Cornell University

February 2004
by Marc B. Zawel

There’s nothing quite like grabbing a beer at a dive named after a convicted murderer. Welcome to Rulloff’s, which sits smack in the middle of “gorges” Ithaca, New York and has been serving hearty brews to thirsty brain cell-killing Cornell students since 1977. No doubt Edward Rulloff, the legendary 1870s burglar and murderer from whom the bar copped its name (and whose own brain is on display at the university’s psych department) would drink to that.

The Scene: “It’s safe to say that we’ve had tens of thousands of satisfied customers,” said Renee Cism, the bar’s manager. “It’s a nice mix of people. Before 10 p.m., it’s the professionals. After 10 p.m., it’s the professional drinkers.” With its felt lined walls and ornately carved bar — an 1800s mahogany apothecary with its original mirror still intact — the place conjures up Rockwell-ian images of a simpler America. “It’s like Ernest Hemingway exploded here,” Renee said.

You can get started early with omelets and bloody marys, but Rulloff’s really comes to life after the sun sets. Students mix and mingle freely, whether it’s the fraternity boys slamming Irish car bombs in the back corner or the teaching assistants chatting about art history over merlot. Just recently, a new Cornell meal plan option was offered that allows students to bursar their drinks at the bar (thanks, Mom and Dad!).

Chicks at Rulloff’s: “It’s all about the sweet tail here,” said Pete, a senior hotel major. The female clientele matches the sophisticated environment: they’re unlikely to fall for bad pickup lines, but that doesn’t mean they’re leaving solo. It just means you have to put in a little more effort. “Someone always ‘needs a walk home’,” Renee said with a chuckle.

When to Go: Bartenders say Thursday and Friday nights are the most popular, although students also favor Monday night’s karaoke (“It brings out the Carly Simon in me,” said Mike, a senior engineering major).

Dress Code: Anything goes, whether you’re in tattered goth threads or you’re a buttoned-down Ivy Leaguer.

At the Bar: Mondays, “No Bull” Karaoke, featuring Red Bull and shot specials; Tuesdays, $2 rail drinks, Heineken and Amstel bottles; Wednesdays, $6 Labatt’s Blue pitchers. And for those not quite ready to hit the books again, Rulloff’s offers happy hour prices all day on Sunday.

Where It’s At: 411 College Avenue, Ithaca, New York

Hours: Monday thru Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Phone: (607) 272-6067


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