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The Scarlet & Black

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Nightlife in the prairie

Grinnell students gather at The Periodic table for their Wednesday night happy hour. Photo by Ariel Richards.

When Grinnell students want to venture off campus to relax with friends, do they actually have anywhere to go? 

 For being smack dab in the center of corn country, Grinnell boasts a pretty respectable nightlife scene. And while Grinnell students who grew up in cities (or maybe just towns larger than 9,000 people) may be surprised, there are options exist for those tired of being kicked out of the HSSC by the night-time custodian who want to hit the town.  

Jason Inskeep, new owner of the Grinnell Craft Brewhouse (formerly the Peace Tree Brewing Company), hopes that more students will take the initiative to go as far as Main Street. The Brewhouse has deliberately sought to welcome Grinnell College faculty, staff and (of-age) students. “I feel like we have a great relationship with the College, it’s been really beneficial for us,” Inskeep said. 

With a wide variety of hard ciders, craft beers from around the state, signature cocktails, and more, Grinnell Craft Brewhouse may just be the perfect place to unwind after a long day of Linear Algebra proofs and disappointing D-Hall dishes. 

 Although the chill, low-key atmosphere at the Brewhouse does not currently boast many Grinnell student regulars, Inskeep said the Brewhouse welcomes students of any age and that there are non-alcoholic options available for students under 21.  

 He added, “I’d like to see more people come out and give us a try who haven’t before.” And although some students have yet to discover this hidden gem, according Inskeep, “about any time in here you could spit and hit about three or four professors.” 

 But if the Brewhouse’s gastropub vibe and leather furniture doesn’t float your boat, perhaps the sports memorabilia at Hometown Heroes will. Alex Philips, the manager of both Prairie Canary and Hometown Heroes, described the Heroes atmosphere as “pretty easygoing.” 

Indeed, Hometown Heroes has walls plastered with TVs, constantly screening a plethora of sports games. So, especially for any sportos looking to have a fun night with their teammates, Hometown Heroes is the perfect place to grab a beer, some nachos and sarcastically commiserate with your Dodger-loving baseball fanatic friend. 

About any time in here you could spit and hit about three or four professors. -Jason Inskeep, owner of Grinnell Craft Brewhouse

Hometown Heroes has a long menu of both food and drinks, some with clever names like “The Water Boy” and “Heavy Hitter,” fitting in nicely with the sports theme. With fresh-squeezed juices and homemade simple syrups, Philips seems to be right on target when saying that “a lot of thought goes into our cocktails.”  

Another local establishment that emphasizes the artisanal touch is the Periodic Table, the restaurant and bar attached to Hotel Grinnell. Each Wednesday, the Periodic Table has a happy hour with specials for students who want to kick back and enjoy a specialty “Moo$e” cocktail or mocktail.  

 Director of Operations Amelia Nickle said that at the Periodic Table, “our uniqueness is our menu,” which draws inspiration from food trucks. The menu also has specialty mocktails and cocktails with names to match the schoolhouse theme of the hotel like “The Prom Queen,” “The Ex-Boyfriend” and “The Lab Partner.”

Bartenders at The Periodic Table make their signature school-themed cocktails. Photo by Ariel Richards.


Nickle said she had a lot of fun curating the menu and experimenting with ingredients to create nearly identical-tasting mocktails. “I don’t think anybody in town, or really in the state of Iowa, has created an environment where you can feel comfortable and safe and included whether you drink alcohol or not,” said Nickle. Do they really taste the same? Well, this not-quite-legal reporter can’t honestly tell, but the Moo$e mocktail was delicious even without alcohol.  

If Grinnell students decide to cross the Rubicon into the Grinnell town square, they should do so while it’s still warm enough to enjoy the outdoor seating by the firepit and to play cornhole (a Midwestern favorite) while they can still feel their delicate little fingers. Once the deep freeze settles in, after all, friends may be forgiven for staying closer to the dorms and huddling together in the HSSC for warmth, companionship and the occasional intervention by the night custodian. 

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About the Contributor
Allison Moore
Allison Moore, Staff Writer
Allison is a fourth-year gender, women's, and sexuality studies major from Granville, Ohio. In her spare time, she can be found crafting, cooking, and cuddling with her kitten, Koda. If you think her mini crossword is too hard, then too bad.
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