Princeton Bars & Nightlife

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Some claim that Princeton, NJ doesn’t have any nightlife, but that’s only because it’s not home to the type of clubs that college students are typically used to. Don’t let late night clubs define your definition of nightlife. There’s plenty to do on nights and weekends – you just need to know where to look!

Due to the strict zoning laws in New Jersey, the bars located in residential areas must close promptly at 12am. There are 3 bars that are the exception: Alchemist & Barrister, Ivy Inn, and Triumph Brewery. Each of these popular Princeton bars are able to stay open until 2am.


McCarter Theatre Center: The McCarter Theatre Center always has something to offer for families and adults. You can find live music, plays, circus acts, ballet, and cabarets.

Princeton Garden Theatre: Here, they show a wide variety of films that you won’t find in traditional theatres. You can see old classics, independent and international films.

Princeton Symphony Orchestra: Add a little class to your evenings with our local symphony. They have a variety of music during their season, including a Chamber series, a Classical series, and even a PSO POPS! where they play pop music from past decades.

Princeton University Art Museum: Princeton is home to one of the most impressive art museums, with collections of more than 92,000 works. The gallery stays open late on Thursdays until 10pm.


Agricola Community Eatery: A farm-to-table restaurant with upscale taste and fresh, seasonal ingredients. Dinky’s Bar & Kitchen is a sister bar.

Alchemist & Barrister: Alchemist & Barrister is a late night spot with live music from local bands on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights. Plus, they have a new look! Check out the newly renovated bar area.

Dinky’s Bar & Kitchen: This is a comfortable spot to meet up with old friends, get a quick bite before a show, or to grab a drink after work. It’s located in front of McCarter Theatre on the West side of campus.

Ivy Inn: Ivy Inn is a simple dive bar/pub that has pool tables, cheap drinks, and is open late until 2am. Come see “where every hour is happy hour.”

The Peacock Inn: This is a swanky boutique hotel with fine dining and creative cocktails. It offers an elegant atmosphere with sophisticated class.

Triumph Brewing Company: Triumph is a local brewpub with a rotating calendar of live music during the week. Any Princeton beer lover knows there’s a special place in their heart for these awesome local brews.


Café Improv: Catch live performances of poetry, music, and comedy at the Solley Theatre.


Princeton Salsa Club: Group classes are available every Tuesday night. You don’t have to have any prior dance experience or come with a partner. If you want to show off your moves, check out their SotoMambo Salsa Social every month!

Princeton Swing Club: They meet every Wednesday at the Friends Center Convocation Room at 7:45pm-10pm. It starts off with a lesson for beginners, and ends with Open Dancing for everyone. And…It’s FREE!


We’ve mentioned a few already that have live music, but here are a few more.

Mediterra Restaurant & Taverna: While you enjoy a lovely meal, or wine from the bar, you can also catch some live music on Tuesdays and Thursday from 7-10pm.

Small World Coffee: Small World Coffee is a local coffee roaster and shop that hosts live musicians.

Witherspoon Grill: They have live music every Tuesday night to enjoy while you eat. They have a little something for everyone on their menu.

There’s always something fun going on in Princeton—you just have to know where to look! With delicious food, art, and local bands, Princeton’s nightlife will always keep you on your toes and offer you something new every weekend.

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