Fortunately, the Campus area surrounding Ohio State offers plenty of bars ripe for escapism.

It's the ultimate summer buzz kill: back-to-school time. The reemergence of homework means the end of flip-flop frolicking and endless Guitar Hero sessions. When faced with academic rigor, only students with great diligence can persevere in their efforts to goof off, boogie down and engage in booze-related shenanigans.

Fortunately, the Campus area surrounding Ohio State offers plenty of bars ripe for escapism. Beyond low-brow beer palaces, bar-hoppers will find some of the city's best drinkeries, in a variety of flavors, packed with youthful, would-be suitors. Stiff competition for students' piggy banks means a night on the town can be as cheap as awkward small talk if you play your cards right. Consider this your barroom study guide.

Rump-shakers & toe-tappers

A tough week calls for a hard-rocked weekend - or hell, any night will do. Whether you're in the mood for booty-rumbling or head-bobbing live music, excursions in mingling await.

Ravari Room: The dimly lit, tattoo-friendly bar hosts a solid mix of national and local bands. Ravari's monthly rock 'n' roll dance party, The Clampdown, is the event for getting down. The bar's daily, 4-9 p.m. happy hour boasts $1 domestic drafts and $2 mixed drinks.

Skye Bar: Resembling an upscale laser-tag arena, the club draws a late-night crowd sporting heels and high collars. Nightly DJs whip the masses into motion - there's no cover for students - but super-thrifty drinks help, like $2 shots and Natty Lights on weekend nights.

Cafe Bourbon Street: A punked-out hole in the wall, the bar features superb low-dough shows and an outrageous Best Karaoke Ever night on Sundays. Tall boy PBR cans ($2) and shots of Bulleit Bourbon ($4) fuel the tight-jeaned crowd.

Dick's Den: Arguably the best place for live jazz in Columbus, the old-school joint embodies the warmth of a slow-thumping bassline. Low-cover shows, a vintage juke and affordable sips make Dick's a nightly destination. As the sign reads out front, "Why not?"

Chill and cheap

Let's face it, sometimes you just want to hit a bar where you can don a faded T-shirt, chat without screaming and leave with a not-too-starved wallet. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Library Bar: The charming, graffiti-etched wooden bar and its eclectic clientele seem transplanted from small-town Ohio. Foosball, pinball, a patio - there's a lot crammed in the low-key little place, including thrifty drinks, like 99-cent drafts on Saturday or $3.50 pitchers of Natty Light on Monday.

Larry's: Christmas lights illuminate secluded booths, colorful canvases and, some say, ghosts from Larry's origins in the '20s. With cheap booze, live music and one of the city's best jukeboxes, it's easy to see why students have long spread rumors about Larry's being a gay bar to ward off tool-ish outsiders.

Cazuela's Grill: The brightly colored Mexican eatery's drink specials will quickly have you rolling and slurring your "r"s. Daily from 2-6 p.m. and 10-11 p.m., Cazuela's touts 21-ounce Lime Margaritas ($5) and Micheladas ($6), a zingy, beer-based Bloody Mary.

Bier Stube: A relic of South Campus' past, you're pretty much guaranteed to bump elbows at the tiny watering hole. Other than kicking back outrageously affordable libations - like $1.50 Bud drafts and $3 Jager shots - the classic-rock juke is the only entertainment outside gawking at the quirky, worn-in lodge ambiance.

Barroom adventures

When the usual drinkeries stir a yawn, don't settle for vegging with the roomies. Put on your safari garb and best drinking cap, then head someplace refreshingly different.

Momo2: The 15,000-square-foot funplex features private karaoke rooms, bowling, billiards, beer, bubble tea and bizarre Hello Kitty toys - plus it's open till 4 a.m. on weekends. If your reclusive friend can't find something to do here, hit them over the head with an Xbox.

Panini's Bar & Grill: Between mechanical bull riding on Wednesday nights and big-screen Guitar Hero matches on Sundays, there's a lot going on at the three-floor megabar. In addition to bands, DJs and plenty of screens for sports gazing, the bar offers 70 bottled beers.

Suzi-Cue Pool Hall: Whether you fancy yourself a pool shark or minnow, Suzi-Cue is the spot for billiards. The tidy, open-space bar features a wealth of pool tables and flat-screen TVs, plus a daily happy hour and specials, like Tuesday's $2 bombs and free billiards for students.

Mad Mex: Tasty burritos aside, Mad Mex reps the best selection of draft beer on Campus. The ever-changing lineup of drafts, including high-alcohol suds with the complexities of fine wine, are half-off for weekday happy hour. Wednesday's beer tastings mean free samples and swag - thank you, beer gods.