Thursday, August 06, 2009
2nd Annual Booze 'n Bike Rally
On Saturday, July 11th, 2009, a group of friends and I participated in an event that challenged our bodies, our hearts, our minds, and our livers by participating in the 2nd Annual Booze 'n Bike Rally. That's right. For the second year in a row, we went on a pub crawl on our bicycles. The crawl was 22 miles long and included 18 bars. Each person was required to drink 1 beer per bar. At each Irish bar, an Irish Car Bomb was required, in lieu of beer. We began the sojourn at 11a.m. at the Crestwood Lounge. Last year I kept extensive notes and posted them here. However this year I decided to change it up a little. Instead of a running diary, I enlisted with my friend The Grodfather to help me write reviews for each of the bars we patronized. I've included the reviews below and added anything else I could remember from the day's events.
To commemorate the event, the Grodfather did something completely awesome and bought everyone yellow wristbands, like the kind Lance Armstrong wears. Except ours didn't have the phrase "Live Strong" on them. We live by a different motto: Bike Drunk.
We had more participants this year than we had last year, but only four returning riders, due to a variety of reasons including scheduling conflicts and people being lame. At the first bar, people began taking in who was missing from the previous year, which led to the following exchange:
"Why isn't Lizz doing the rally this year?"
"Her girlfriend wanted to go camping with friends, so she had to do that instead."
"Oooh, I don't blame her then. Her girlfriend is hot...you gotta lock that down."
Bar #1 - Crestwood Lounge
Description: A blue collar bar that features bikini-clad waitresses and, inexplicably, luau décor.
Price of a Miller High Life: $1.75 a bottle.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: Coke. Or for a bikini-clad waitress’s ex-boyfriend to kick your ass for staring at his property.
Rating: 2 Stars (Docked half a star for not having any TP in the ladies room).
When riding up to the next bar, it looked they were closed and we'd have to come up with a quick Plan B. Delaney didn't hesitate: "Let's go next door to the 7-11 since they are giving aways free Slurpees today because today is 7/11, and then we can buy a fifth of vodka and pour it into them." The idea was a stellar one, but the second bar ended up not being closed, so the plan never came to fruition.
Bar #2 - East Side Mario's
Description: Casual neighborhood Italian restaurant and bar.
Price of a Miller High Life: n/a – Miller Lite was $3.25 a bottle.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: Free peanuts, cheap appetizers, and people in khakis and polos enjoying authentic “EYE-talian” cuisine.
Rating: 2 ½ Stars – Free peanuts is a plus but not having a High Life to wash’em down with is a minus.
Bar #3 - PY Stix (Nee Oceans 11, nee Jamie’s Again, nee Jamie’s Jammers II, nee Jamie’s Jammers)
Description: They were closed!
Price of a Miller High Life: Unknown
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: A reason to turn around and go home to spend time with your family.
Rating: Zero Stars – A complete dick move by them by being closed when we wanted to drink there. No wonder they’ve gone bankrupt so many times.
When we hit this speed up we decided to just go to the next bar on the route and try to add another bar to the route later on in the day.
Description: A local landmark where High Life is simply referred to as “Miller.”
Price of a Miller High Life: $2.95 a bottle.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: The best burger in Livonia, and napkins proclaiming as much, as well as good honest folk with real lives and real stories. (It’s the salt of the Earth in this joint.) Their burgers really are the tits though.
Rating: 4 Stars – Don’t leave this place without eating a burger. For reals.
At Mason's, one of the riders got a banana out of their backpack and began eating it. Naturally, we started giving them a hard time. I mean they were eating fruit. In a bar. I don't even think that's legal. We cut them a break when they explained that they had a bad case of diarrhea and that eating bananas helped get rid of it. Can't really argue with that.
Bar #4 - Plymouth Roadhouse
Description: Another bar with a bikini wait staff, but no Dalton! No Jeff Healy behind chicken wire either. (Yes, I know that Jeff Healy is dead, but still…just no excuse.)
Price of a Miller High Life: $2.75 a bottle. (The first bar to check I.D.’s.)
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: A bikini wait staff that doesn’t seem to love the smell of cocaine as much as the staff at the Crestwood, and who are self-aware enough to work in a dark and dank bar so they can hide their embarrassing blemishes, cellulite, and scars.
Rating: The fact that the owner’s wife came to our table and gave us all free drink coupons was a nice show of hospitality and worthy of a bump of ½ a star in their rating: 2 Stars
After the above picture was taken, of Johnny and Chuck, the photographer told the guys to pose for one more picture and ordered Chuck to kiss Johnny. Chuck replied, without hesitation: "I want to kiss Johnny about as much as any other person in the world wants to kiss him." Needless to say, a second picture was not taken.While drinking my High Life, I noticed that they had a food special going on. Me: Hey Andy, they're selling sliders for a buck here! Andy: Yeah, I'd need 2 bananas if I ate those.
