The Lafayette and West Lafayette area offers a number of distinctive bars with individual flavor. Each provides a unique atmosphere and specific amenities for patrons. Whether you prefer a local micro-brewery or a feisty piano bar, everyone can find something to like in the following three pubs.
Harry’s Chocolate Shop: Named after the original owner, Harry J. Marack, Harry’s Chocolate Shop sounds more like a place to satisfy a sweet tooth rather than throw back a beer. Founded in 1919 as a soda fountain and eatery near Purdue University campus, the establishment soon transformed into a full-time bar after acquiring a liquor license. The shop is now a mix of classic charm and raucous college partying. Good luck finding a booth in this bar as students fill the rooms from wall to wall from Thursday through Saturday nights. For those looking to meet other students, this is the bar to hit. Laid back and social, anyone can strike up a conversation over a beer and some free popcorn. Be prepared to show up early or wait in line on busy nights.
The Neon Cactus: The Neon Cactus, in West Lafayette, works as two bars in one. An interactive piano bar provides entertainment in the front of the building, while disc jockeys play popular dance hits in the back of the building. Known primarily for the piano bar, the Neon Cactus is a popular hangout for college students and locals alike. Patrons can request songs and be entertained by live pianists and singers that also act as comedians. The entertainers will improvise songs and interact with the crowd, which creates a lively atmosphere. The entertainment is free, but requests require tips. Groups should arrive early to find a table and enjoy the show. For those who would rather dance, the Neon Cactus sports an elevated, lighted dance floor and bass-thumping tunes. Patrons can move freely between the piano bar and the dance club. This bar is a popular choice because it provides a number of activities for one cover fee. Customers can usually avoid lines due to the large size of the Neon Cactus. Patrons would be wise to show up early for the piano bar though, as it is housed in a smaller area.
The Lafayette Brewing Company: The Lafayette Brewing Company, or brew pub as locals say, is Lafayette’s only microbrewery. The bar provides a variety local brews from pale ales to oatmeal stouts plus a full menu in the main floor bar. The upstairs houses a stage, a full bar and a number of pool tables. Located in the heart of downtown Lafayette, the LBC caters to locals and Purdue students alike. The bar provides a laid-back and quiet atmosphere perfect for those times when you would rather talk with friends than yell over a loud bass line. Look for a schedule of performances for the upstairs bar as many local bands and international acts frequent the venue. With the exception of a popular concert, brew pub customers can usually find a table or spot at the bar without a long wait.
The three bars above provide enough variety to satisfy anyone’s interests. From dancing, to microbrews, to good old college nostalgia, the Lafayette and West Lafayette bars have something for everyone.