TOTS: Karaoke and spirits on a Tuesday night MATTHEW ARTZ
features editor There are countless musical groups found within the Virginia Tech community. These groups include talented a cappella companies and choirs. But the real voices show up at Top of the Stairs every Tuesday night. Located right next to Virginia Tech, TOTS as it is called, has been around since 1978. The building is between the Squires parking lot and Jimmy John’s. The entrance to the bar is accessed by stairs leading up to the bar’s entrance hence its name. The inside of TOTS looks like a typical bar. There is a single pool table near the front and the bar extends toward the back of the building. Several televisions adorn the corners and walls of the room. A small dance floor-like area with a little elevated stage is located where the first bar ends. It is here the magical melodies of karaoke can be heard. This room leads out onto the deck behind TOTS. The deck wraps around the back and side of the building and extends out in the back to provide additional seating. The deck on the back and side is what sets this bar apart aesthetically. The outdoor portions of it are very nice. The deck seating area is adorned with various classic signs and Tech paraphernalia. Below the deck is a pit-like area with a large drink table shaped like the VT symbol. On a nice summer night, it’s relaxing to sit on the deck and enjoy the evening. It’s actually a shame that the nicest time to relax on this deck is in the middle of summer, when the least amount of people reside in Blacksburg. This can, however, be a positive thing, as it ensures smaller crowds for a relaxing, instead of hectic, experience.
“For us, it’s nicer that it’s slower... We look at it as, we’re recovering from graduation and getting ready to go into the fall and football season.” - Ryan Ruggero TOTS manager
Top of the Stairs Location: 217 West College Ave. between Squire Parking Lot and Jimmy John’s. Events: Karaoke Tuesdays, Live Bands Food Specials: $7.95 Lunch Buﬀet from Tuesday to Friday Drink Specials: $1.25 domestic bottles during Happy Hour, large bottles and cans. Contact: 540-953-2837 It goes from Tuesday to Friday around lunch hours and offers a sizeDANIEL LIN/SPPS able meal for $7.95. The cost includes a drink, a soup or salad, and anything People enjoy a Tuesday night at the bar inside Top of the Stairs. Karaoke is performed in the room adjacent to on the buffet. The buffet usually con- the bar near the back porch of TOTS on Tuesday nights, and there is no cover charge in the summer. sists of barbeque-related foods. Additionally, you can order the barbeque for carry out. One of TOTS’ major attractions is karaoke. It’s held every Tuesday throughout the school year and carries on into the summer. The bar doesn’t charge for this event during the summer, so now would be an opportune time to go without no cover charge. “It gets pretty crowded even in the summer; 100, maybe 200, people are here on a given Tuesday night. It’s nothing like the school year, but it’s something,” said DJ Robbie Palmer. Robbie has been the DJ for karaoke at TOTS for ten years. “I took this over about ten years ago from a buddy of mine who I did it with and have done it ever since,” he said. He is a regular mainstay to this bar, if you ask any of the staff, and has been awarded with several recognitions. The bar also likes to get live musical bands throughout the summer. “We try to do more bands and things on the weeknights and weekends. We try to give something new for the summer for people to do,” Ruggero said. The bands are generally scheduled for Wednesdays but live music can sometimes be heard any night of the week. For those working at TOTS in the summer it’s a great way to unwind and relax before the return of students. “For us, it’s nicer that it’s slower; We can get more cleaning stuff done because it’s not crazy here every night of the week,” Ruggero said. “We look at it as, we’re recovering from graduation and getting ready to go into the fall and football season.”
collegiatetimes.com june 25, 2009
Without all the rush of semester crowds, TOTS uses the summertime to stock different products they normally couldn’t because of space constraints. During the summer, the bar likes to stock large bottles of beers such as Corona and Miller Lite, as well as large Pabst Blue Ribbon cans. “It’s a nicer offer in the summer; you don’t have to get up as much and
it’s usually a better deal,” said Ryan Ruggero, a manager. They also still run happy hour with $1.25 domestic beers every night. The menu hasn’t changed much for the summer months, but they do offer something new. TOTS offers an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet during the week.
THE CT TAKES A LOOK AT BARS IN THE ‘BURG
Thursday, June 25, 2009 Print Edition of The Collegiate Times