University of New Hampshire, Durham

Libby’s Bar & Grill
June 2006
by Marc B. Zawel

Despite their location in the quaint college town of Durham, students at the University of New Hampshire put their own spin on the state’s “Live Free or Die” motto: “Drink Hard or Die.” Collegians outnumber full-time residents here, and their impressive extracurricular activities earned their alma mater a spot in the Princeton Review list of top party schools. A hub of this unexpected center of nightlife is Libby’s Bar & Grill, a watering hole that’s helped thirsty Wildcats live up to their true party potential.

The Scene: There’s much more to this New England bar than the standard array of arcade hunting games and televisions tuned to the Red Sox. Recently rebuilt after a fire, Libby’s grew with the addition of a dining room that serves up “38 Special” Burgers (topped with melted provolone cheese and barbecue sauce). Despite its classy side where diners may sip wine, the place bustles with beer-swigging coeds in the evenings. Anyone can feel comfortable, from the frat boys shooting tequila to the professors drinking merlot. “It’s the newest, biggest and nicest place around,” boasts Peter Marcoux, the bar’s manager since 1993. “It’s a good mixture. Everyone gets along.”

Girls at the Bar: Roughly six of 10 UNH students are women, so the odds of finding a babe by closing time aren’t bad. “Ladies really run the spectrum here,” says Phil, a business major. “You can find yourself talking to a girl in Birkenstocks one second and then one in $300 designer jeans the next.” Josh, an oceanography major, says he likes the diverse crowd Libby’s draws, although it can be almost too diverse. “Students sometimes need to pay attention that they’re not trying to pick up their teaching assistant,” he said, “or worse, their professor.”

When to Go: Whether school is in or out of session, the smart bet is still Thursday nights, which feature $2 well drinks and drafts. The line is usually out the door by 9 p.m. If you can’t squeeze in on Thursday, make an appearance two days earlier when the same drink specials apply.

Dress Code: Though you are out drinking in New Hampshire, you should leave the hunting jacket at home. Guys will feel comfortable in nice jeans but ladies tend to get a bit more dolled up. “The girls absolutely go all out,” Peter says.

At the Bar: The Libby’s bartenders won’t impress you with any displays of creative mixology, instead sticking to their normal routine of serving up scores of Captain & Cokes and Bud Lights. But as long as the drinks keep coming and stay cheap, who cares?

Hours: Every day from 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m. The bar is closed on Sundays during the summer.

Phone: 603-868-5542


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