Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The No. 3 Bus Route Drinking Tour

By god, we did it. I wasn’t sure we could. I almost chickened out and cancelled. Somehow, I had this foreboding sense of doom. I told several people that this would be “either a tremendous success or a total disaster, but no in between.” Well, I’m judging it a success, that went off with only minor hitches.

What am I talking about? My 40th birthday celebration: The First Ever (Annual?) Number 3 Bus Route Drinking Tour. That’s right, me and around 15 or so of my most depraved buddies (and my wonderful, brave, and tolerant wife) spent an entire day bar-hopping down Burnet Road and into Downtown via public transportation.

Below is my play-by-play of the day. You could possibly skip it and just watch the awesome and hilarious video above, shot by the supremely cool Ed. But if you do, you’ll miss some crucial backstory. (My thoughts on the video: Wow, I was an even bigger idiot than I thought. It’s mighty humbling to see one’s obnoxious ass on video for the whole world to see. And Bobnoxious attempting to do math after a zillion beers is priceless. Dear god, I hope none of the parents of my kid’s elementary school classmates see it. Oh, wait — one of them was on the tour!)

First, the concept: Some time ago, I discovered that damn near all my favorite drinking establishments were on Capital Metro's No. 3 bus route, allowing me to get pickled while also being a morally upstanding citizen and not driving drunk. So I decided to make an all-day party out of it — a drinking session beginning at North by Northwest’s Brewer’s Brunch at 10am, and going until the buses stopped running, I puked, or we got arrested.

Now, on top of that, there was another backstory that even I didn’t know about: My wife, who I previously believed loved me, and the other people on the tour, who I previously believed to be my friends, all placed bets on exactly when I would puke. (Margaret showed me the e-mails y’all were exchanging, you evil bastards!)

NXNW’s brunch is mighty tasty and I highly recommend it. I started out with their Okanagan Black because it seemed like a hearty brew with some substance — just what I needed to start the day. I’m pretty sure I’ve drank at 10am before in my life, but never without any food in my stomach. Whew! I then had their Kodiak IPA and a wonderful variation on eggs benedict made with crab and shrimp. (Oh, and lots of water — if you're thinking of replicating this bad idea, it's crucial to pace yourself with lots of water.)

From there, we tried to catch the 11:58am bus, and were only about 50 yards from the stop — hell, less than that — and I know the bus driver saw us sprinting and waving, and he/she refused to stop! Jeez, what an a-hole! That driver racked up a lot of bad karma for that one. Rather than suffer in the 100-degree heat, we instead consoled ourselves with cool drinks at the Iron Cactus as we waited 30 minutes for the next one. (You know, the Iron Cactus isn't such a bad place at noon when it's completely empty of yuppies.)

Moving on, we hit Bagpipes, Trudy’s, and the Poodle Dog Lounge (the PDL has shuffleboard! And it’s right near my house! Why have I not been here every night for the past 11 years?). Then it was on to Ginny’s Little Longhorn, which was already the coolest dive in the universe, but became even cooler when the bartender opened her doors just for us! She wasn’t supposed to open for another four hours! (Hey, bus driver who stiffed us — all those karma points you lost went directly to her.) Man, Schlitz has never tasted so fine.

Then it was a quick walk down to Billy’s On Burnet, and here is where the wheels started to come off a bit. I know — I’ve even said it on this blog — that strong ales are not to be consumed during lengthy drinking sessions. I know it, but … well, you know, alcohol impairs one's judgment. I went for the Real Ale Devil’s Backbone (8% alcohol). Not smart, especially since we were still a good four hours from our goal. (Well, four hours from my goal, but edging closer to the goal of the pro-puke faction.) But at least I can probably claim to be the first person in history to have consumed a Belgian-style tripel while eating a Frito pie. (I put that link there for you non-Texans who may have never heard of one of our finest delicacies.)

I probably could have rebounded okay, but I ran into one of the guys from Black Star Co-op at the Draught House, and he was sipping something called Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA. I guess at around 7% it’s not that high, but it is when you’re on your eighth hour of drinking. It did indeed torpedo me. And then we got to the Dog & Duck, and somebody just handed me something. And I drank it. No idea what it was, but I suspect the bettors were now looking at their watches, getting nervous, and plotting against me.

