Carbondale nightlife: Where to go for Polar Bear 2020

By Jacob Lorenz, Staff Reporter

After the recent closing of Pinch Penny Pub in December, there were many concerns about the fate of Polar Bear, as well as the rest of the bar scene in Carbondale. 

It turns out there is no need for concern, as there are many bars still open and ready to celebrate Polar Bear 2020!

Here’s what Carbondale nightlife looks like as we begin 2020: 


Megan Lisota | @m_lisota

The Cellar: (21+) 

The Cellar, located at 101 W Monroe St, used to be hard to spot, but the recent patio additions make it easier to see off the street.

Once you find the entrance and walk down the concrete steps you will find a cozy sports bar. Weekdays The Cellar is open from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. and on weekends they open at 11 a.m. If you go, be sure to order one of their signature bloody marys. 

The Cellar will not be having an official Polar Bear event this year.

Traxx: (19+) 

Traxx, previously known as Sidetracks, is located at 610 S. Illinois St, next to the Evolve apartment complex. 

Traxx is within walking distance of the towers and Thompson Point and has changed a lot since it was Sidetracks; there is no longer an outside portion with a stage. Now Traxx has a sunken dance floor with a small stage for DJ equipment, but it still has plenty of specials for drinks and pool tables.


Saluki Bar N’ Grill (19+) 

Saluki is one of the most prolific bars in Carbondale. It  is located at 760 E. Grand Ave and is attached to Levels, so it’s basically a 2 for 1 deal. 

Saluki also has a kitchen; they serve everything from appetizers such as jalapeno poppers and wings to burgers and sandwiches.

Saluki is open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. each night except on Sundays when they’re open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. with specials on wings and beer to properly enjoy watching football. 

Saluki has specials on both food and drink throughout the week; on Wednesdays, it offers $10 claw buckets and Thursdays are dollar rails. 

Levels Nightclub (19+) 

The other half of Saluki Bar, Levels has the largest dance floor in Carbondale. Levels’ name comes from its multi-level dance floor that takes up a large portion of the room.

Levels also hosts their own events like their Down To Foam party and Glo Paint party. Levels is open from Thursday to Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and closed the rest of the week. 

 Levels, along with Saluki, is having a Pucking Polar Bear event. Starting Friday, they will have $2 Corona bottles, $2 Fireball mixed drinks and $5 Pitchers of Sex on the Beach, Tequila Sunrise and Blue Hawaiians. 

Hangar 9 (19+) 

Hangar 9 has a very unique aesthetic compared to the other bars in Carbondale. It has an upper and lower level along with an outdoor section, and is made to look like an old airplane hangar. 

Hangar hosts many weekly events on their stage including Trivia + Craft Beer Night every Wednesday and Karaoke & Dollar Night every Tuesday.

Hangar is open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. and closed on Sunday. It is located at 511 S Illinois Ave next to Pagliai’s Pizza. 

PK’s (21+) 

PK’s is a legacy dive bar that has seen generations of students come through.

It is located at 308 S Illinois Ave and is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., so once you leave from drinking all night you can come back to sober up (or not) for breakfast. 

PK’s cook Lisa Pangburn-Fenton, a.k.a. “Mama Pang,”  serves from from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays the kitchen is closed. PK’s has a lone pool table and a small stage where local bands can perform. 

PK’s is having a Polar Bear event with all day specials with $1 Fireball, $3 24oz Trulys, $3 PBR coffee and $1.50 PBR and Busch drafts. They are also having a breakfast special: a PBR coffee with full order of biscuits and gravy for $7. 

Dream Nightclub (19+)

The Dream Nightclub is the newest bar in Carbondale. It opened in October of 2019 and has moved to where Stix was at 517 S. Illinois St.

They are open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. from Thursday to Saturday. The interior has only slightly changed from when it was known Stix; tables, stools and pool tables have been removed and cushioned seating pushed against the walls and blocked off by ropes have been added.

Steve Shauf, Dream Nightclub’s head manager, said that seating is their VIP area. They still have a dance floor and Shauf said they will be adding the pool tables back soon.

For Polar Bear, Shauf said Dream Nightclub’s entertainment will include a performance by Chicago rapper King Louie and TV personality Apryl Jones from “Love and Hip Hop” as the weekend’s host.

Erin Denae Douglas | @erindenaedouglas


Stix, 1980s?–2019

Sidetracks, 1988–2017

Pinch Penny Pub, 1972–2019

Street Bar, ?–2019

Staff reporter Jacob Lorenz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @jtlorenz6.

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