A Night on the Town: Hanover Bar Crawl

By Margarette Nelson and Casey Lewis, The Dartmouth Staff | 10/7/14 3:00am

It’s no secret that Dartmouth students don’t exactly flock to the bars in town when the weekend rolls around. While there have been somewhat-secret “hot spots” for upperclassmen (RIP 3 Guys Trivia Tuesdays), the largely underage student body remains pretty unaware of what lies just south of Wheelock Street. In order to unveil the mystery, two of the senior-iest Dartbeat writers were assigned to investigate. With “alcohol expert” Helen Pfeiffer ’16 in tow, we set out on Friday night with our work cut out for us. Hey, maybe this will become the new senior year circuit?

As unbiased reporters, we’re obligated to tell you that we experienced a 67-percent ID-checking rate (we won’t reveal the culprits). One of the bars even was bouncer-at-the-door-stamp-on-the-hand style, so minors could not enter that “late.” ’18s beware.

Round 1: PINE

We made our first stop of the night around 8:30 p.m. All the seats at the bar were filled, so we hovered behind by the large tree-table-thing that is the centerpiece of its waiting area. Mostof the patrons were circa our parents age, and the place had a “successful alumni” feel. You know what I mean. The only students we recognized there were with parents. Service was slow – it took about 10 minutes to get a bartender’s attention, so perhaps they needed a third body back there.

Pfeiffer ordered the “Smoke and Flowers,” which she described as “hell of a lot of bang for your buck,” but fruitier than expected.

Maggie went for her go-to, the classic mojito, which was like playing a game of Russian Roulette (not mixed very well). Every sip was, like, “what am I going to get? Straight rum? Club soda?” In my past experiences it’s been a bit sweeter as well.

The “Opening Ceremony,” ordered by Casey, was “quite literally pink.”

While Maggie is not the most qualified person to talk about PINE in general – she’s never made it past the bar area – it is her go-to for post-dinner drinks on the odd weekday when it’s a little more subdued. While the food and decor is on the higher end, the drinks are priced similarly to those at other restaurant bars in Hanover.


Round 2: Canoe Club

At around 9:15 p.m., we made our way to The Canoe Club. Inside, we spotted a straggling undergraduate or two, possibly some young alums and graduate school students. Pfeiffer decided the clientele was “marginally less attractive” than at the aforementioned PINE.

Leif Harder ’15, who joined the crawl to provide a perspective on beer, called the scene “a fine cross section of Tuck, Thayer and some Upper Valley locals.”

At this point we decided to assign states to our stops – Canoe Club was definitely Maine, with its high-end woodsy feel. And after much consideration, PINE was determined to be Connecticut – running on hedge fund money.

Maggie snagged the single seat at the bar, providing the group with some eye time with the bartender, while the rest hovered around.

The bartender invited himself to make her a custom drink, within certain parameters – absolutely no gin, but fruity was okay. After a few sips of the drink that we all concluded was “sweet on the front, boozy on the back,” the bartender divulged that it was a St. Germain, citrus vodka and pineapple juice.

Harder ordered the Tuckerman – the first beer of the night up for evaluation – and found it to be a little thin and crisp.

Pfeiffer contemplated the “Boulevardier,” the seasonal cocktail.

“There is definitely an orange rind in this drink, that’s all I know,” Pfeiffer said.

However, she ultimately decided that PINE’s “Smoke and Flowers” featured a better “mouth feel.”

Round Three: Murphy’s

Murphy’s wasn’t as crowded as it was last Friday, when Maggie felt like she was yelling across the dinner table. However, it was later in the night – we rolled in a few minutes before 10 p.m. Like at Canoe Club, we were able to nab one seat at the bar. A few more undergraduates were spotted than at the last stop, as well as a few more ’15s who chimed in with commentary.

Jeffrey Yates ’15 described his whisky sour as “sweet and smokey,” and when Pfeiffer had a sip, she evaluated the sour as “definitely from a mix.”

“This might just be bourbon. I don’t like this,” Pfeiffer said.

We decided Murphy’s was Massachussets. It remains a contentious subject, however.

Round Four: Salt Hill

This was where the state-personification of bars ends, at least for the purposes of this article. It would be too cruel – to both the bars and to the states.

Everyone in the party ordered from the cocktail menu, which yielded mixed results. These ranged from “I’m okay with this” for a lemonade-y drink, to “this is literally the worst thing I’ve put in my mouth — I feel like I’m a 13 year old girl in Harry Potter” about “French Toast.”

It was an ideal point in the night for nachos. Actually, after the bar crawl experience, I'm wondering why the comparison between Salt Hill and EBAs isn't made more often.

Despite the nachos, this round only saw 15 minutes and no glass bottoms, because we had to make it to Molly’s.

Round Five: Molly’s

I for some reason had it in my mind that Molly’s stopped serving at 11. However, the bartender informed us that last call was in fact at midnight. She also insisted that there was tequila in the $3 margaritas, of which we ordered three to split between the six of us. When asked for first impressions, the words “limey,” “acidic” and “not tequila” were tossed around. However there was salt on the rim, which didn’t always happen at 3 Guys.

“These were most likely made by the Skinny Girl brand,” Pfieffer said.

While this concluded our Hanover bar crawl, we couldn’t end this article without mentioning The Orient’s Scorpion Bowl. It comes with a number of really long straws, so the entire table can sip from your new centerpiece (the bowl), and there’s even a fire inside!

All photos courtesy of Helen Pfeiffer for The Dartmouth

Margarette Nelson and Casey Lewis, The Dartmouth Staff