Bar #5 - Paddy’s Pub
Description: An inauthentic Irish bar with faux Celtic décor.
Price of a Miller High Life: n/a – We only ordered Irish Car Bombs, which were pricey. And delicious.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: A place that looks like a finished basement from the late 70’s that features Guinness on tap.
Rating: 2 ½ Stars
Bar #6 - Kickers
Description: A last minute addition thanks to PY Sticks not being open. They end up being closed as well. No rating or punishment for them, as they were not part of the initial route for a reason. This place sucks.
The New Bar #6 - Levan Wine Shop
Description: In keeping with tradition, we stopped at a party store to make up for the closed bar we weren’t able to patronize. And, no, “Levan” is not the name of a member of an 80’s R&B group. It is a road in Livonia, Michigan. However, “Levan” and “Livonia” are the names of the last two customer service reps you spoke with when you tried to lower your cable bill.
Price of a Miller High Life: $1.00 (comes with free paper bag to drink it out of).
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: A party store.
Rating: 3 Stars
We all went into the party store and we each bought one loose bottle of beer. We then drank it in the parking lot and on the side of the building. Ten minutes later when we were finished our beers, Andy collected a few of the empties and went back into the store to return them to the same guy who sold to us. The guy gave Andy a look and asked "Havin' some fun today, huh?"
While we were drinking in front of the party store, a car driving by began honking wildly and slowed down enough so the driver could yell at us. "Hey that's not a bar! You gotta ride further down the road!!!" We were trying to figure out who the driver was when 5 Mile figured it out: "That's the dude who offered to buy me a beer at the last bar we were at! I told him I couldn't because I was on my way to another bar. I didn't realize he was gonna follow us there."
The party store happened to be next to the Jewelry Factory of Livonia. Here in Metro Detroit, the Jewelry Factory's commercials are unavoidable, and always end with the company's employees slowly waving to the camera. For those of you lucky enough to have no clue what I'm talking about, here is the commercial.
Naturally, we decided to film our own version:
Bar #7 - Lake Pointe Yacht Club
Description: Yet another bikini bar. But this one is on a lake. There are no boats here, though. And certainly no yachts!
Price of a Miller High Life: $3.25 a bottle
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: Herpes.
Rating: 3 Stars
Bar #8 - Buffalo Wild Wings (BW3’s)
Description: A national chain restaurant that prides themselves on their wings and offering a ton of different beers on tap. (Though they all taste the same.)
Price of a Miller High Life: n/a – No High Life here, so we settled on Miller Lite at $3.50 a bottle
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: the oldest, plainest, wait staff this side of a Knights of Columbus. Think Carla from “Cheers” without the sarcasm but with all the kids and the no good ex-husband.
Rating: 3 ½ Stars (Surprisingly good service with as big of a group as we had.)
On the way to BW3's we passed Chuck's neighborhood and were surprised to see his family cheering us on with homemade signs. Later we found out that only some of his family was cheering us on. Chuck's little brother isn't a big fan of drinking, so he wanted to hold up a sign that read "Repent," but his dad wouldn't let him. So he explained to Chuck that when he made the sign for us he purposely left out an exclamation point and instead, inserted a period, because he was not excited about our event.
Bar #9 - Bar Louie
Description: A fancy pants bar that caters to douche bags and old ladies who consider themselves “cougars.”
Price of a Miller High Life: $3.50! (Seriously, Bar Louie? $3.50? Fuck off.)
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: An overpriced drink and a snooty waitress.
Rating: 1 Star.
Bar Louie was the last place I took any notes other than for the reviews. For those wondering, the last note read: "Bar Louie = Gay."
Bar #10 - Champp’s
Description - A bar that tries to WAY too hard to be hip and happening and just ends up being way too loud.
Price of a Miller High Life: n/a – Jarz bought everyone a Coors Light boomba for $4.59 a piece, because that’s just the kind of guy he is. (And because he didn’t pay for jack shit before or after Champp’s.)
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: a $35 sweatshirt to buy that has the bar’s name on it, so that when you wear it the next day and people ask you what you did last night you can smugly smile, point at your sweatshirt and say “I’ll give you three guesses!”
Rating: 2 ½ Stars.
Bar #11 - Claddagh
Description - A legit Irish bar.
Price of a Miller High Life: n/a – Car Bombs again.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: A bunch of affluent suburbanites from Livonia and Northville who want to show off their Irish roots by muscling down a Black and Tan. That and first daters…lots of first daters.
