Whether you have a car or need a ride, here's a list of 10 local places where students have long found some respite from the bubble that is campus life. Get familiar with these classic haunts if you're planning on spending your college years in Seawolves country – and if you've got any others, spread the word in the comments section below.
1. – Located across Rt. 25A from the Stony Brook train station, this bar is the campus dweller's most immediate choice for nightlife within walking distance. On Thursdays, "Ladies Night" usually packs the place with young people looking their best amid pounding music and free drinks for females until 12 a.m.
2. – For those with the cars to make the beer runs, Stony Brook beverage is a must-know. Just east of campus on Rt. 25A, here you can find a wide selection of craft brews or just a cheap 30-rack. Whether you want to buy in style or in bulk, this hop around the corner stays open until midnight on "thirsty" Thursdays when school is in session.
3. – A deli open 24/7 a few minutes' drive from campus? Enough said. This Stony Brook classic is an essential blip on any student's radar. Their selection of classic and specialty foods is vast, and with those hours there is plenty of time to get to know your way around the menu.
4. – Tucked away along Rt. 25A in East Setauket is a cozy bar and restaurant that's easy to miss if you're not looking for it. After dark, keep an eye out for a few graduate students milling around out front and you'll know where to go. A unique menu of quality food and a great environment make this a valuable local hangout to be aware of.
5. – It's not unusual to find a long line at this deli counter – or to hear every person on that line order the same sandwich. Home of the "Gasm," a hefty chicken cutlet sandwich that provides enough gustatory overload to warrant such a name, this deli is worth the 10-minute drive for an off-campus meal. If you can resist The Gasm, there are many more unique sandwiches and other delicious deli items to hit the spot.
6. – Take advantage of summer's lingering heat for the first few weeks of the semester at this sandy stretch on the Sound. The sunset here is unrivaled, and it's a great place to lay out while it's still warm or to bring a book and a blanket as autumn sets in. A great place to bring a date or a group of friends without cost.
7. – Whether sitting down or dropping by for some take-out, this Italian-style eatery is known for having some of the best pizza around. It shouldn't be too long before you hear about their buffalo chicken slice or cheesy garlic knots. If you're looking for something more, they have an expansive menu of Italian-inspired dishes. Conveniently located near Stony Brook's .
8. John Harvard's Brew House – Walk through the front door and you see the in-house brewery of staple and seasonal beers that have made John Harvard’s so well-known. Order from a menu of innovative appetizers and entrees. Don’t miss this fall’s pumpkin brew, available by the pint or to take home in a growler.
9. – Get to know the charming natural beauty of your university’s namesake village at this local park. Take a date on a walk around the pond or along a trail through the woods. Just down the road is the village shopping center and the beautiful Stony Brook Harbor.
10. Tara Inn – A bit farther away than the rest of the places on the list, this dive bar is nonetheless a must-know for broke college students. Dollar burgers and dirt cheap beer specials are only two of the amenities that make Tara Inn a favorite of Stony Brook alum for years. Be sure to bring a valid I.D. – they’re strict.