I Wanna Go Back: The Library Bar is One of the Most Iconic and Oldest Bars on Campus

Ohio State’s campus is full of legendary bars, restaurants and campus spots – and we visit all of them.

In this week’s article, we talked to Quinn Allen at The Library Bar to learn about the rich tradition, history, and stories of this old-school campus dive bar.

History of The Library Bar

Based on old records and oral history, we know that the Library Bar was founded before 1950 – we just don’t know exactly when.

“We haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact date, but we believe that we are the oldest bar on campus,” Quinn said.

History is one of the main allures of the bar. There are names from all generations sketched into the walls, making it fun for students to go and look for former siblings or even parents.

How Campus Changed

Quinn has had a unique perspective on the changing campus, as his dad owned many bars around campus as he was growing up.

“My dad owned many bars around campus during that Golden Era of dive bars, a major one was The Travel Agency,” Quinn said.

This has allowed Quinn to see the change that has taken place over the last two decades, and it hasn’t always been positive. For example, many small, family-owned businesses are being overtaken by bigger, more modern developments.

“Ohio State was built on tradition, but sadly that tradition of the local campus bar is slowly fading away,” Quinn said.

Best Buckeye Memory

Quinn has seen many memories at The Library, dating from even his father’s era.

“The memories of The Library Bar date all the way back for me,” Quinn said. “Any Ohio State-TTUN game, the major out of conference games like Texas and USC, those are all great memories in the bar.”

Though, a bar that’s been around as long as The Library has seen more memories than even one single person can recall.

Building Buckeye Community

“We were extremely lucky as this bar came with a huge community when we took over,” Quinn said.

Quinn said the bar is a perfect example of how a small business can make a massive impact on the community and has even become a central story in some peoples’ family history.

“You hear stories all the time of someone’s parents meeting at The Library Bar, or generations passing down stories and traditions,” Quinn said.

Menu Must-Haves

The Library is known for two unique menu items: Hugs and Bookworms.

“Hugs are the little juice barrels that everyone grew up drinking that we infuse with vodka, we like to ‘hug it out’ with everyone,” Quinn said.

Bookworms, meanwhile, are jello shots with a gummy worm in them and are massively popular among the students, Quinn said.

Craziest Memory

Quinn is able to have heard all the stories from his dad about the crazy stories that went on at The Library, even before it took over.

“He would tell me about Huey Lewis and The News coming in. Bob Seger has passed through here.”

With the Library’s rich history, there are so many crazy memories that have taken place in the dive bar, and everyone probably as their own crazy memory of The Library.


The Library Bar is starting a “Beat The Clock” tradition on Fridays from 2-5 PM with progressive pricing. This will take place until graduation.

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