BY: ABIGAIL WHITEHOUSE
Students cannot handpick the people surrounding them in the classroom nor can they do much to alter the atmosphere of the classroom itself. But outside of the schoolroom or laboratory exists the freedom to choose a place to unwind from the day. For some, it is Nikki’s Tavern.
At the end of Water Street in Richmond sits a small, almost unnoticeable bar called Nikki’s Tavern. The quiet exterior of Nikki’s, like a magician’s cape, does well to hide the eccentric liveliness existing within—that is until you open the door.
On the other side of the door, the sound of classic rock and pool sticks pounding ivory fills the air. Writing covers every inch of the walls, leaving traces of those who have come before. If you tilt your head back, you’ll see over a hundred braziers in all of their feminine colors hanging from the rafters.
Curtis Elliot, manager of Nikki’s Tavern, describes the bar as a melting pot where people from all walks of life can mingle without prejudice.
“Anybody can come here,” Elliot said. “We don’t care who or what you are. It’s a great little bar where everybody gets along, takes care of each other and has fun.”
For those who like a little friendly competition, Nikki’s Tavern has pool tables, dartboards and quite a few unique drinking games set up throughout the bar.
“I’ll tell you why I love Nikki’s,” said Jon, a local patron. “Games. Games. Everywhere you look there are games.”
“The Wheel,” a popular drinking game hanging on the wall at the end of the bar, is divided and labeled with various liquids from “Whammy” (what we know as water) to whiskey. For two dollars you can test your fate, spin the wheel and take a shot of whatever it lands on.
If spinning the wheel doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can always try your luck at the Quarter Jar. This is a large pickle jar filled with water and a shot glass placed inside at the bottom. Grab a quarter from your pocket, drop it through the slit in the jar’s lid, and if you’re lucky, it will land in the shot glass with a shot of your choice.
Denise Coffey, 22, an English creative writing major from Harlan, has come to love Nikki’s Tavern and proudly considers herself a member of its family of employees and patrons.
“Nikki’s is unlike any other bar in Richmond,” Coffey said. “You can go in there, no matter who you are, and fit in just fine.”
For those of you who are like me, a broke college student, the cost of going out for drinks plays a large role in your choice of establishment. Luckily, Nikki’s Tavern never charges a cover.
“There is only one day out of the year that we charge a cover, and that’s Derby Day.” Elliot said. “All of the proceeds from that day are given to the local animal shelter.”
If cost-efficient fun and an undiscriminating environment is what you’re looking for, then traveling down to Nikki’s Tavern is well worth your time.
“Nikki’s is cheap and fun and practically begs you to leave your mark upon their wall,” Coffey said.