I expected the Barn to be full of regulars -- people who have been coming for years, knew the bartenders, and had scrapbooks of collected stickers at home. But other than Melody and Tom, most of the people I met were there for the first time.
A 22-year-old named Jovanie, who’s “typically all about house music, anything electro,” told me his first Boardy Barn experience was a nice change from the usual club scenes he hits up. “My first thought of Boardy was the All-American kinda vibe,” he said. “Beers, blondes, and pretty-boys, you know?”
As for the infamous intoxicated rowdiness, Jovanie’s first time at the Barn was a mixed bag of energy, he told me afterwards: “Either people were really chill and friendly, or [inebriated] and rude,” he explained. “I can't say I didn't have a good time though! I think the best part was… Oh, 13 beers in? Singing ‘Bye bye, miss American pieeeee!’”
This type of energy is exactly what Boardy Barn’s nostalgic longevity thrives on. Despite a kitschy reputation and inevitable vomiting throughout the afternoon, the throwback music and those infectious yellow smiley stickers make the vibe pretty irresistible to give into. The cheap beer doesn’t hurt, either.
Of course, the Barn isn’t all Simple Plan and stickers and “chill vibes.” The “dance floor” gets overheated, and lines to the bathrooms and the bar are endlessly long (it’s recommended you order multiple beers to avoid constantly returning). As you can imagine, at a place where rules are virtually nonexistent, beer spillage is always expected (sometimes purposely!), but as I kept being reminded, “it’s all part of the experience!”
There is one actual rule at the Boardy Barn, though. Whatever you do, don’t get sick in front of the “just doing my job” staff, clad in orange shirts. They will not hesitate to promptly escort you out. (A handy trick to note: one Boardy tradition advises you save and stack all your beer cups as you drink, so you can count them the next day. Responsible!). There’s also a liquor bar for those who prefer cocktails, but I was warned early on to avoid the questionable mixers the bar uses in mixed drinks.