The Newf’s phenomenon: a guide
Bella Laufenberg | Monday, February 13, 2023
Newf’s: If you know, you know. And if you don’t know, you’re about to find out.
Before we get into it, I should preface this by saying I do not condone underage drinking, and I am 21 years old! (feeling #elderly over here)
Finnie’s Next Door—affectionately nicknamed New Finnies or Newf’s for short as compared to “Old” Finnies (Olf’s) down the street — is a bar in downtown South Bend popular with students on the tri-campus and beyond. It features a miniature Golden Dome complete with a statue of Mary on top in the center of the establishment.
I don’t really know how to start this guide other than saying Newf’s is an experience. I might be biased, but I believe it is a central part of Notre Dame nightlife. When you say you went to Newf’s last night, most people will laugh (at you or with you depending on what state you are in) knowingly.
The first step to taking on Newf’s is the pregame. This doesn’t have to be elaborate but trust me when I say you do not want to walk into this bar sober. You have to be armed with a bit of alcohol-induced confidence to handle the sheer amount of craziness it encompasses.
When you walk into the bar, after surviving the bouncers and $5 cover charge (bring cash!), you’ll be met with (possibly) hundreds of your classmates. I promise you are all but guaranteed to see the guy who is always rushing into Debart at 10:55 a.m., your Tinder matches, the person you had one conversation with during Welcome Weekend, your friend’s old hookup and that one person you “need to catch up” with (here’s your reminder to text them).
After running into approximately 15 people you somewhat know, you will want a drink. So, head into the three-person-deep line around the circular bar and wait your turn while chatting with the random middle-aged man standing next to you (why is he here?). Maybe he’ll buy your round, but regardless, when you get up to the bar, order fast. If you take even five seconds to think, someone else will steal your bartender and you’ll be back to square one.
When you’ve finally received a drink, you have to decide what to do next. Do you go onto the extremely crowded dance floor and rage with vaguely familiar strangers (the most likely choice) or head upstairs to play pool with townies? No matter where you end up, you have to kiss at least one person — I don’t make the rules, I just explain them!
At some point, you or your friend will most likely need to use the bathroom. I can only attest to the girl’s bathroom, but it’s a magical place. Girls supporting girls, complimenting girls, befriending girls. And probably someone throwing up.
The absolutely best advice I can offer you is to stick close to your group and your drink. Use the buddy system and BE CAREFUL. This is not an “every man for himself” situation. Have fun, go crazy but be sure have your wits about you at all times (or be with someone who does).
You can contact Bella at Laufenberg at [email protected]
The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.