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What Your Favorite Bar in Pullman Says About You

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Good morning, Coug fans!

I’m personally still recovering from Spring Game weekend. I don’t know about any of you, but I was handed my own version of a Pullman Bar Crawl. And for the first time in a while, inspiration struck.

As many of you may know, I did not actually attend the esteemed Washington State University, to the absolute confusion and/or dismay of my parents and many of my high school peers. However, this past weekend, and most trips I’ve taken to Pullman in my ripe “legally able to drink” age, it has been a goal of most of my fellow CougCenter Contributors to show me a genuine Pullman experience.

I can say with the confidence of a thousand suns that I am far from a Pullman Professional; however, I feel like I’ve done enough people watching to hold myself off until my next trip. One thing all bars have in common is a distinct personality, and Pullman is nothing if not packed with personality. So, without further ado, here is What Your Favorite Bar in Pullman (out of the three that I’ve been to) Says About You.

The Coug

A classic, without a doubt. Reliable, strong drinks, good food, and minors allowed until 8. Now, in my observations, there are actually two types of people who enjoy The Coug — I call them the Pregamers and the Postgamers.

The Pregamers are your typical College Co-Eds. I used to be you. I miss being you. I got my first taste of a “Coug-a-rita” last weekend, and I can tell you right now that if 21 year old Emma had constant access to that, we would all be worse for it. The Pregamers come out for a quick time, and a good time, and to grab some tater tots to ensure the night doesn’t end too horribly. You Pregamers will end up elsewhere, probably darker and with louder music, but you all know the recipe for a good night begins with The Coug.

The previously mentioned Coug-a-rita. A college staple, as I’m made to understand.

The Postgamers on the other hand? These are the ones that are there for the long haul. They want the tables and the access to TuneCore. Pitchers are flowing. Odds are, a handful are alumni eager to reminisce (hi CougCenter staff — this is about you). They’ll buy you youngsters a beer or two, in exchange for hearing about how things were “back in their Pullman days”. These are some of the nicest, most dedicated to drinking folks you’ll ever meet in your life. Just make sure to give them water every once in a while, they’ve been here all night.


Hello, lifes of the party. If you’re at Valhalla all night, first of all: how? Second of all, you must like to dance. The DJ at Valhalla is objectively one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and tolerated me personally coming up to him on multiple occasions on MULTIPLE different evenings begging to listen to music that was cool in my day (so, three years ago). Valhalla is the place to chat, if you don’t really care about being heard. With a bar upstairs and a bar downstairs, the access to mixed drinks and shots is everywhere.

If this is your favorite spot, I’m just assuming that you crave more space to really let loose. Sure, a house party or frat party is right there, but how much more fun is it to go somewhere that just radiates An Event? In my Valhalla experience, it was always just a stop on the journey, yet somehow we’d find ourselves in that basement for what always felt like days. If there are any Percy Jackson fans out there, Valhalla gives the extreme energy of The Lotus Hotel and Casino. If you told me it was 2050 while I’m down there, I’d believe you.


Oh, Emporium. Where do I begin? If this is your favorite spot, I’m assuming you’re a City Girl in training. Moving to Seattle post grad, you’re ready for the world to be your oyster, but also crave the ease of the walk home. Emporium, coming from a Chicago bar perspective, truly holds up in both atmosphere and experience. If you plopped that place in the middle of downtown Chicago, it would blend almost seamlessly. This is a huge compliment, and also a slight concern. People who love Emporium love either witnessing The Vibe, or being The Vibe. One does not casually go to Emporium. In my day, if we knew that was where we’d end the night, outfits would have to be picked hours if not a full day in advance. Which tight black top am I wearing with these jeans? It would be discussed at length in my group chat, and I mean this unironically. I, too, have multiple little black tops. You can take the girl out of college, as they say.

The maze and slight split level give Emporium a classy edge that really makes anyone feel important.

But Emma: I hate bars/I don’t see my bar here!

Fear not! Either I just need to get back to Pullman and experience some more of the local establishments, or it’s not your scene. Maybe you’re just out with your friends, and you don’t really have a favorite. That’s okay! In my opinion, that makes you the most versatile of us all. You’re in it to enjoy the ride.

And if you can’t drink yet, hopefully this gives you a window into what to expect when you’re legal.

Obviously, again, I am not a Pullman Professional, but after a weekend full of making friends and blurry memories, I can say each of these places showed me a uniquely good time. The people included.

I would welcome any disagreements, or tell me if I hit the nail on the head. See you guys for football season, and as always: Go Cougs.


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