Trick or Drink! A Pub Crawl review

It’s been well over a week since my last post, and I feel bad about it. But there’s really only so many ways one can say “there is some fairly transparent political gamesmanship going on here” before you try to bludgeon yourself to death with your keyboard. This election season hasn’t been as unbearably long as the last Presidential election, but it’s almost as painful. Especially locally where all the races involving actual people have essentially been decided already. All we have now is a bunch of people/groups/unions on both sides of multiple issues telling us if we vote for the other side, your safety will be irreparably compromised or some dirty hippie is going to grow pot on an elementary school playground while blowing smoke in your child’s face. It’s especially frustrating because, even after tomorrow, none of those issues will actually be solved until after multiple lengthy legal battles.

With that rant out of the way, something fun actually happened recently, let’s talk about that instead. For the second year in a row the Downtown Alliance put on a Halloween themed Pub Crawl, and for the second year in a row it was a blast.

Like the previous Crawl, the Mile sat this one out. I’ve never really been a big fan of the Mile bars since they’ve always half-assed Pub Crawl participation, so I wasn’t too heartbroken that we missed out on Valley Brew’s frozen food. It helps that trolley frequency increased slightly without having to make the trek up north. The downtown exclusivity also really helps with the pace of the Crawl. Before, you’d feel pressure to try and hit up as many bars as possible, which inevitably led to waiting 10-20 minutes for a 15 minute trolley ride to the Mile (they always took really awkward routes). Next thing you know, it’s 20 minutes until the costume contest downtown and you’re stuck at the Matinee with 50 other people who got too drunk to remember you need at least 30 minutes of trolley lead time to get to where you want to be on time. Long story short, fuck the Mile (although I heard the party at Ave was excellent).

While the number of venues was somewhat truncated, the amount of attendees wasn’t. Or at least it seemed like it wasn’t as most of the venues were packed when our group got there. With the smaller stable of participating bars, we only hit up about 4 of them. Mostly because Davoli’s and Charlie’s are complete dives (and not in a good way. Not that I have high standards, but others in my group did) and Chitiva’s is out on an island by itself in the Warehouse. The bars we did go to didn’t disappoint.

Misaki’s was the starting point as usual. There’s no better Pub Crawl tradition than that initial sake bomb. It’s the deal they have every Pub Crawl, sake (or a Long Island if you’re not into chugging) and tempura. None of the other bars offer a drop shot drink special so they’ll always earn a drink ticket from me. It’s a hell of a deal, but they always close early. So after a round of sake bombs, we remember that the rest of their deals aren’t really that good and move on.

Time was another motivating factor to mosey along since this Pub Crawl introduced the concept of multiple events in multiple venues to keep the crowd moving (or crawling if you will). At 8, the event was at Bradley’s, which had the added benefit of having a drink ticket specifically for their Zombie drink. The event itself wasn’t so much an organized event as it was an excuse to gather together, drink the surprisingly strong drink (which appeared to be fruit juice from an Igloo cooler combined with liberal amounts of vodka), and get your picture taken for the DSA’s Facebook page. Since the point of Halloween is pretty much to get drunk and have your picture taken in a wacky costume, the turnout was pretty good (as were the drinks).

The next stop both for us and the planned events was personal favorite O’Ryleigh’s. There, as is usual on Saturday nights, lounge singer/comedian Jay Smith (Biatch) was there serenading the bar. As isn’t usual though is the fact that he actually had an audience this time. I’ve seen Jay’s show a couple of times on random Saturday nights at O’Ryleigh’s and he can be hit or miss. It really depends on the crowd. If the crowd’s there to drink and catch up with friends, then Jay can be kind of annoying because he’s really loud and he commands the attention of the whole bar when performing. But give that guy a liquored up crowd he can vibe off of and that motherfucker can own the place. He did that Saturday night. I was skeptical of Jay performing on what was clearly the busiest night I’ve ever seen O’Ryleigh’s have, but he had that crowd in the palm of his hand the second he started singing AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.

But we weren’t there for Jay Smith, we were there for the costume contest and some Halloween shooters. The shooters were forgettable but the costume contest was fairly competitive. I totally would have taken pictures, but I was so drunk by then that I forgot I even had a camera (but not too drunk that I forgot to check into Foursquare). I was also very distracted by what was by far the best appetizer special on the Crawl, O’Ryleigh’s famous Irish Nachos. Unlike other bars that gave you some weak sampling of an appetizer, they passed out a full plate of nachos for your appetizer ticket. O’Ryleigh’s may be relatively new to the Pub Crawls, but they’ve embraced them more than any other bar has.

After a quick trip over to Cali Street Grille (a great diner next to O’Ryleigh’s that’s open late nights on weekends but wasn’t officially on the Crawl), we headed to our final stop, the returning Lexington  Waterfront Plaza Hotel and Feed and Fuel and Beyond for the raffle for a $50 downtown bar tab spread amongst various bars. Which doesn’t sound as awesome when one remembers that $50 buys you 2 and a half drinks at Taste. Regardless, I don’t remember the raffle ever taking place. There’s a very good chance it did, but it was 11pm by then, there’s also a very good chance I won the raffle and will find the gift certificates the next time I put on the coat I wore that night. It was that kind of night. I did manage to stay coherent enough to check out the reopened Delta Bar and Lounge or whatever the Lexington’s bar is called. It wasn’t my first time there since it received its liquor license, that was the latest Tweetup, but this was the first time I really had a budget to drink with and I can say with confidence that it’s pretty much the same bar that somehow lost its license in foreclosure a year ago with one glaring exception.

Before Lexington lost its license, it was the best place to go post-Crawl because it had a Happy Hour that kicked in at midnight as the Crawl specials ended. It was the perfect place to wind up at the end of the night and the discounted room prices made it your best option for not geting a DUI after a long night of drinking. It’s still a good DUI-free option, but I was very disappointed to learn that there would be no Happy Hour after party this time around. The bartender called last call just a little bit before midnight, I was crushed. Then I remembered I had some Jager at home, so I was less crushed, but I still missed the after party.

Halloween is one of my favorite nights in Stockton. I know I’m not the biggest fan of holidays in general because of all the marketing BS that goes on, Halloween in Stockton is just a good time. It’s one of the few times a year everybody lets their freak flag fly, and Stockton has some awesome freaks (and I mean that as a term of endearment, swear). Really though, I missed out not taking a bunch of pictures of all the awesome costumes out there from the Alice in Wonderland guys to the spot on Marty McFly complete with hoverboard(!) and a Doc Brown companion. It was a truly great drunken party in downtown Stockton. And to think, my roommate thought she had to drive all the way to San Francisco to get that.

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~ by Slick Diaz on November 1, 2010.

One Response to “Trick or Drink! A Pub Crawl review”

  1. I rule.

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