Then things started to fall apart for all of us. We waited at what we thought was the correct stop, the one where we had been let off earlier, but apparently that was only a detour stop and the No. 3 sped right by us. We then violated the only rule I had for this very bad idea of a day (strictly staying on the No. 3) and took another bus down to the Ginger Man. Somehow, though, at this point I wasn’t feeling too guilty about fudging things.

Finally, we arrived at what was pretty obviously going to be the last stop on the tour. (Sorry, Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que — we tried to reach you!) And indeed, the Ginger Man staff made that decision for us. I got to enjoy one delicious cask-conditioned Saint Arnold Elissa IPA before we were summarily informed that our table had been cut off. Cut off! I have never in my life been cut off! Yeah, I’m embarrassed about it, but hey, I guess that’s one of things everyone has to experience at least once in their life. I just decided to wait until I was 40.

But you know what — I wasn’t out drinking and driving. Nope, god bless Capital Metro, they did it for me. My wife — who I suppose I must forgive for her evil-ness — led me by the hand to the bus stop (the No.5 — breaking the rules again) and got me home safe and sound.

And you know what else? I didn’t puke. Which means I won all the money! Ha, ha, thanks for paying for my hangover breakfast, bitches! I win!

(Seriously, all my friends are so cool. You all turned this really stupid idea into the funnest birthday party ever. You rock.)

Jesus Christ, if I ever do this again I'm drinking nothing but "near beer."


Anonymous said...

Dave T says ...

You see, all that cheap light beer has some use.

Mean Rachel said...

My mother would be proud.
And by mother I mean my first roommate who taught me how to drink.

Doing Shots of Yager at 1:36 PM on a Saturday since August 2, 2008.

St. Murse said...

Sad I missed it. Though, I would have been the one who was drinking lightly, studying the bus schedule, and hustling people out the door for the next stop.

Ana said...

I'm totally going to try this.

Po said...

This puts my Portland "4 pubs in 3 hours" crawl to shame.

snax said...

I spoke to someone who lives in Denver and she mentioned an article that appeared two days before our adventure - a Light Rail Bar Crawl.
Ours was better!

And now I know why I was out of it when we got to the Ginger Man. I also drank a Devils Backbone at Billy's on Burnet, but don't recall if I had Sierra Nevada Torpedo or ESB later.

a beer sort of girl said...

You are my hero.

JMVC_ATX said...

Well done...although you missed LaLa's. Best bar on the #3. - jmvc

Anonymous said...

Man does it make me miss Austin!

Remember hearing Lee talk about this #3 pubcrawl, during a Zealots happy hour at NXNW several months back. Thought it was a wonderful idea (was living within crawling distance of Uncle Billy's, at the time).
Did some pubcrawls here in Montreal but cool pubs aren't conveniently located on the same bus route. Usually, the most pubs we hit during a crawl would be eight or so. And, what's neat, a lot of places have samples so we can taste a lot of different beers in a short amount of time.

Karla said...

The video makes me homesick for Austin, wishing I was there...and oddly proud that the folks I met in college are pretty much the same dumbasses now at 40 that we were at 19. We rule.

Watching the video was like being there...except for the sweat and stuff.

Machuca said...

devil's backbone, torpedo, elissa...not exactly session beers. You were just trying to make it exciting I guess (those three would have been enough to tuck me in and say night, night).

Happy belated Birthday.

Travis said...

Sounds like fun. Adding to my drinking-to-do list.

Have you tried the trudys challenge? very similiar

Lee said...

Beergirl: You really ought to aim higher in who you idolize. :-)

jmvc: We wanted to do LaLa's, but unfortunately they picked that weekend to go on vacation. They were definitely on the wish list. Maybe next time.

Sarah said...

Awesome... just awesome!!

Bill said...

Oh man, what fun! I've been out of radio contact until today, first chance I had to read this. The video is awesome. Good job not puking.

Henry's Bar and Grill RIP.

Anonymous said...

The audio isn't working on the video anymore. If you view it on the YouTube site it says, "This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG. The audio has been disabled."

- chris r

Lee said...

Thanks Chris, I'll look into it. Maybe we can get the non-music portion restored.