This past weekend several gentlemen gathered in New York for my bachelor party. With everyone arriving at various times and coming from various points throughout the nation the airline gods for once shined upon us. James and I started the trip at the Waldorf Astoria drinking Manhattans and mingling with the Pharmaceutical Industry sans James Cameron. We ended the trip four days later watching an awkward teenager continually fall in a dramatic manner on the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. The basic plan was as follows:
Rendezvous on Thursday night, grab some drinks, then on Friday get to Blondies in enough time to snag a table for the remainder of the day and hold our ground until Josh and Luke arrived later in the evening. We then headed to a couple of bars before ending up at McAleer’s Pub for the Ohio State – UC Santa Barbara game and an epic arm wrestling match. On Saturday Rob and Dom arrived and we made our way to the Brooklyn Brewery (turns out our cab driver knew his way around Brooklyn as well as I do, which is to say he didn’t). Jim managed to score a table and some free wooden beer tickets from some ‘contacts’. By far the high point of the brewery, outside of the beer, would have to be seeing Chester B. Arthur and this guy. After the Brewery we marched on to Barcade for some vintage video game action before continuing on our Judgment Night-like march through Brooklyn. There were doubts but we did arrive at Peter Luger Steak House on time and James used his persuasive skills to get us seated. After dinner we headed to McSorley’s Old Ale House and used our chocalate golden coins as currency. Our night began to wind down at Spitzer’s Corner before eventually heading back to the hotel/german bar next door.
It took us a couple of tries to find the basketball game but when we did it was at McAleer’s. As you can see in the photograph there was a dispute that could only be settled by gentlemen. I’m pretty sure Josh let me win but then again Luke’s facial expression during my fist pump lets me believe it was a legitimate victory. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
Hanging out at the Brooklyn Brewery very well might have been the highlight of the trip for me. We had a large table which was key, the beer was great and most of it was free due to Jim’s contact who got us the table. The setup was much different than any of us expected, a large warehouse like room with picnik tables. We decided to skip the tour to make room for Barcade and make the most of our table while we had it.
Getting to Barcade and walking to Peter Luger’s was interesting enough. The walk included some of the props seen below. Barcade also has a great beer selection and we might have ordered some of the best pizza on the planet from Carmine’s Pizza. The games were probably better than the beer selection and that’s saying alot. I had some cast ale that Josh insisted on and it was great.
As Jim would say, James ‘out lawyered them’ and managed to get us into Peter Luger’s when there were some doubts about our reservation. In a word it was amazing. We probably ordered too much food but that would serve Josh and Nick well in the morning. The shrimp was the largest I’ve ever seen. Probably one of the most impressive feats of the weekend was Rob carring a bag of prime meat around New York for the next 5 hours.
McSorley’s being one of the older bars in the country is my kind of place. We scored a table in the back room via our Peter Luger chocolate coins and held our own for a good portion of the evening. I made sure to take care of Mikey as he ‘likes the sweets’. There were no speeches and the whole place was pretty cordial except for the girl who was holding a clinic on how to drink six beers simultaneously.
On both Thursday and Saturday night we ended up at Spitzer’s Corner since it was close to our hotel and had an extensive beer list. If I recall correctly we had the same waitress both nights but she cared much less for our humor the second time around.
In summary, I’d say we all had a good time. Clearly we weren’t shooting for your average bachelor party hence the walking tour of Brooklyn and the near uncanniness of being in so many bars during March Madness without televisions. As all trips to New York go we saw some baffling things which will never make sense and we overheard some intense conversations/domestic disputes.
Thanks to everyone who attended.
* The complete set of photographs are here.
**There is no reason for there to be such a thing as ‘seafood sausage’.
Yesterday we decided to change things up since Ginger’s is under new management and we headed to Chief O’Neill’s which was a much different vibe. I got there a little before 11am and the next thing I knew it was me and about nine kids watching The Power Rangers on TV. The setup of Chief’s was two huge rooms and a giant outside tent where all the parents were eating as their kids watched tv in the bar. Clearly I was early.
Chief O’Neill’s slogan is ‘The bar you’ve been practicing for.’ At this point I think it should be ‘The bar you’ve been saving for.’ After 1p they started charging a $10 cover charge (hence why I showed up early), draft beer was $5 for domestic and $6 for imports, in other words a Miller Light was way too expensive not that I was drinking Miller Light. They did have a buffet setup for $14 but it was a one pass buffet, not the all-you-can eat variety. With this in mind you pretty much stacked your plate as high as it could go. In the picture above you can see my plate with pasta, pulled pork, fried cod, fries and a couple of rolls. The plate in the photograph below is Kilburg’s, he had at least 3 rolls in his pockets. All that being said, the food was great and the atmosphere, though older, was much more professional. Seasoned veterans one might say.
A good time was had by all.
Last night we headed out West to St. Ferdinand Church for their Lenten Fish Fry which just so happened to be Elvis Night. I’ve been searching for a church Fish Fry since the last one I went to in Columbus was all out of fish back in 2006. The fish at St. Ferdinand wasn’t the best (I’d say it was frozen/middle school lunch-esq) but the atmosphere was top notch. First off the place was packed and you couldn’t find parking for a couple blocks. There were at least two different banquet type rooms that we could see both had their own bar. The bar by the way probably served the cheapest beer in all of Chicago: $1.50 Miller Light (no tip jar). Also, they were hocking girl scout cookies and carmel apples as soon as you walked in the door. Elvis worked the crowd and took requests all the while handing out scarfs to old ladies.
Needless to say St. Ferdinand has their act together when it comes to a Fish Fry.