Rating: 3 Stars.
Bar #12 - Doc’s Sports Retreat
Description: The self-proclaimed “Best Sports Bar in Livonia”
Price of a Miller High Life: n/a – They don’t serve High Life and I don’t remember what we bought instead.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: a place that licks balls.
Rating: 2 Stars (and that’s generous).
By all accounts, this is when the wheels began to come off (figuratively speaking). 5 Mile and Andy did Jaegerbombs in addition to their beers, we commandeered the jukebox, and people began performing the "Joe Baum" dance move in the middle of the bar.
And for some reason that probably made sense at the time, I decided to steal an oversize cone from the parking lot and wear it on my head while riding to the next bar. It was way heavier than I thought and kept falling below my eyes. I have no idea how I didn't wipe out multiple times.
next bar to see if people would respect the cone and use the other door. They did.
Bar #13 - George Murphy’s
Description: A bar located right off a golf course. Lots of polo shirts with pit stains in this place.
Price of a Miller High Life: $3.00 a bottle.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: someone to tell you their bullshit story about how they almost broke 40 on the back nine but missed a couple 3 foot putts because the foursome in front of him didn’t properly repair their ball marks.
Rating: 3 Stars (But only if you’re sitting out on the patio, because drinking outside gives off the illusion that you’re actually doing something productive with your day. “Wow, it looks like somebody got some sun this weekend! Were you working hard out in your yard?” “Oh no, I was just crushing beers on the patio at G. Murhpy’s for about 5 hours and the patio umbrella was broken and wouldn’t stay up.”
Bar #14 - Coach’s Corner
Description: Neighborhood bar that has never given a free drink to anyone, for any reason, ever.
Price of a Miller High Life: $3.00 a bottle. (Though it’s better to buy a bucket of 5 at a time. It isn’t cheaper but the service is so bad, ordering 5 at once makes it easier on the waitress. Not that she appreciates it in any way, shape, or form.)
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: anyone connected, tangentially or otherwise, to Madonna College athletics and want to hear them rehash meaningless games that involve people you either don’t know or don’t give a shit about.
Rating: 1 ½ Stars. This place sucks donkey dick.
Bar #15 - Wintergarden
Description: A town pub with lots of wood furnishings. It is quaint, but highly flammable.
Price of a Miller High Life: n/a (too drunk to write down what we drank or how much it cost.)
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: a change of pace from every other bar in Livonia that is “lame as fuck.”
Rating: 2 Stars. (Gratuitious, but someone bought us a shot here, and I’m pretty sure that there weren’t any roofies in it.)
Somebody bought us shots along with our beers at this place. That probably wasn't a good idea because I'm pretty sure all of us felt like how Peter looks in this picture:
Bar #16 - The Bench Pub
Description: An old school, hole-in-the-wall bar and proud of it. Recently remodeled to highlight their multiple dartboards, which is perfect for the numerous dart leagues and tournaments that they host.
Price of a Miller High Life: $2.75 a bottle.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: An internet jukebox so that you can torment a blue collar crowd that doesn’t appreciate the music of Michael McDonald or Kenny Loggins and just want to play darts while rockin' out to Nickelback..
Rating: 1 ½ Stars. Fuck darts.
Bar #17 - O'Malley's
Description: An authentic Irish bar in the heart of Livonia that pays tribute to its heritage by having a regular karaoke to Don Henley songs on Saturday nights.
Price of a Miller High Life: Just Car Bombs, ma'am.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: A place with two apostrophes in its name. This place doesn't have much to offer.
Rating: 1 ½ Stars.
I'm pretty sure 5 Mile did 3 or 4 Car Bombs at this bar - no joke.
Bar #18 - The Stables (aka St. Able's)
Description: A windowless, smoky bar that is saved by it's unbelievable service. The waitstaff and bartenders are the best in the biz, people, and I'm not bullshitting. .
Price of a Miller High Life: $2.75 a bottle.
The perfect bar if you’re looking for: a Stablizer, which is a shot created by The Stables that is a concoction that includes a number of liquors, juices, and even some Miller High Life. It is highly recommended that you down one of these bad boys to "get stable" before your long drive home.
Rating: 4 ½ Stars.
Even with my night of barfing, I still don't think I ended up as bad as poor Peter, who suffered some injuries after taking a tumble off his bike. I'm sure his arm and leg will be healed in time for next year's rally, though I don't know if his liver (or any of our livers) will be. There's only one way to find out.
Final Booze 'n Bike Rally Tally:
10 Hours of Drinking
3 Irish Car Bombs
1 Mystery Shot
1 Party Store
1 Debilitating hangover