The Best Drinking Buddy You Never Had

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

By Jamie Miles

A good drinking buddy is more than someone who is willing to carry you home from Chuck’s after you’ve had too many, or tests his or her luck with you every Flip Night at Faegan’s. The perfect drinking buddy makes any night a good night and delivers free insights with every drink so the $5 cocktail you ordered tastes that much sweeter.

It’s time you ventured away from that fraternity brother who drinks himself stupid when you want to sip a beer. Consider choosing from another population pool: the Syracuse University faculty. May sound scary and intimidating, but here are three faculty members that have proven themselves worthy of sharing a booth at the local bar and a pitcher or two, or three. Catch Bardach at the Bar Catch her if you can. Marisa Bardach is teaching her first class this fall called Writing and Editing for Magazine Web sites in the Newhouse School. More often than not, she is a large face on a projector screen, as she videoconferences the majority of her class meetings.

Bardach resides in Brooklyn and works full-time as the Web editor for Prevention Magazine. With her busy schedule, she won’t be in Syracuse often, but when she is, take this city slicker out for drinks to hear about her days as a drummer and the band she toured with for 17 years, or her side gig writing resume content for the company she co-founded, The Resume Hero.

Kevin Baumer, a student in Bardach’s class, thinks she would be a fun drinking companion. “She's young and is much better at associating with our sense of humor than some of the old grouchy professors I've had,” said Baumer. “She's cool, I guess there's not really a better way to say it.”

Three words to describe this professor: Laughy, Friendly, Fiesty

Where should you take her? Faegan’s

What’s her drink of choice? Tanqueray and Tonic with lots of limes. “Don’t forget the limes!” says Bardach. What’s her favorite beer? Guinness

Ordering wine? Buy her: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

What music does she want to hear when out for a drink? ‘80s chick singers: Pat Benatar and Joan Jett

What does she look for in a good drinking partner? “Someone who is willing to talk to strangers. Always good for a memorable night out.”

Where is she most likely to be found at the bar? “Standing near the bar stools craning my neck upwards since everyone is taller than me,” says Bardach.

Take Barr to the Brew Pub Discuss the intricacies of flavor and listen to advice about your drink selection as you quickly learn that Barr knows everything there is to know about anything there is to drink. With years of experience in the hospitality industry, and running his own restaurant and bar for over 30 years in Jamesville, this professor will keep you tastefully entertained over multiple libations.

Barr teaches Event, Conference and Convention Planning, Beverage Management, Wine Appreciation, and Beer and Wine Appreciation. Many students of his have already shared drinks with him in class but would love to join him for an evening out.

Senior Anthony Regina has had Barr as a professor and is also his teaching assistant for the seventh consecutive semester. “His personality absolutely precedes him as a teacher,” said Regina. “He’s friendly to everyone he meets and treats them with respect. He’ll probably buy you a drink, or four, and he’s pretty open to any topic of conversation (especially his ex wife).”

Where should you take him? Empire Brewing Co.

What’s his drink of choice? Beer

What’s his favorite beer? Bud Light Lime

Ordering wine? Buy him: Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon What’s his favorite cocktail? Vodka Gimlet

What music does he want to hear when out for a drink? Blues

What does he look for in a good drinking partner? Good conversation Where is he most likely to be found at the bar? Relaxing at a table

Thomas Provides Conversation for a Crowd Professor Laurence Thomas may not be a heavy drinker -- in fact, he rarely drinks at all -- but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy his company outside of class. Thomas teaches Ethics and Value Theory and Introduction to Political Science, and although the class titles may sound dry, this professor is far from it.

Senior Max Dorsch has had Thomas as a professor for both courses and describes him as brilliant, inspiring and stimulating. “He’s as lively as ever,” said Dorsch, “Frequently starting off a class joking, ‘I woke up this morning and had my crack cocaine and I feel great!’ In additional to his comedic nature, Dorsch says he also possesses a wealth of knowledge. “When I’m around him I turn into a sponge and just try to soak everything he says up.”

Thomas admits he is not a typical drinking buddy. He hates beer and won’t usually be caught at the bars, but says he would join a group of students if asked. “Not to drink,” said Thomas, “…but for the goodwill of the moment.” He may even join you for a glass of red wine, one of the few alcoholic drinks he does enjoy.

So if you’re the type of student who enjoys the activity and conversation at the bars, take this professor along for the camaraderie. If you’re a student who enjoys practicing drinking as an extreme sport, however, you may just want to keep your fraternity brother on speed dial for an evening of throwing back shots and getting blackout drunk. Image courtesy of