Joe Black’s: A Cinderella Story

The ‘Barch Madness’ underdog no one saw coming

Madison Feltman, News Editor

‘Barch’ Madness: The search for America’s Best College Bar all began with a simple tweet and has taken the nation by storm. Barstool UND began the race by asking supporters to choose ‘the greatest bar in Grand Forks.’ A poll was released which allowed Twitter users to vote for which bar they felt would represent Grand Forks best in the Barch Madness competition. Joe Black’s defeated two other popular joints, Bonzer’s and Brick and Barley, by a landslide.

The competition began with 64 bars across the nation entering the competition in hopes of receiving a ‘big blowout party complete with a bar tab, Barstools inaugural perpetual trophy, a banner to hang as they please, barstool merchandise, and more.’ The competition is currently being played in five rounds of Twitter polls to determine which bar will be advancing, with an alternative voting option of tweeting the bar’s Twitter handle and the hashtag #BarstoolsBestBar. Coming into the competition as the No. 10 seed Joe Black’s has become quite the Cinderella Story.

UND has gone up against four major competitors: University of Oregon, Texas A&M, University of Arkansas and our most recent hefty competitor Washington State University. The small-time Grand Forks bar has managed to slide into a slight victory in each round. In a state that has more farms and bars than people, it only makes sense that the community can rally behind and represent a little joint such as Joe Black’s.

With the upset over Washington State’s favorite campus bar ‘The Coug,’ the little bar from up north has become one of the top four best college bars in America. There was little time for celebration as JB’s quickly needed to gear up for its next strong opponent, Penn State.


With Penn State’s campus bar ‘Champs’ having the support of the recently reunited Jonas Brothers, UND was in for a challenge. Barstool UND pulled out all the stops asking several UND hockey alumni turned NHL and North Dakota raised Josh Duhamel to retweet and urge their followers to vote as well. With several players such as TJ Oshie, Cam Johnson and Drake Caggiula tweeting North Dakota was able hold their own. Many previous competitors, as well as neighboring universities such as North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University, have also urged their supporters to help the underdog move on.

Voting for the final four began on Saturday, April 6 and with an insanely large number of votes coming in for the poll, ‘5th year’ announced that the voting will be changed due to an issue with the capacity of votes the twitter system can handle.

“This was the inaugural year for the #BarstoolBestBar contest and the first time any company has attempted a bracket-style polling of this scale. While we envisioned a successful campaign that got students, alumni and bar patrons involved, We admittedly did not foresee it getting to the size where outside poll interference would become standard in the competition,” The ‘5th Year’ account tweeted.

Therefore, the account has suspended the Twitter polls and instituted a new form of voting. Each bar will have a unique hashtag and one tweet using the hashtag will equal one vote, with no more vote per individual account. At the end of the round, the bar with the most tweets will move on.

Voting began on Sunday April 7 and concluded Monday April 8.