Men of taste: Scorp’s versus Libby’s


Bret Belden

Scorpion’s Bar and Grill

By Ian Lenahan

To preface: This piece could potentially be one of those moments where you read something and in your head you queue up a judgmental voice and think, “Now that’s a hot take.”  

With that being said, here’s the scoop on Scorp’s: It’s their year, baby. 

As one of the more recently-turned 21-year-olds on the boozy block, all I’d heard last year leading up to my birthday this past July was how amazing Libby’s is. That’s not to say I don’t like it; I think it’s a great place to start out at on a Thursday or a Saturday, and it’s the premier spot for a larger celebration such as a Homecoming or a (INSERT OTHER FUN WEEKEND HERE). If you’re even looking to get your drink on at the bar on a Friday night, I might even recommend that you check out Libby’s. It might just be you there though, so you might want to reconsider your options or, on the macro-level, your life’s priorities.  

My interests swayed toward Scorp’s in September, however, when Libby’s kicked me out one fun, crowded evening in their LED-crazed, remix-pounding basement. Before you ask, just trust me: It was not for a good reason. 

The god’s honest truth? They asked me to leave because I jokingly spit an ice cube toward my friend and it ended up on the floor. Please read that again, but slower.  

Then, I tried sneaking back in 10 minutes later with a new shirt cause my night simply just didn’t feel complete at roughly 10:45 p.m. The only problem was, I had been wearing a prized navy-blue shirt with a red chili pepper on it that says “Save the drama for your mama” on the back of it. Immediately after, because for whatever reason I felt like I was in this massive time crunch, I not-so-swiftly and absentmindedly changed into yet another navy-blue shirt I love to wear. Then, like a nimble gazelle, I tried to maneuver past the Libby’s bouncer downstairs a few minutes later, kind of like when you see someone advertising for a presidential candidate outside of the dining hall and they want you to pledge to vote for them but you really don’t want to so you start looking at a tree 200 feet away from you. Needless to say, within two minutes I was alone on the cold, hard streets of Durham again. 

And that’s when I found the pulsating vibe of Scorpion’s Bar and Grill about 75 feet away.  

First off, I always feel the top half of Scorp’s is so much more low-key than Libby’s. People are always running down to the basement pretty much as soon as they get into Scorp’s, so there’s always time to relax for a bit and grab a few drinks before heading down. It’s a nice open concept space with the bar on the main side as you enter, and seating arrangements on the other side of the wall. That way, the madness that could potentially take place with a rush to the bar seems a little subdued when you’re sitting with your buds and watching a game on one of the several TVs on the seated side.  

Next comes the basement. Oh, baby. 

To me, the Scorp’s basement seems to be more fun, but that could definitely be because more people have been going there this semester. The black and white checkerboard style floor invites dancers of all types to bust out their finest moves. After a while, everyone seems to catch a glimpse of themselves in the mirror seemingly dancing as good as Paula Abdul before crashing back to reality and remembering you’re not her.  

The duality of Scorp’s is such: One minute, you feel like you’re hip-hop dancing at Julliard, and the next, you go back to stepping on toes and avoiding knocking people’s drinks over. All in all, Scorp’s makes you dream big but also makes you keep it real. 

And the deck! Oh, the deck. I know you’re not exactly staring out at the Grand Canyon or sitting on a rooftop in Paris gazing at the Eiffel Tower, but there’s nothing like getting that crisp Durham air while looking at crushed boxes near the “Employees Only” exit while sipping a $2 PBR – the sweetest of nectars. 

Also, I hear they’re more lenient with their policy on single ice cubes.  

What I’m truly trying to say is that there’s more to be said for a place that allows for fun, madness, a sweet escape, solid drink deals and more all inside the walls of one fiesty building. As of right now, I’m saying Scorp’s is the spot for senior year.  

Oh, and also that Sam’s out of his mind.  

Libby’s Bar and Grill

By Sam Eggert

This is not an argument. Libby’s Bar and Grill in Durham, N.H. is the superior of the two bars in this quaint town. Libby’s provides a classy feel for the citizens of Durham; they give patrons the option of enjoying their dining room or socializing at the bar (which is popping). 

People always aggressively confront me on the street asking, “what is the best vodka on planet?” Easy answer. Bowman’s Vodka stands alone, topping brands such as Ketel One, Titos, Belvedere and Grey Goose. Bowman’s has a smooth, subtle tenor that accents its smooth burn that jolts the palate of the drinker. Mix that jive with soda water, ice and a pinch of lime to create the end-all-be-all of bar beverages: the vodka soda. 

If the liquor drinks aren’t your bread and butter, Libby’s provides a deep offering of domestic and craft beers. Specifically, the two-dollar Miller High Life’s; a personal favorite of mine. Slugging down High Life’s at Libby’s reminds me of the little things in life: Playing catch with my father, sailing on Long Pond, reading a book or even laying in a large grass field. Pure bliss.  

What makes Libby’s great is that you have the option of both leisure and excitement. Scorpions Bar and Grill (where’s the grill) only provides mediocre excitement.  

Also, last time I went there they had the same preseason basketball game on every television in the joint. Such a tragedy given that there was playoff baseball going on. I guess Frank Jackson is more important than Max Scherzer’s playoff outing. Scorps doesn’t get sports. Libby’s prides themselves on variety. They’ll play as many sports as they can at once, although they’ll have the more important games on the most prominent screens.  

I’m an honest person. My tall and lanky frame makes for some awful dancing, so I’m not the best person to ask about the dancefloors. Luckily, UNH student Shaan Dejong is a virtuoso of dance. He has gotten down at both Scorpions and Libby’s, and the man has a strong opinion supporting Libby’s. “To put it in laments terms, the dance floor is what separates Libby’s from Scorpions. The elevated section creates a great dynamic that gathers the entire crowd toward making it a fire atmosphere to bust out some radical moves. The Sprinkler… easy money. The Grocery Cart… I pull it out every time. Catch me getting funky with the occasional drink toss. If your head gets wet with a vodka soda, don’t hit me: hit my line.” 

If that doesn’t make you want to dance, I don’t think you have capability to dance.  

I’ll keep the Scorps bashing short: The dancefloor always has an inch of mystery liquid, there is a 6’3” clearance (tall people know what I mean), and the bathrooms are too small.  

Need we say more? Good drinks, good food, good people and classic dance moves make for a great Thursday and/or Saturday night at Libby’s Bar and Grill.