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POWER RANKINGS: Places to drink a beer outside in Bloomington

Big Beer Hours

So Bloomington is set for a week of sunny skies and warm weather for the first time in literal months. On top of this, Kirkwood Avenue has been closed off to car traffic for the season.

That’s right, Bloomington is at full strength. This calls for one thing: drinking a beer outside with the fellas.

But where to do so? Well, lucky you, we have just the list right here!

1. Your friend’s enclosed front porch

A classic.

There’s nothing like walking through Bloomington on a sunny day, the breeze carrying the scent of campfires and Nick’s through the air, and walking past house after house of dudes enjoying a couple porch beers.

Sometimes these men, these heroes, take the time to move their television outside with them to watch some ball, baseball to be exact. This part would probably be more fun if any of the teams surrounding the state of Indiana were any good but hey all the New Jersey Kelley guys get to enjoy the Mets I guess?

The pluses are evident: Just you and the fellas, no cover to pay and your choice of brew from the nearest Big Red. It’s undefeated and that’s why it’s No. 1.

A porch swing makes this choice the clear cut No. 1.

2. Bart Kaufman Field/Andy Mohr Field

Taking in a game at either of Indiana University's ball and stick game fields is a must in weather like this.

And lucky for you, the baseball and softball are both pretty damn good this year. Jeff Mercer’s rebuild at the Bart is in full swing and trending in a positive direction while Shonda Stanton’s squad currently owns the longest winning streak in program history and the nation’s leader in home runs.

Beers are, at long last, available at each park. You can choose a domestic in the form of a Coors or go with an Upland. Yours truly went with the Wheat Ale on my last trip and I highly recommend it.

Also people call Andy Mohr Field “AMF” and that’s pretty good.

go hoosier.

3. The balcony section at the Upstairs Pub

Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Upstairs Pub, a Bloomington staple, has only expanded through the years and features a balcony with sections under a roof and under the sky itself.

You can enjoy a drink inside if you so choose but why do that when the great outdoors is right there calling your name. The selection at Upstairs is incredible, from the AMF to multiple craft beers to the $3 mystery beer, your choices are many.

Nothing beats a night on the balcony with a tall glass of suds.

Honorable Mentions

  • Upland Patio
  • Picnic tables outside of Nick’s

4. Lake Monroe

Participants run into Lake Monroe during the annual Polar... Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Okay this was the only photo of the lake I could find in Getty and I’m not about to scroll like hell through my phone, deal with it.

When done right, lake beers are a sneaky contender for the No. 1-2 spots on this list. On a nice day when the water is pleasant and you find a good spot? That’s an afternoon right there, brother.

The operation falls apart in the event of rain, even if the rain occurred the day before. Or it can just be gross outside and that’s where a porch or balcony comes in. You have to work with mother nature here.

But execution is key. You can’t be lugging around those bad boys in a bag, you need a proper box or cooler to protect that cargo and keep ‘em frosty, per an authority on lake beers and friend of the quarry.

5. Literally just outside

The Field of Dreams

One of the best parts about Bloomington is the amount of undeveloped, unused space where you can pull out some lawn furniture and spend a day drinking outside in the sun.

The above pictured lot was one of my personal favorites during my time in Bloomington, lovingly referred to as the Field of Dreams by my friends on the lacrosse team who lived across the street.

I won’t be sharing photos of how I spent my time there, but no matter how rowdy things got in the Field of Dreams, we were always allowed to hang out there undisturbed. Places like these are a testament to the general “live and let live” attitude that makes Bloomington such a special place to go to school.

BONUS: Welsh Ryan Arena

It’s not outside, but hey man lemme have this.

As an Indiana alum who moved back home to Chicago after graduation, I appreciate the opportunity to drive 45 minutes up to the suburbs to grab a beer with 4,000 of my closest Indiana friends.

I was still in college the last time they made the tournament before this season, so I was expecting there to be a bigger Northwestern crowd this year when Indiana traveled to Evanston to play the most exciting Wildcats team since 2017.

Nope! The crowd was still about 60% Hoosiers, making this a bonafide Indiana bar where you can catch your Hoosiers live every year or so.

The Evanston Branch of Indiana University