Moms Weekend: A guide to C-U’s bars

Like every fun-filled University tradition, Moms Weekend comes with an intoxicating thrill. Ranked the 10th top party school in the U.S. by Niche, our local institutions will guarantee you and your mom a good time this weekend.

Moms and mom figures of all ages will have the opportunity to show off their wild side to their students through the selection of local bars and restaurants near campus. Even if drinking is not their scene, food and games will be offered by most of these locations. 

Here is our guide to what local establishments are preparing to give you and your mom an outlet for a weekend of entertainment. 


Joe’s Brewery

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Located just a block off Green Street, Joe’s Brewery will have its doors open to the eligible public beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday of Moms Weekend. 

For a quick and slick entry into the bar, Joe’s will have wristband packages available for both those affiliated with Greek life and any party interested in planning an event for a group. Their rooms, including the Upper Deck, the Brew Room, the Pool Room and the Dance Bar are also available for rent.

According to Mitchell Thompsen, the manager of Joe’s Brewery, their team plans on having food packages and merchandise to pass out to the bar goers during the weekend. 

“And maybe Saturday during the day, some Mom competitions, but those are still TBD,” Thompsen said. 

This is different from their events during Moms Weekend 2018, when they planned a brunch for all moms interested. The ticket included entrees and four sides, as well as a Bloody Mary bar, mimosas and tequila sunrises.

Last year, the local bar was open at the same times, with Happy Hour from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, and “Block” starting Saturday at 11 a.m. The same tentative plan will be followed again this year, meaning the cocktails, burgers and other brunch staples will remain available. 

Joe’s is expecting a busier crowd for Moms Weekend this year, and details to their events will be available on their social media. 


Murphy’s Pub

Off the intersection on Green and Sixth street, Murphy’s Pub, first established in 1969, is known as Campustown’s local Irish pub. Compared to other nightlife institutions on campus, Murphy’s is considered to have a more relaxed atmosphere. 

The pub also has plenty to do besides eating, drinking and socializing — goers can enjoy various activities from billiards and slots to air hockey. 

The bar is working on its regular schedule, though they are expecting a larger crowd this particular weekend. Be ready for Saturday Karaoke from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., and the Sunday Trivia that will also start at 9 p.m.

Specials at Murphy’s include $8 cheeseburgers with fries on Friday and Saturday as well as discounts on pints throughout the weekend.



KAMS, first known as Kamerer’s Annex, will welcome the “Drinking Illini” and their mothers on Friday starting at 6 p.m. Its famous blue guys will be pouring all night and all day Saturday. 

Springtime weather calls for a good time on KAMS’ upstairs patio. There, moms and their students can enjoy cocktails, picnic benches and a scenic view of Green Street while sipping on the drinks they offer. 

First opened in 1933, the popular Green Street bar will celebrate moms with clothing merchandise. Last month, KAMS had Moms Weekend 2023 cotton shorts and long-sleeved T-shirts available for sale on the bar’s website. Purchasers can pick up their orders at KAMS during the festive weekend.

They had a similar put-together last year, and along to promote their merchandise, a follow-up Instagram post was captioned, “LETS SEE IF UR MOMS CAN OUTDRINK YOU THIS WEEKEND.”


The Red Lion

On a typical night out, students often face the same repeated dilemma — Lion or KAMS? The Red Lion, a staple of the Champaign bar scene, is located on the corner of Third and Green streets and is under the same management as KAMS.

According to a post by The Red Lion, or Lion for short, their building was named the Official Top Jagermeister Account Worldwide in 2018, featuring a beer garden, outdoor seating and medieval motifs.

The home of Happy Fridays and Thirsty Thursdays will be working on its regular schedule for you and your parents, offering campus-known drinks for a reasonable price. 

Do not miss an opportunity to experience this night in one of the most popular campus bars with $2 shots and beers.

Last year, Lion had the same promo of $2 beers and $2 Jager Bombs. They also had a promotion giving away free Moms Weekend T-shirts at the door on a first come, first serve basis. 

They haven’t advertised any clothing giveaways yet, so keep yourself updated by checking their social media.


Illini Inn

Opened in 1970, Illini Inn, the cozy bar on South Fourth Street has become one of the “Illini traditions.” For Moms Weekend, the bar will be open for celebrations. 

“Home of the Mug Club,” the Illini Inn will serve cocktails, appetizers and Texas toast, known to patrons as “Illini Melts.”

Ian Klump, one of the Inn’s bartenders, said he recommends one of their specialty shots to be paired with patrons’ favorite mixers in celebration of Illini Moms. McGillicuddys are offered as a specialty shot this upcoming weekend as well, according to Illini Inn. 

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, the Illini Inn will offer champagne mimosas as a beverage option for $5.

Illini Inn’s doors will remain open for endless hours of good food and cocktails all weekend. 


The Canopy Club

The campus-famous club opened its doors in 1998, becoming the first three-in-one venue. This unique place gathers the void room, the small theater and the theater under its roof, making the venue more accessible for the artists coming to perform. 

At 10 p.m. during the first night of Moms Weekend on Friday, Canopy Club’s doors will open and festivities will be kicked off with their event titled “Latin Night Easter,” so be ready to hit the dance floor with DJ Zay and Latin music! 

This is the first year they are putting together this specific event, and students and parents both are looking forward to its occurrence. Tickets are sold on the Canopy Club website

Planned for Saturday night at 9 p.m. is Canopy Club’s special event for University moms and nostalgia seekers — “Now That’s What I Call the ’90s Party.”

The “Smells like Nirvana Tribute” cover band is coming to Urbana to perform world-famous hits for moms and their students. Tickets to this event are also available on their website for anyone interested. 

Fancy cocktails lovers can enjoy a wide range of drinks in the Canopy Club bar right near the stage. The Moms Weekend special will be there too: Margarita special, Scooby Snack Special, the “Hello Spring” drink and plenty more. 

Missing Nirvana? The Canopy Club has a special treat for you and your mom!


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