Wednesday, June 10, 2009

#26: Either Loving or Hating The Backer

Of all the bars in South Bend, no bar divides Notre Dame Students more than the iconic Linebacker Lounge across the street from campus.  While most students equally enjoy bars such as Finnegan’s and Corby’s, Notre Dame Students cannot collectively agree about what to think about The Backer.  Some Students absolutely love it, while other students unapologetically loathe entering it.

For the students who love The Backer*, they have much evidence to cite.  The atmosphere is unparalleled in the South Bend bar scene.  Crammed wall-to-wall with an eclectic mix of students and locals, The Backer is full of patrons whose primary objective is to drink heavily and rock out to a raging musical selection.  This objective is promoted by the free drink tickets that patrons receive at the door, and the infamous Long Island Iced Teas that can light a fire inside the most lackadaisical of patrons.

These Backer-lovers never get tired eagerly anticipate their favorite songs each and every night they put on their Backer-shoes**.  Whether it be the iconic Amen Corner of Country Roads, Rocky Top, and Calling Baton Rouge, the requisite 80’s anthems such as Livin’ on a Prayer or Don’t Stop Believing, the newer pop songs like Love Story and My Life Would Suck Without You, or the climactic closing time triumvirate of God Bless the U.S.A, the Notre Dame Victory March, and Oh What a Night, Backer-lovers sing the night away and enjoy every last minute until the lights come on.  To Backer enthusiasts, the song selection is the stuff dreams are made of, and for the Student lovers, a night at The Backer is like the perfect dorm party on steroids (and is repeated every Friday and Saturday night).

However for this same reason, many Students also hate the Backer.  These Backer-haters can’t stand the task of making their way through a mob of sweat drenched patrons to get to bathrooms that are hellishly disgusting.  They can’t handle the standing liquid on the floor (about a half-inch deep of Backer-slop**) and are equally disgusted by the stripper pole in the middle of the dance floor.  These students are grossed out by the presence of local’s dance floor makeouts that rarely exist at Finnegan’s and long for a place where they can sit down and relax.  They hate the fact that they can’t talk to their friends, and usually do not appreciate the musical selections that prevent conversation.  Simply put, many Notre Dame Students are disgusted by The Backer for the same reasons that other students love it.  

Despite this, while other bars have closed down or changed locations, The Backer has endured the test of time.  Generations of Notre Dame Students have frequented it, and some students will continue to enjoy it.  Whether it is because of awesomeness or infamy The Backer has become a legendary bar that Notre Dame Students will continue to love and continue to hate for as long as it remains. 

*Editor’s note: for full disclosure, The Backer is my favorite bar of all the bars, and I cannot wait until the day (whenever it may be) that I make my glorious return to it.

**Regular patrons know that they ought to wear a pair of shoes they do not care about due to the Backer-slop on the floor.  Backer-slop is formed by mixing 5 parts beer, 3 parts sweat, 3 parts mud, 1 part vomit, and a dash of semen.  The mixing occurs when patrons dance incessantly through the ingredients that are on the floor.

19 comments:

  1. under certain conditions, I like the Backer. Otherwise, it sucks.

    The main condition is you have to be completely hammered when you show up. I went to the backer fairly sober once, it smelled like shit. It also was 95 degrees and it took me 10 minutes to get my first drink. I also realized how drunk everyone else was.

    If you are looking to have a fun night and just drink a few drinks, you should probably look elsewhere. If you have already consumed 6+ drinks before 9 pm, are single, enjoy making out with people in a lighted room sandwiched between 9 other people, or are a creeper townie, then the backer is for you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. my favorite bar, too! i miss it like woah. nothing else like it in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  3. good call on the Backer Shoes. Backer Jeans are not a bad idea either. Definitely do not wear a skirt.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I got my front tooth knocked out at the Backer by a drunk girl's beer bottle, but I didn't let it ruin my night.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Backer is decent, kinda depends on the mood your in.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Backer slop? Get it right; it's Backer Sludge. I'm just awaiting the day that it's collected and sold in the Bookstore.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have to agree. The proper terminology is clearly "Backer Sludge." And when they sell it in the Bookstore, it'll be like gold.

    Also, even though I know how disgusting they are, I'm not sure if I've thrown away my Backer shoes from senior year. And that was (gasp) two years ago. I'm thinking about having them dipped in bronze.

    Finally, I just want everyone to know that you too can find true love at the Backer. My boyfriend and I had our first drunken make-out there as did some of our best friends. Long live the Backer!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Every campus needs a nasty dive bar!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ummm...Boat Club anyone? (when it existed).All of the on-campus seniors who rarely went out for the 3 previous years frequented the Backer (class of '05). A pretty lame crowd...

    ReplyDelete
  10. The backer is a piece of shit. The most worthless bar in South Bend.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My friends and I are planning a Backer-themed party for the USC game. We're going to make Long Islands and salty popcorn. We've decided that if there are fewer than 30 people, we're holding it in the bathroom, just to get the full Backer-like experience. Anyone have a list of their favorite Backer songs that they could suggest? Anyone want to come - the party's in Boston.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The problem with the Backer is not the disgusting environment--indeed, Finnegans often gets nearly as trashed--but rather, it is the lame type of ND student which comes to love the Backer. Let's call him "Joe Notre Dame."

    Joe typically arrived on the drinking scene somewhat later than most. Joe lived on-campus at least three (and often four) years. Joe loves telling everyone in his Friday, 9:00am Psych class about how "absolutely wasted" he got last night at the Backer. Joe is probably an RA, or at least applied to be one. Joe goes crazy when "Don't Stop Believin'" comes on and especially loves the "south Detroit" line. Joe's not a bad guy, he's just an awkward guy. Very vanilla, not someone whose presence you'd remember or absence you'd regret. Joe and 100 of his dearest friends visit the Backer each and every weekend and honestly believe that the Backer is the best bar in the whole world.

    If you like Joe, then you'll like the Backer.

    ReplyDelete
  13. That last post is amazing. Spot-on.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree that there were many Joe ND types there, but who cares? I loved the Backer because I love Rocky Top. Period.

    ReplyDelete
  15. we love are Backer songs & Teas -- Nothing like singing Copacabana with my little brother at 2 am

    ReplyDelete
  16. The Backer is just awesome! Hands down, the best bar with the best music!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love The Backer. Love it. Love Ivy Court hotel just because it is across the street from it and I can stay there and get wrecked from Thursday through Saturday night. Love singing my throat sore with my ND-loving brothers and sisters and stumbling into the street at 3:05AM with Backer Sludge (yes, sludge - 3 parts beer, 2 parts rot-gut long island tea, 1 part other rot-gut mixed beverage, 1 part piss, 1 part cigarette ash/tobacco spit, 1 part South Bend shoe dirt/mud) all over from many a slippery and sloppy spill. Love that I've thrown out at least 4 pair of Backer Shoes that I simply couldn't stomach smelling or even looking at any more. Love the joyous random hookups. Love that I was once removed for pissing in the sink. Love that it's been there since the sixties and has always had a finger in the air to all things that get overly civil at ND. Most of all, I love that I met the love of my life there and will always remember the energy of her dancing and her radiant smile before our first kiss. Loveses me my beautiful ND woman. Love my Backer. Can't wait to get back. Long live it! GO IRISH!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The Backer is an institution and a force to be reckoned with. Love it or hate it, but do make your peace with it.

    ReplyDelete