Off-campus bars, coffee shops offer students taste of change

By Liam Rinehart

Maybe you are getting bored of the Campustown scene. Perhaps you just want to explore the surrounding areas. Whatever the reason, there are many funky and unique places in both Champaign and Urbana that can satisfy all of your entertainment and nightlife needs. Each of the suggestions for bus routes listed below are for daytime routes on the weekday during the school year. For convenience, all of the routes mentioned leave from the corner of Green and Wright streets. For additional bus route schedules, log on to cumtd.com.

Champaign

Cafe Kopi, 109 N. Walnut St.

Cafe Kopi, one of the oldest coffee shops in Champaign, boasts a prime spot downtown on Walnut Street, just north of University Avenue. In addition to coffee, they serve sandwiches salads and bagels, as well as beer, wine and some selected liquors. Unlike other coffee shops, the outside of the store is lined with tables, chairs and power outlets, so you can connect to wireless Internet, drink a warm cup of joe and watch people pass by.

By bus: Take 6W Orange to the Walnut and Taylor stop.

Boltini Lounge, 211 N. Neil St.

If you are looking for a place to sip on a martini, then Boltini is up your alley. For those that are used to the deals of campus bars, the martinis may seem to be on the pricey side, until you realize their strength. If you have never been to a martini bar, then look for the nights when DJs are playing; you will be immediately drawn in.

By bus: Take 6W Orange to the Church and Neil stop.

The Blind Pig Co., 120 N. Walnut St.

Dark wood, low lights and unique beers may conjure images of a pub in England or Ireland, but for Champaign, it means the Blind Pig. With beers from all over this nation and the world, it is a shift from the ordinary. As a special treat, try out the cask beer. It’s old fashioned, but it’s how beer was meant to be enjoyed.

By bus: Take 6W Orange to the Walnut and Taylor stop.

Urbana

Crane Alley, 115 W. Main St.

If you want a relaxing scene with a real jukebox, then Crane Alley is your spot. The pub grub is definitely above par and the beer selection makes this bar all the more worthwhile. If you are looking for a place to have an interesting conversation, and mix with nonstudents, then the hardwood floors of Crane Alley are where you should plant your feet.

By bus: Take the 5E Green Express to the Main and Broadway stop.

Iron Post, 120 S. Race St.

Canopy Club may be the place for music, but the Iron Post comes in a close second. Specializing in local, jazz and blues acts, the Iron Post has it all. Food, good drink prices and music all combine to overwhelm the senses without breaking the wallet.

By bus: Take the 5E Green Express to the Main and Race stop.

Do not be afraid to explore; some of the best places area are those that are less traveled.