Turning 21 at CU is a traditional right of passage for a Baby Buffalo and this is how to do it right
You gotta kiss the Buff, obviously
The beginning of each term brings something exciting to look forward to, but now there is a whole new side of Boulder that I’ll get to experience – the bar scene. Twenty-one doesn’t just come with a horizontal ID; it comes with a traditional night of debauchery and bar hopping to break into your years of legal drinking.
I have come a long way from mixing strawberry banana Burnastys and Herbert’s lemonade (thanks, Farrand grab-n-go), but I still decided to turn to my 21+ friends for advice on exactly what a Buff is to do on their eve-of-twenty-fun.
1. The Bitter Bar on Walnut:
Start by getting a drink with your pals at the hopping Bitter Bar, a great place for young adults to mingle with one another. They have cocktails on tap, so you definitely don't want to miss out.
2. The Rio Rooftop:
Since you should be starting your night by filling your stomach with layers guac and queso (and you don’t need to go to Rincon del Sol since they’ll take your fake) head to the Rio Grande’s rooftop for legal margaritas.
3. The Walrus:
Head across the street from the Rio and take a shot at the Walrus, this is something you could never do at a mixer or date dash without getting busted, kicked out, and sent to standards – cherish the moment and savor the newfound freedom.
4. Moscow Mule at the Kitchen Upstairs:
Now you can use your age to get a drink at this classy, adult-y institution, so have a cocktail – apparently their Moscow Mules and mojitos are the best in town.
5. West End Tavern:
If you still have time to catch the sun go down behind the flatirons, head up to the roof top of the West End Tavern to catch the sunset. Drink in hand, of course.
6. Your birthday party:
Your under-age friends will still want a reason to drink, I mean, a chance to celebrate your life, so head to The Hill to the party they’re throwing you. Eat something (preferably cake) and chug some water. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
7. Sink shot at the Sink:
Take advantage of the Lyft your friends paid for to get back near campus, and head to the iconic Sink on the Hill. The legendary "Sink Shot" is made of horse radish and rubbish, so try not to puke. But if you do, you needed more room for free drinks anyway, don’t sweat it. You’ll have another chance to keep it down when you graduate and sign the ceiling.
8. The Pub on Pearl Street:
Skip having a glass of wine at Café Aion for when the parents come in town to celebrate, and head back down to Pearl for the rest of your night-to-not-remember and go to The Pub to kiss the stuffed Buffalo head on their wall. Make sure a semi-sober friend or bartender snaps a pic of you when you kiss the Buffalo, after taking a birthday shot of course.
9. The Sundown Saloon (aka. The Downer)
If you’re still standing at this point in the night and don’t need to be carted to bed yet, stumble down to the Downer for $1 Kamikaze shots. And maybe another glass of water. In fact, taste the water they serve at all of these fine establishments. You'll thank me later.
10. Hangover Cure from Rush Bowls
Since last night probably has you waking up with a mad hangover, make sure a friend picks up a smoothie from Rush Bowls. Unless you lucked out with a weekend birthday, you’re going to need all the help you can get if you hope to make it to your 10 am. And maybe spike the smoothie with some hair of the dog, you are 21 now after all.