While college drinking is typically characterized by cheap wells, crowded clubs, and deafening music, it is possible to enjoy drinking in a far more low-key, casual setting. Sometimes, it’s nice to be able to sit down and catch up with friends over a few beers. This is also a great way to actually enjoy the alcohol you consume instead of chugging whatever gets you drunk fastest. Many chill places like this also happen to be breweries, where you can find a nice selection of quality, craft brews. These local favorites in the Champaign-Urbana area are the perfect places to enjoy a relaxed, carefree night out.
Barrelhouse 34 is one of the most recent additions to the growing Downtown Champaign bar scene. With free customer parking, a great outdoor area and rooftop bar, and an amazing aesthetic perfect for Instagram, you’ll fall in love with this new bar. You can find a wide variety of handmade craft cocktails and drafts from local breweries such as Triptych, Riggs, JT Walker’s, and DESTIHL.
Riggs Beer Company is not only an amazing new place to grab a brew, but also fits in perfectly with the wide array of C-U’s farm-to-table spots. The brewery is owned by two brothers born into a fifth generation local family farm. After discovering their passion for beer, they became brewmasters (one of them even studied in Germany!) and bought some acreage on the outskirts of Urbana, where they farm their own wheat to use to make their beer. Enjoy some truly local brews in their taproom or in the beer garden, where you can also frequently find food trucks.
Triptych Brewing in Savoy is a relatively new local brewery where you can hang out in the laid-back taproom. They only serve their own creatively named beers, like the Dank Meme, Hawaiian Shirt Day, and Fizzy Wizzy (Was a Beer).
Murphy’s Pub on campus is sometimes overlooked, but it is a really laid-back, inviting atmosphere to grab drinks. With good music, delicious bar food, and games in the basement, this place is so chill it’s become a popular place for grad students to study!
Crane Alley in Downtown Urbana is a hidden gem, offering up adorable outdoor seating in a charming alleyway and exquisite gastropub-style food alongside American favorites like burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers.
Filled with Illini memorabilia, Legends on campus is the perfect casual place to have drinks. They also serve up some pretty good quality bar food and have a nice outdoor patio in the back.
Referred to as “the beer of Champaign,” the Blind Pig was one of the first to kick off the Champaign-Urbana brewery trend. Besides at their pub in Downtown Champaign, which is complete with a outdoor patio with a spectacular view and adorable string lights, you can also find their beers at several local restaurants.