Blow off the bars, Smoke Hookah

Binge drinking is dismissed as a temporary and accepted part of every college student’s life, underage drinking is viewed as a sort of right of passage for college students. What are the options for those who want to go out on the weekends and not underage drink though? Hookah.


Xan Spalding (19 years-old, Ohio University) is a Resident Assistant in one of the university residence halls. For Xan, underage drinking is an even bigger risk than for other students. If an RA is caught drinking underage they not only face the fines and legal charges everyone else does, they will lose those their job and be out a place to live.

“The awkwardness of running into one of my residence is not worth it! I’ve built friendships with all of them…but at the same time, I would be required to report them.” -Xan Spalding

Maybe you’re thinking that you would still be missing out then. Missing out on what though? While Hookah culture is definitely a unique one, it’s not called a hookah “bar” for nothing. Just about anything you can do at a bar, you can do at a hookah bar.

You can still dance and sing

Pyramids Athens Hookah Bar, much like other hookah bars, plays various hip-hop/R&B/dance music. If you were expecting tranquil Indian folk music…well, you are about to be disappointed.

Just like the groups of drunk people a few doors down, when a ’90s throwback or a favorite single comes on everyone dances and sings along. The best part? In Pyramids Athens Hookah Bar, you can control the AUX cord.

So, there’s dancing and singing…what about the pointless (but strangely still captivating to any bystander) party tricks?

Tequila shots with no cringing, going shot for shot, or chugging a pint of beer while spilling half of it down your freshly ironed t-shirt can be impressive (I guess?) but people can learn to blow O-rings, stack choo-choo trails, and blow hearts toward an admirable cutie at the hookah bar. The best part? They probably won’t throw up afterwards and can safely go home and make decisions for themselves.

While hookah isn’t for everyone and has it’s own list of concerns (cardio-respiratory health may be somewhere to start), it’s an alternative night life scene that is worth checking out.

Court Street on Weekdays: All the Fun with None of the People

A mixture of smells wafts through the air. You first recognize the scent of a Wendy’s burger, then a Big Mamma’s burrito and maybe the smell of fresh baked bread from Jimmy John’s.

It’s night, but you’re surrounded by sound. A group of fraternity brothers pass by across the street speaking at levels that would surely awaken someone from their slumber. The door to a nearby bar opens and from it erupts the sound of music and the chattering of the last few patrons before the bartender makes a call for last drinks.

This is a typical night on Court Street in Athens, Ohio.

Most city residents and Ohio University students enjoy Court Street for its undying, vibrant nightlife. With about a dozen bars and several restaurants lining the span of only a few blocks, a quiet moment may be hard to come by — hard, but not impossible.

Imagine this: it’s Tuesday and the weather’s cold but not unbearable. You exit Alden Library after a long night of homework and turn onto Court Street. The clock on your cell phone reads 1:30 a.m., and as you begin your way down the brick-lined street you notice something.

The road and sidewalk on Court Street are often empty at night during the week.
Unlike during the weekend, Court Street can often be found empty on nights during the week.

It’s dead quiet.

Not only that, but not a single car is on the road, allowing you to gaze straight down and just catch the top of the old National Guard Armory where Court Street ends. You decide to walk down the middle of the road, because hey, why not? It’s not like you would have the chance to do this during the day.

As you approach the intersection you notice a green, then yellow, then red light cast down on the bricks from a traffic light above. The street is empty, the sidewalks are empty and it’s peacefully, blissfully quiet.

It may not be typical and it probably leans toward antisocial behavior, but to me, Court Street is best when no one’s around.

It’s at this rare moment that I get to take in the city I’ve grown to love, and for once I can experience it wholly on my own. When I walk down Court Street at dawn I feel more connected to the bricks beneath my feet.

I feel like Athens belongs to me.