Prefrosh Preview: Alcohol, house parties, and you
These series of previews is intended to provide a realistic picture of undergraduate drinking and drug culture at Georgetown University. Most of the information here is common knowledge and does not come from personal experience. Vox doesn’t endorse breaking any laws.
While some stodgy old Georgetown neighbors may rank the University among the top party schools in the country, it’s more accurate to say that Georgetown’s drinking, sex, and drug culture is typical among rigorous, East-Coast schools. Like at most colleges, drugs and alcohol play a large role in social life, though not an overwhelming one.
What follows is an exhaustive guide to everything you were too timid to ask your tour guides or your parents. Instead of posting about all three vices at once, Vox is breaking up the illicit activities preview into three posts. Today is alcohol.
Drinking as a freshman
While underage drinking is very prominent, it’s not as available as it would be at, say, a big state school. Freshmen, and sophomores even, find it difficult to find places to go out and party on weekend nights. While that’s not such a bad thing (learn to enjoy weekend nights in with your floor), it can lead to some annoying practices by freshmen.
Your first semester at Georgetown, you’ll probably end up mostly going to big house parties to drink. Most freshmen are eager to get inebriated and will try to get in to parties they weren’t invited to. This otherwise wouldn’t be a problem, except that freshmen have a bad tendency to let their entire floor tag along with them.
Usually, upperclassmen don’t mind leaving their doors open for some fresh faces to wander in. When you do knock on someone’s door, though, come in a small group. No one likes to let 25 random people into their party. Keep groups sizes closer to 4 or 6, and be open to making conversation with other people once you’re there.
If you want brownie points, bring cups and mixers, which always seem to be in short supply (though this applies more to parties which you’re explicitly invited to). Unlike at some other schools, Georgetown parties don’t generally have cover charges. Usually, the party hosts cover buying the booze. To that end, don’t come, drink everything, then leave. The hosts let you in for your company.
The spread at these things ranges from meh to terrible. Georgetown’s favorite for cheap vodka is Burnett’s (which comes in 32 delectable flavors! and then Maple Syrup), and, despite what they tell you at I Know How to Party, most parties don’t serve food, so plan accordingly if you plan to drink heavily.
Since partying began to move back on campus this year, most house parties take place in Henle, Village A, Nevils, or Townhouses.
Businesses for your boozing
For the minority of freshmen that are 21, Georgetown has a great (albeit expensive) local bar scene. Many Georgetown students use fake IDs at local liquor stores and bars despite the fact that D.C. is among the strictest in the country when it comes to checking IDs. As a result, many underage students ask upperclassmen to buy alcohol for them. The list that follows is courtesy former Vox Editor Juliana Brint.
- Chadwicks (3205 K Street): Good happy hours and champagne brunches.
- Epicurean (On campus, under Darnall): Offers karaoke, and you really can’t beat it for convenience.
- Old Glory (3139 M Street): Strong drinks; the covered back porch with a bar makes it convenient for smokers.
- Rhino (3295 M Street): Sketchy, but good wings and a good chance of spotting Real World cast members.
- Smith Point (1338 Wisconsin Avenue): Bastion of prep that prides itself on having a guest list; Late Night Shots central.
- Tombs (1226 36th Street): The closest bar to campus and thus almost exclusively for students, but also the strictest with IDs.
Local options for purchasing your own alcohol include Towne (1326 Wisconsin Avenue), Wagner’s (1717 Wisconsin Avenue) and Dixie (3429 M Street). The guys at Dixie are quite friendly and give good recommendations, though don’t even think about trying your fake ID there. Wisey’s also sells beer and wine.
Be safe, kiddos
Every discussion of alcohol consumption deserves mention of safety. Like it or not, technically, most of the drinking done in college qualifies as binge drinking. While you don’t need to follow all the tips in AlcoholEdu (which you unfortunately are required to take), you should follow at least one rule before you know your limit. Pick a number and don’t go above it. Keep track using your favorite way to count.
It would also behoove you to learn what the standard U.S. drink size is, if only so you can give GERMS an accurate number as they cart you away. The lines on some Solo cups roughly coincide with standard drink sizes, though Solo says that isn’t intentional. Vox isn’t your high-school health class, but he will say this: Pour your liquor in before you add soda. It’s easier to tell how much alcohol you’re getting that way.
Now Vox has done his public service for the year. Freshmen, enjoy the beer, wine, and liquor a majority of you will inevitably abuse at one point or another. Your livers will probably escape unscathed.
Photo: Lynda Giddens via Flickr