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The Origin Story For Popular UF Dive Bar “Balls” Is Almost Too Good To Be True

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balls bookstore origin story uf

After reading my report on the University of Florida couple that got engaged at legendary UF bar Balls Bookstore (an event that we now know was a hoax), a friend of Grandex emailed us with what he claims to be the origin story of Gainesville’s most notable fake bookseller.

Legend has it, sometime in the late 80s, toward the end of the UF chapter of Delta Tau Delta’s hell week that, among other things, at the time involved not sleeping at all and consuming copious amounts of alcohol, one particular pledge, on no sleep and all alcohol, decided that they were going to do some renovations to their room at the house. Armed with a handheld circular saw, lots of wood, determination, and absolutely no brain cells, he set forth to build a bed? shelves? a statue? who knows. At some point during his epic task though, he passed out, operating circular saw in hand, and woke up just in time to see the moving circular catch the zipper of his jeans (or jean shorts, because come on, it’s the University of Florida), and shoot off a ton of sparks in every direction.

To this pledge, it was the coolest fucking thing he’d ever seen.

So naturally, he called in all of his fraternity brothers into his room to show them what he had just discovered he could do. Unfortunately, with an audience, a ton of alcohol, and without any sleep whatsoever, this particular pledge “Mariah Carey’ed” the actual performance and it did not go as well as the run-through. Instead of simply sending sparks flying off of his zipper, he accidentally “ran through.”

The UF DTD Chapter was shut down (The University was looking for any opportunity to do so anyway) and that pledge sued the fraternity. What does a UF fraternity pledge do with the windfall from a lawsuit? Invest it? Use it toward his education? Donate it to charity?


By the time I got to UF, DTD was already back, 100+ brothers, Homecoming with ZTA and DG blah blah blah, but Balls was basically Delt East. It is the most wonderful of divey dive bars and for two people to get engaged there is sweet and absolutely terrifying. Too many fantastic, ridiculous stories that at some point, involved Balls.

Another fun fact, that Pizza By The Slice ( I don’t know anyone who calls it the Italian Gator) opened up when I was there. I don’t mean it opened up the same time that I went to UF, I mean I might actually have been that guy’s first customer. His spot was on my way to class and I’d go there every day and grab two hot dogs, a soda, and a slice before my 4:45 class. He and I would have conversations about him possibly opening up late-night and I told him that could be huge for him since he’s right between Balls, The Salty Dog, The Grog House, The Swamp, and my fraternity house, a few more fraternity houses, the dorms and off-campus housing, he would clean up. There might or might not still be a picture of me hanging up in the back of that place.

God, all of me needs this story to be true. A bar named “Balls” that was funded by Delt pledge ball money is the best bar origin story in the history of humankind.

If you can confirm that this story’s true, please let me know. If you can confirm that it’s not, don’t ever talk to me or anyone else ever again.

Image via Balls Bookstore

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Jared Borislow

Jared Borislow (né The DeVry Guy) is a Senior Writer for Grandex Inc and a 2015 graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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