Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The other night when we went to Valhalla, I thought that having a campus bar would have been a great addition to my four years at Wash U. We'd talked about trekking over to Rice to check this place out for a while, but now that summer's gone and the weather is reasonably cool at night, the mile-and-a-half walk was much more pleasant that it would have been had we not delayed. Why, weather aside, did we wait so long? First off, this place only takes cash and we never have any. Secondly, when you live in a modern American city in the southern part of the country, you get accustomed to, if nothing else, easy parking. Valhalla being on Rice University's campus, free and easy parking were not guaranteed. And, since we knew we'd rather walk than deal with what would at worst be a mildly confusing search for a parking space we could use without getting towed, we kept putting it off in favor of places with known easy parking, or bars that were within close walking distance.

Last Friday night, however, was different. We set out to get some beers, but with no plan in mind, our indecisiveness was becoming frustrating as we named places that we were tired of, had beer that was too expensive, or were otherwise uncool or unworthy. A few steps onto the sidewalk, and Danny stops. I stop.




"Oh shit"

So we went to Valhalla. The poorly-marked and hard-to-find subterranean watering hole at Rice where you can get a Lone Star for $0.95 or an Arrogant Bastard for $2.00. Were we dreaming? This place was surreal. The lighting was weird. The bartenders were a mix of middle-aged alumni and late-20's graduate students. The clientele looked like they all came from Wash U's Engineering school (forgive my stereotyping). A patron was even having a conversation with the bartender about chemistry...something about acids and bases. And it was pretty fantastic.

Valhalla made me wonder what Wash U would have been like if The Rat had been operational beyond freshman year. Could it have been a great place to have a few beers and some good conversation without leaving campus? Surely it wasn't always as bad as the night Thurtene tried to revive the place with the lure of some stupid free shot glasses that you had to dance like an idiot to get. I always liked the layout of The Rat, and resented replacement of the bar with Subway. Fuck Subway.

All told we spent a total of $23 between us to get pretty drunk on beer that wasn't bottom-tier. I can deal with the Rice nerds (after all, I dealt with Wash U nerds for four years), and since there's no undergraduate Business school, the douchebag contingent is surprisingly low. No bro is going to wander all the way into the center of Rice U for a few beers when Little Woodrow's, Baker St. and Bronx Bar are in the nearby Village. Valhalla, we'll be back.

Bears - 1.3; cash only,
Anti-bears: 4.0; cheap, no tools, good atmosphere, "earned" beer if you walk

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