Whether it's your first semester at UCF or your last, you may be looking for a place to unwind after prerequisites and capstones. Local bars may do the trick — but what tricks do managers and regulars have for students to enjoy their night?

"Try new things," said Kassie Ricotta, marketing director for UCF's World Of Beer. "A lot of people come in here and they see our beer list and it kind of is overwhelming."

Ricotta said that customers should ask for free samples of any craft beer on tap and for suggestions from servers, who all undergo training in a two-week beer school.

At World of Beer, you're even rewarded for adventurous ordering as a Loyalty Club member.

"You have to drink a different beer each time to count as a point, and you win stuff along the way," Ricotta said.

Students can redeem points for T-shirts, bar tab credits and more.

Customers will have to wait until April to try World of Beer's tavern fare food menu, but until then, just bring in your own.

"You're able to bring in any kind of food that you want," Ricotta said. "We have a booklet with menus from restaurants in the area, and they'll actually deliver it right to our bar."

For underage students, bars such as Knight Library and The Knight's Pub provide a club atmosphere. But what are some tips to enjoying your time at one of UCF's popular haunts?

"We do have a second entrance on Fridays and Saturdays that I'm not sure everyone is aware about," said Chad Biller, Knight Library's general manager. "It's actually on the side of the building between our building and Panera Bread on the Dungeon Lounge side."

Biller, a senior business management and entrepreneurship major, said that the cover price at the second entrance is the same, and recommends people use the door to Dungeon Lounge to avoid a longer line.

Once inside, bargoers can purchase a Library Card. Cardholders receive free cover on their seventh visit, and five Library Dollars for every $50 spent.

If you need help choosing a place to go, Party Tutor's app and website provide details and discounts for nearby bars and restaurants, including options beyond University Boulevard.

"Burger U, I would say, is the most underrated [local bar]," said Brent Henderson, founder of Party Tutor. "It's not something that everyone drives by or walks by, but they have some really good food and some really good deals."

Students can check Party Tutor for cover prices, events, drink specials and more.

In case you have had one too many drinks, health sciences senior Becca Dupree advises that students stay hydrated.

"One of the things that me and my friends will do, for instance, is that if we've been drinking a few alcoholic drinks, then we'll have a water in between every few of them," she said. "Just try to stay hydrated so you don't get hangovers the next day."

Whether you've been drinking or not, you'll need a ride home, and UCF students have affordable options.

Knight Library has a partnership with 10/10 Taxi, which offers rides for $10 up to five miles from the bar and UCF's main campus, Biller said.

Car-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber have promotional codes that can help riders save money.

"For every new person that uses [your] code and it's their first ride, they'll get a free ride up to $20 and you'll get a free ride up to $20. So, if you have a bunch of friends who've never used Uber before, you can just rack up free rides," said Aaron Levy, a senior business management and entrepreneurship major who uses Uber regularly.

For the trip home, try UCF's Safe Ride. It's free and spares you from begging a friend to pick you up.

Ticket Center employee Mia Real, a senior health services administration major, said Safe Ride will only take you home.

Students must provide a local address, UCF ID, email and PID to receive a voucher, and the cab will drive you to the designated address.

She said students can pick up one voucher every 60 days at the Ticket Center and redeem it for up to a $35 fare home through Yellow Cab Co.

To enjoy your nights as a Knight, check the social media of your bar of choice for deals, and remember: Don't be afraid to try new things.


Nicole Bleier is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.

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