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.

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.”