns to have more than one entry. Carroll isn’t surprised.

“I think Lawrence has great bars compared to most towns. There’s at least 10 of them downtown that I think are really solid,” he says. “And that’s what makes the downtown area so great.”


pizzapete 7 years, 7 months ago

The ashtray lounge, who would have thought?

gccs14r 7 years, 7 months ago

The Replay might be tolerable if they'd hose out the bathrooms and clean the tap lines once in awhile. I've been only twice, and that was plenty. Never been in the Wheel, so I can't comment on that place.

Vinny1 7 years, 7 months ago

2 completely opposite places.

The Wheel is all frat/sorority people with pastel too short shorts and popped collar polos. Except on gamedays when its everyone and absolutely packed.

Replay is a hangout for the hipsters with two size-too small jeans, v-necks that show off way to much skinny nasty chest hair, and parliament cigs.

MrMEtoo 7 years, 7 months ago

I went to the wheel on a non-busy post school friday afternoon, and had to wait forever to get served while I waited for every frat dad and their little polo kiddies to get served. I figured a nice beer in the sun to cap the week sounded good, but i guess i forgot my polo hate and lacoste shirt. the wheel sucks.

ssakcaj 7 years, 7 months ago

It sounds like you probably had it right the first time... : )

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

I frequented Duffy's in the late 1980s. Never saw Nirvana play there.

puddleglum 7 years, 7 months ago

Nirvana never played there, it was at Howard street tavern....

Zoee 7 years, 7 months ago

Man, HATERS! I think it is pretty cool that Lawrence was featured twice. The replay is my favorite bar in Lawrence so I like that they got recognized. Are the bathrooms gross? Uh yeah, but I would assume most bathrooms on this list are.

tubs_of_love 7 years, 7 months ago

Pretty sure The Replay Lounge was also in Spin magazine's top something rather bars in America a few years ago.

sad_lawrencian 7 years, 7 months ago

Wow, 2 bars in the national top 50! Lawrence has something to really be proud of!

jimmyjms 7 years, 7 months ago

Taproom is the best bar in town, hands down.

monkey_c 7 years, 7 months ago

Taproom is good and what about the bottleneck??? It should be on some sort of list.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

Good for them, although neither can touch Free State Brewery in my opinion.

Bill Lee 7 years, 7 months ago

Not what I'd call a "college bar," which is the subject of the list being discussed.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 7 months ago

longevity does not necessarily equal noteworthy

MJ Allen 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm pretty sure that's Mr. Nick Beck in the photo.

I don't know what's funnier: Nick, Subarna, and Thad as potential look-alikes, or the idea of Thad in camouflage shorts.

Rex Russell 7 years, 7 months ago

No, that's not Subarna B. It's someone else.

Christine Hammon 7 years, 7 months ago

Pinball?! order to known for pinball, the machines have to work and/or be turned on? Several places in town and/or KC have a machine or two...and most days that's the number of machines that can be played. Does anyone even remember what it was like when the walls were lined with pinball machines?

Graczyk 7 years, 7 months ago

I love pin ball. I could always pop a few of them. They should bring quality pinball back.

lily 7 years, 7 months ago

Hey, I think Wheel pizza is good! Without the alcohol!

Kirk Larson 7 years, 7 months ago

The Wheel Pizza was great...when it was Pyramid Pizza!

someguy 7 years, 7 months ago

The Replay is great unless you want a drink. There are a couple of exceptions, but the majority of the bartenders are pretty bad. I get the stink eye if I order anything other than PBR in a can and the prices vary from round to round.

Hilary Morton 7 years, 7 months ago

The female with blonde hair is one of the nicest and most attentive bartenders in town, but I'm not ordering complex drinks there, so I never wait too long.

Michael Sizemore 7 years, 7 months ago

" much as for its anti-frat house vibe." - Nick!? sold out your sigma chi brothers? haha! Congrats! glad to see it, love the replay, and here's to your continued success!

