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Where to drink without draining the bank: Inexpensive East Lansing bars

November 21, 2019
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

For many students, drinking is a major part of the college experience. But when you’re on a budget, paying cover and up to $10 per drink can add up very quickly. 

That’s not including the cost of an Uber and the mountain of Conrad’s or Taco Bell that a lot of people get on their way home. So, let’s look at some places around East Lansing to enjoy a night with your friends without over-drafting your bank account.

The Riv

The Riv is most well known for their “burgerama” (or just “rama”) special on Thursdays during the day, during which you can get incredibly cheap pitchers. 

But, if you’re not trying to skip class to drink on a weekday afternoon (no judgement if you are) then they are a surprisingly good option the rest of the time, with specials like $4 for all draft pints during their trivia night on Wednesdays. 

While The Riv is packed for rama every week, the rest of the time it’s a great place to sit down and have a drink with your friends.


The Tin Can

My personal favorite bar in East Lansing — it’s incredibly easy to drink for cheap at the Tin Can. 

With a long list of both shots and canned beer, you can always find something good there. And they have a number of specials as well, including $2 PBRs and dollar fries. 

The atmosphere is very enjoyable, a mixture of space to sit down and rowdiness on weekends.



Crunchy’s is an East Lansing institution, serving bar food and a long list of draft beers. 

While a pint of a craft beer will cost you a standard $5 to $6, where Crunchy’s becomes more budget-friendly is their 25-ounce drafts for only a dollar or two more, and sales on buckets that can be shared with friends. 

Crunchy’s is also famous for its karaoke every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which always gets wild and has iconic moments like local legend Dennis singing every week.


The Peanut Barrel

The Peanut Barrel is another institution, and another great choice for their weeknight specials, such as their half-off everything special on Tuesdays from 8 p.m. to midnight. 

A favorite among alumni, the Peanut Barrel is a classic college bar with great decor and outdoor seating that, while it might be too late in the year for it now, is wonderful when it’s nice outside.

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Your own apartment or house

When you’re trying to have fun on a budget, there’s really no place like home. 

Bars can have really good specials, but the best way to save money is to buy a bottle or a six-pack of your favorite beverage and invite some friends over. 

You can have whatever music you want, you know everyone there and your favorite drink is right at the ready. Plus, you don’t have to worry about an Uber back.


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