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Food & Drink

Back-to-school boozing at UCF

A pub crawl through Orlando’s student ghetto

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College taught me some really important life lessons, like how to properly pour a cup of beer from a keg (tilt the cup at a slight angle), how not to spit beer everywhere while doing a keg stand (drop the spout before you’re going to choke) and how to dominate in a game of flip cup (practice, practice, practice).

With the arrival of the university fall semester, I decided to relive my college glory days with a DIY pub crawl around our largest local school, the University of Central Florida, alongside my former college roommate. A bit daunting, I will admit, as my binge-drinking days are now few and far between, but I knew right off the bat that we had to begin our night by stocking up our bellies. We deemed the enormous slices at Lazy Moon Pizza (11551 University Blvd.) more than suitable.

This casual, friendly pizza joint has a shiny new location along the University Boulevard strip, where they serve up a dozen or so craft beers on tap, plus more than 40 bottled beers. We sipped on Green Room Pablo Beach pale ales and Kronenbourg Blancs, but if you show up with a group, definitely opt for a growler to share (64 fluid ounces).

After dinner we hopped across University Boulevard to Knight Library (11448 University Blvd.) and arrived with high expectations, as it currently ranks No. 2 on the Daily Meal’s list of “25 Best College Bars in America.”

Knight Library (themed with bookshelves and textbooks behind the bar) offers an expansive drinking room with two long bars, an outdoor patio and big-screen TVs for prime UCF football game-day viewing parties. They didn’t have many craft beers on tap (including the Fat Tire they advertised), so instead we downed a couple of Yuenglings (only $3) on the quick, although we were very tempted by the $2 shot specials.

A short drive north of the UCF campus landed us at the Moat Sports Grille (4250 Alafaya Trail), a sports-fan haven stacked with flat screens, pool tables and a covered outdoor drinking area – where bar food meets loud choruses of “Chug, chug, chug!” After ordering a couple of SweetWater 420 extra pale ales from the draft menu of notable craft beers, we borrowed some darts from the bartender for a few games, and then darted ourselves away to another lively UCF watering hole.

While we weren’t stoked on the $5 cover charge at the Station Bar & Grill (12226 Corporate Blvd.), the energetic crowd at this urban-inspired oasis, plus the good-looking bartenders in cut-off shirts, pumped up the volume of the night. After all, the $1 margaritas on special were, impressively, house-made and decently strong for the low price. We got our money’s worth in cocktails and our fill of so-loud-you-can’t-hear-yourself-think DJ music before we popped out in search of a nightcap.

Our attempt to find parking at the Knight’s Pub (3910 N. Alafaya Trail) failed – we couldn’t find a spot that wasn’t marked “tow-away” – so we drove over to Buffalo Wild Wings (11400 University Drive) and settled into their large covered outdoor patio bar for a couple of Leinenkugel’s seasonal Canoe Paddlers. Surprisingly, B-Dubs (a nickname for the place that I learned in college) held a more dynamic bunch of barflies than some of the other spots we’d visited.

Drinking is a rite of passage in college, just like living in a dorm or studying in the library. So anyone looking for a rowdy bar scene on just about any given (school or otherwise) night will find the UCF area aswarm with thirsty drinkers and bartenders eager to pour.

Check out photos from Another Round by clicking the image below:

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