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Finding the charm of Chubby's bar

By Charlie Vella
On February 6, 2010

Only in a place like Albany can an establishment like Chubby's exist.
   Wildly popular, Chubby's is the quintessential college bar. While similar bars have been dropping like flies, Chubby's remains.
   Chubby's is a dive bar in every sense of the phrase. It consists of a long and thin room. In lieu of conventional lighting, red Christmas lights are strung about the ceiling, conveniently making it hard to see. The mixture of poor lighting and alcohol can instantly make anyone look beautiful.
   Four small televisions are anchored above the bar, existing as a diversion for lonely patrons. The floors are simple stone with the occasional broken tile, and by 11 p.m. on any night, one will be ankle deep in beer.
   A lone dartboard stands forgotten in the back corner. Appropriately, the bar (adorned with dozens of empty pitchers) bears the phrase, "The reason you came to college."
   Hilariously, there is a sign stating that the maximum occupancy is fifty patrons. On any given night, expect to find at least double that amount.
   The outside portion of Chubby's is a long, fenced-in backyard with a white awning overhead. Here one can find two kinds of people: those frustrated with being pushed around inside and smokers. The floor outside is a mixture of beer and mud and tends to ruin shoes. Residing in the outdoor portion are two large beer pong tables — a great place to not meet girls.
   The bathrooms at Chubby's are questionable at best. The men's room consists of two troughs in an L shape, and a sink that sometimes doubles as a toilet. The women's bathroom has two stalls that generally have toilet paper and a sink that normally doesn't work.
   A digital jukebox next to the bar controls the music at Chubby's. Expect to hear, ad nauseam: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Taking Back Sunday, Journey and a wide variety of pop hits with the occasional gangsta rap song thrown in for good measure.
   Located near the corner of Washington and Quail, Chubby's is right on the CDTA bus line. This ensures that there will always be a steady flow of SUNY students to come and take advantage of the multiple drink specials.
   However, separating the student from his drink specials is the line. The line can often stretch all the way down to the corner, consisting of a handful of scantily clad women and dozens of men in backwards fitted baseball caps. Also notable is the strict no re-entry policy.
   Chubby's caters to a decidedly younger crowd, primarily sophomore and junior customers.  
   While Chubby's has tightened security considerably from the days when anyone with a SUNY card and a pulse could gain access, it is still hard to get turned away. Currently, one must be at least nineteen, and possess both state and college identification, ensuring that Chubby's remains a college bar. Customers over 21 do not have to pay cover, and are given (ironically) a "Responsibility Matters" wristband. Younger patrons must pay five dollars to enter.
   Something about this combination of cheap beer and loud music makes college students' hormones go wild. On any given night, one will find several couples furiously making out in a corner — or even right in the middle — of the room. It is not unusual to see people that have just met leaving hand in hand — presumably to go and discuss politics.
   While some will complain about the crowded bar (it sometimes takes forever to get a drink), wet floors, guy-to-girl ratio (approximately three to one) and immature students, these aspects are what gives the bar its undeniable charm. Chubby's is solely designed for drinking. It does not try to pretend to be anything more than what it is. There is no dance floor, no karaoke machine, no food menu, no tables or anything else to get in between the customers and their alcohol. The staff, while necessarily strict, for the most part is a group of down-to-earth and easy-going people. They quickly put an end to the scuffles that are guaranteed to break out between drunken "tough guys" with something to prove.
   The drink of choice at Chubby's is most definitely beer. Sold by the pitcher at extraordinarily low prices, it is difficult to leave the bar without being highly intoxicated. If beer is not your choice the drink specials are also incredibly cheap compared to any other bar in the area. Popular drinks include the iconic Jagerbomb, the potent Long Island Iced Tea and the girly Sex on the Beach. This Facebook status, taken from their profile, sums up their pricing fairly well: "THURSDAY... 2 FOR $5 EVERYTHING... PITCHERS, DRINKS & BOTTLES!!!!!!!!!!! DOORS OPEN @ 8PM.... SEE YOU THERE."
   So here's to you, Chubby's. If your walls could talk, they would sing "Don't Stop Believing" and "Semi-Charmed Life." You will always have a place in Albany's heart.

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