DeKalb nightlife remains vibrant

From bars to arcades to theatres, DeKalb nightlife has something for everyone.


Northern Star file photo

Fatty’s Pub & Grill, 1312 W. Lincoln Highway, is home to charity-based sports events, live music and food and alcohol. (Northern Star file photo)

By Brandon Montemayor

DeKALB — Nightlife in DeKalb on paper might seem lackluster, however, with anything from sports bars, movie theaters and karaoke nights, it’s safe to say that there is more than what meets the eye when it comes to spending a night out in “Barb City.” 

Take Hometown Sports Bar and Grill, for example, located at 241/249 E. Lincoln Highway. Hometown provides nightly entertainment right in the heart of downtown.

“If you can’t find something here, you’re not going to find it anywhere,” owner Tom Schmidt said. “You get a lot of stuff in one box. We do karaoke on Thursdays and Saturdays; we have a resident magician who does table magic and sleight of hand… basically every night of the week there’s something.”

Schmidt added that Hometown aims to have functions every night, whether it be karaoke, trivia, bingo, live entertainment or watch parties for NFL game days. Hometown, on top of these events, also offers a host of food and drink specials, alcohol included. Hometown also owns the building next door known as Stage Left, which serves as a live music and event venue. 

Molly’s Eatery and Drinkery, 100 W. Lincoln Highway, hosts events and has arcade games available. (Zulfiqar Ahmed)

Other notable bars include Fatty’s Pub and Grille, a Huskies game day hub, located at 1312 W. Lincoln Highway. Fatty’s hosts a plethora of events from charity-based sports outings, live music and silent discos, as well as serving up food and alcohol.  

There is also local favorite Molly’s Eatery and Drinkery, 1000 W Lincoln Highway, which is another popular night out destination for students.

“Molly’s is a great place to go out with friends; it’s usually a pretty popular spot,” senior marketing major Mike Hart said. Hart also mentioned that Thursdays seem like the most popular day to go to Molly’s for the best night out experience. 

Rounding out the list of local bars is Byer’s Brewing Company, 230 E. Lincoln Highway. Byer’s is a local family-owned brewery that, as implied, handcrafts a variety of small batch beer but also hosts numerous events and rentals. 

“We have quite a lot of space to do open mic nights on Thursdays; we have trivia, live music, we do have a TV, so sports is on,” owner and brewer Steve Byers said. “But our building is designed around meeting, talking and hanging out with people. We’ve got big picnic tables where people come and play board games.”

The Egyptian Theatre building.
The Egyptian Theatre, 1135 N. Second St., hosts movies, musicals and more. (Northern Star file photo)

It’s this community aspect that Byer’s attributes as the focal point for students to visit. This is coupled with Byer’s being a bring-your-own-food establishment, meaning that customers are welcome and encouraged to bring their own food and have a nice time out.

Byer’s also rents out its available space for customer festivities, which can be anything from bridal showers, birthdays and weddings. 

For students who don’t drink or maybe can’t yet get into a bar, there are also plenty of opportunities to soak in DeKalb’s nightlife. 

Students can lose themselves at places like Star Worlds Arcade, an arcade that’s full of vintage games from Pac-Man and Streetfighter to claw machines and pinball, or spend a night out on the bowling lanes with Sycamore’s Four Seasons Sports and Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

There is also the Egyptian Theatre, a DeKalb staple that offers plenty of weekly events like specialty movie screenings, musicals, live music as well as NIU connected events.

With all these places and events in mind, DeKalb is more than capable of providing an enjoyable night out and delivering entertaining nightlife no matter the occasion. 

Whether it means trying a local micro-brew at Byer’s, belting a karaoke track with Hometown and Stage Left, or enjoying a Molly’s thirsty Thursday, there is sure to be something for everyone.