The next best thing to having a bar on campus is having one across the street. Welcome to The Linebacker, which has been serving thirsty patrons in South Bend for 45 years.
On football Saturdays, former Notre Dame players and coaches mingle with the faithful, and a beer tent serves customers who can't fight their way inside. No wonder locals affectionately call it "The Backer."
Talk Four Horsemen or Ara Parseghian all you want, but what sets this establishment apart is a stripper's pole erected in the middle of the dance floor. As legend goes, the spirits flow and women decide to go for a spin as they vie for attention.
The inside is described as a "plethora of '70s-style wood paneling and a low-tiled ceiling." More than one online reviewer describes the Long Island ice teas as "potent."
Other reviews are generally favorable, but one visitor from San Francisco didn't care for his experience. "This place sucks. ... The music is pretty bad. If you like it, then you have bad taste in music. The floors are also disgusting while people are dancing; if you're wearing jeans, when you get home you'll think you spent your night mucking out a stable or wading through a shallow swamp."
Running a joint as popular as The Backer can be a royal pain in the rear, and owner Greg Delinski was asked in 2005 about visiting fans. Specifically, which ones present the biggest headaches.
"Ohio State is the worst," he told Dawgman.com. "I could go one and on about their fans, but they are the worst. Michigan and Michigan State fans are always bad. They stir up trouble. I think it is due to the close proximity of the schools to each other."
Have you visited The Backer? We'd like to hear about your experience. Thumbs up or thumbs down?
Previous reviews: Esso Club (Clemson); Dirtbag's (Arizona); Bash Riprock's (Texas Tech); The Original Varsity Club (Ohio State); Walk-On's (Louisiana State); O'Connell's Irish Pub & Grille (Oklahoma); Top Of The Stairs (Virginia Tech).