Paul R Getto 7 years, 7 months ago

"Been to lots of bars around the country and The Replay Lounge is way up there.. so was the Crossing in the mid- late eighties [r.i.p.]." ======= The Crossing was even better when it was still the Rock Chalk Cafe. 1/2 'hippie;' 1/2 frat bar. A great mix of people and lifestyles. Virgil Cooper and his wife Peggy ran it for decades, starting when they lived in the little house in the back and Peggy would cook on the stove then run the orders up to the front. The most fun was when the FBI guys and/or Vern Miller would show up to try and go 'undercover.' It was hysterical to watch the Feds in their black suits, narrow black ties, wingtips, etc., wandering around the long-hairs: "Hey man, you got any dope?"

Grundoon Luna 7 years, 7 months ago

I though Don and Marilyn Graham owned it when it was first the Rock Chalk. Perhaps it had become the Catfish by that time?

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

Ah, yes. The famous Truckstop! Virgil was a sweetie pie.

somedude20 7 years, 7 months ago

The Rep is a good place to go "fishing" as long as your not picky about what you are reeling in. I have a friend of a friend of an enemy who said that the water on the bathroom melted through his shoes

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Replay has done a few fund raisers for community issues if my memory serves me well. Replay does have an excellent patio situation. Top notch music comes from that patio as well.

Good for the Replay but these ratings such as Lawrence being number one for anything are somewhat manipulated.

I doubt Replay is in the game of manipulating. Their beer and music scene is definitely good. Replay does a good job.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

I hope that prospective college students aren't basing their decision on which school has the best bars nearby.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

All other things being equal, it's certainly a worthy tiebreaker.

FSJohnBrown 7 years, 7 months ago

two awesome bars in very different ways, quit bashin.

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

A few decades ago, the Wheel was where the theater students hung out; Don Johnson for one.

Rex Russell 7 years, 7 months ago

In it's day, (the 80-90s), The Hawk was one of the best college bars. I remember waiting in line to get in. And when you were in, it was shoulder to shoulder. Nothing but bodies, beer, and 20something hormones. Very little air. The glass refillables were really cool, but the combination of purfume, hair products(it was the 80s, seriously), and sweaty people made it unbearable sometimes. Still, when I think of a perfect example of a "college bar", The Hawk circa 1987-1993, is what comes to mind.

oliveoyl 7 years, 7 months ago

I love the Replay. It has the best porch, best bands (along with Nick's other establishment The Jackpot), some of the best dance parties and a great crowd. The Tap Room is also another fine establishment with similar traits. The Pig is also awesome!

Bad_Brad 7 years, 7 months ago

The Replay owner's comments sound like GenX grunge bands back in the 90's. "Dude, our music is so totally not about money and fame. But if we make money and get famous, that would be, like, so totally awesome and stuff. Whatever."

Kirk Larson 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually, Nick was a pretty fair drummer back in the late '80's. He and I played together a few times. I hope he's still pounding skins.

Richard Payton 7 years, 7 months ago

Next days question on the street could be name the best bar in Lawrence? Salad bar? Cop bar? Topless bar? Rowdy bar? Band bar? Townie bar? Hippie bar? Frat bar?
feel free to extend to this partial list.

FSJohnBrown 7 years, 7 months ago

Has anybody been to The Wheel for lunch...AWESOME, one of the best places in town.

Danimal 7 years, 7 months ago

I spent some time in both of these places in my youth, and they're both great bars. They both have pretty serious drawbacks though. The Wheel is always packed with idiots it seems. Unless you go in the middle of the afternoon you're going to have to tolerate a lot of fratters. And the Replay has some of the most disgusting bathrooms I've seen in an industrialized country. Seriously, every time I had to use that bathroom I would hope that all my shots are current and my health insurance would cover a protracted stay at a research hospital in case I came down with something previously undiscovered by science. Of course, if they fixed up the bathrooms all the preppy kids might start showing up, and we couldn't have that.

They're both great bars and we're lucky to have them in Lawrence.

pbusby 7 years, 7 months ago

is the Stables still around? Very popular back in the 70's, never got carded. you could get in at age 15 no problem

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