Let’s get this clear: I don’t recommend that anybody attempt to replicate what we did. Most of you can’t, of course, as you’re underage, but even if you could, it’s not big, it’s not clever and it’s not funny. Well, it is funny. But not the day after — especially not when it screws up your social life.
[The following diary of a pub crawl was largely reconstructed from notes made by myself and three fellow seekers, who shall here be named Adam, Ben and Caleb to preserve what remains of their dignity.]
18.15: We enter TK’s American Café (285 George St). Our timing sucks, as a pitcher of Miller Lite falls from $8 to $7 after 7pm. We down two pitchers and eat wings — also cheaper after 7 p.m. Never mind. The wings are good and there are many screens showing various sports. Caleb notes that the bathroom stinks and the atmosphere’s not just dead but decomposing. It’s almost too deliberately a boys’ bar: wings and sport are excellent reasons for going anywhere, but probably the only reasons for coming to TK’s. “ESPN zone meets the Moonlight Bunny Ranch,” declares Adam. The Moonlight Bunny Ranch? “It’s in Las Vegas.”
18.40: First mention of Alex Trebek. Caleb announces that he needs to go to the bathroom and pull some cash — a euphemism we haven’t heard before.
19.25: Enter the Anchor (272 College). Wood-panelled walls with photos of people you don’t care about, blue leather seating and a very pink ‘Mermaid Room’ downstairs. An understated nautical charm. “Tax-evaders of the Caribbean,” concludes Ben. There is nothing at all on tap. Our bottles of Miller Lite are $3. Monday night is Schaefer Night.
20.03: The back room at Richter’s (990 Chapel) which, as there are oars hanging from the ceiling, makes me feel right at home. “Men’s club library meets Oxbridge,” avers Adam. We drink half-yards of Harp at $7 each. Caleb observes the old, incomprehensible British cartoons on the walls, one of which reminds us that “Cadbury’s cocoa is absolutely pure.” We have not been asked for ID.
20.55: Enter Playwright (Temple). Church ruins meet the Hamptons. $17 for a round but the bathroom is impressive. Ben writes furiously. He has written: “I entered solemnly, the church-like atmosphere was great, until the Archbishop showed me his ‘Good Shepherd’ dance.” Caleb complains that “this place is full of yuppies! Save me from the yuppie scum!”
21.00: Author unable to read own handwriting for first time that evening. Names are considered for non-threatening Vikings. These include Leif the Contemplative, Erik the Beige and Sven the Apathetic. Ben pretends to be a whale chasing the plankton of knowledge. There is a band but we leave before it begins.
21.37: Enter Anna Liffey’s (start of Whitney). The barman greets us like old friends. Liffey’s is committed to the promotion of Irishness. There is a Trivia Night on Tuesdays and free food at Happy Hour. Both happen in the stone basement. We struggle to maintain journalistic objectivity as the barstaff encourages us to get pissed.
22.15: Fries are ordered and consumed. We find them very good. There is general agreement that “it’s discourteous not to swallow.” (The fries, that is.)
22.16: An untimely humorous remark results in the author spitting Guinness over Adam and Caleb.
23.13: We enter Bar (somewhere on Crown), but in Adam’s Michigan accent it comes out as Barrr, so that’s what we call it. IDs are checked. Barrr is good because, to misappropriate Raymond Chandler, it has a blonde that would make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window — this blonde being one of a number of home-brewed beers that are toasty and wheaty and generally a bit different. Barrr is good if you like the unfinished warehouse look. It also does pretty fine pizza. “This place is about perception,” opines Adam, “it’s full of money-grubbing hoes and the jackasses that love them.”
“If the Olsen twins were here right now,” Caleb agrees, “they’d be upset that they weren’t the sluttiest-looking girls in the room.” Outnumbered, I demand that we leave before anybody hears us.
23.40: We enter Gryphon’s Pub in GPSCY (York, behind the YDN), which stands for something or other, but anyway you little undergrads can’t get in. It’s full of hot dancers.
00.47 The following day: author collapses into bed.
07.25 The following day: author begins descent into pathetic, whimpering wreck of a human being.
10.38 The day after that: Ben e-mails his comments. “While many things can add or take away from a pub, a good pub is one where you are with good people having a good time. So I thought all the pubs were pretty good.”
Overall, we think you can’t go wrong with Liffey’s, as it combines great barstaff with a friendly atmosphere, a decent range of drinks and good pub food. Bar gives you home brew, Richter’s the sense of drinking in an Oxbridge college, and Playwright the sense of drinking in a cowbarn. But if you’re with good company, the venue is secondary. And if you’re as wasted as we were, the only really important criteria are where the hell you are, and how the hell you’re gonna get home.
Nick Baldock was the only person who writes for scene old enough to do this — legally.