Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shamrocks and Shenanigans Part 2 of 3 (Shenanigans Portion)

Every year I give myself a great big St. Patrick's exemption where all things Lent simply do not apply (so I drink...and usually eat pizza and have a shamrock shake).  This year we actually got the holiday on a Saturday, so there were big plans thought out.  Eventually we all settled on the idea of going to Corktown in the early morning and being part of what (at least we had heard) was utter madness there. 

Well, in typical fashion of how plans usually go, people either forgot or dropped out based on other plans.  So it began to look as if it just wasn't going to happen, and my Detroiter friend and I, who were still up for it started to back away from the idea.  However, we seem to both have brains that say "oh no you don't" the second we give up on something.  There's just that little internal voice that tells you "stop being stupid, you want this, go do it."  It's that same voice that makes me want to run a marathon even though it's mentally irregular, or makes me abandon my wife (after she gives me that "go, it's okay" look) in a balcony at St. Andrews Hall so I can go into a black hole of violent moshing and potential leg injuries at an Andrew W.K. concert.  That voice eventually made us get back on the phone and say "screw it, we're still going."  Besides, by the time the holiday is on a Saturday again, St. Pats bar-hopping may be on the Murtagh List.

So, I got up at 6am, got ready, picked up my buddy, and headed to Corktown about 8am expecting things to already be somewhat occupied (Nancy Whiskey opened at 7am).  We had avoided Nancy Whiskey, thinking it would be too crowded already and headed toward the Michigan Ave. strip.  It was dead.  So much for what I've heard about it being insane, even early.  The Lager House was open though, so we filed in and nobody was in there, except the owner (P.J.) and we even had to ask if he was open.  He poured the 3 of us a shot, informing us that the first-comers get a ceremonial shot every year, asking "Is Jameson alright?"  "F*** yes, it's better than alright."  The we chased it down with a fitting Dragonmead Corktown Red

As far as good Michigan brews on tap and also having the pub standards for the basic drinkers, the Lager House is one of the best places in Detroit.  The bar top is decorated with guitar picks under a clear coat, there's a lot of great bands that play there from time to time, there's Jameson bottles being used as hanging light fixtures, and it's basically just a nice laid back atmosphere.  It's just a great hang-out bar in general. 

We followed up with a Saugatuck Neopolitan Milk Stout, Irish Car Bombs, an IPA that I now forget, MilKingIt Brik Red Ale, etc......  Finally we closed the tab and decided it was food time at about 1ish.  Corktown began to fill up a bit, and I figured that Slow's had already be taken by drunken "reavers" at this point, so we theorized that the later, downtown crowd wouldn't have taken over the restaurants yet, and we went to Red Smoke Barbecue, which I've been wanting to try for a while now.  It just seems impossible for us to pass up Nikki's when we're in that area, because it is the known love of the group.  Steering them somewhere else that may not be as good requires some social risk (which is why I also tried Loco solo days before this).  When you're with just one friend, though, it's easier to try something new.  Plus, in our condition I'm sure most anything would have been fine. 

Red Smoke was pretty dang good, though.  While I don't believe the barbecue itself was as good as Slow's, they have a distinct advantage in sides and sauces.  The mac is amazing and just offering a jalapeno cornbread muffin (nevermind the fact that it was incredible) makes you win the battle of sides automatically.  The sauces, especially the Roasted Poblano and the Red Smoke were just fantastic (especially the two alternated or mixed).  As someone who is a total condiment whore, and attempts to drown his food in them, great sauces are highly appreciated.  I even enjoyed the Cherry Molasses, and I rarely like Cherry anything (outside of pepsi, coke, and that "Save Tonight" song by Eagle-Eye Cherry).  I will try to add photos later, but they are all in my friend's possession, so I had to borrow the photo of the sauces below from Rebecca (after it was the first to show up from my google snooping) @ (thank you), who also paid a visit to Red Smoke, which is recapped here.

Rebecca's Photo, not mine
After feeding, we walked back to Corktown, once again laughing at the people lined around the block trying to get into The Old Shillelagh when Corktown bars were still easily in walking distance and empty enough to walk right in and immediately have a beer.  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with The Old Shillelagh, because on off nights it's a wonderful bar and it's 'tenders are some of the nicest ladies and gents in Detroit.  It's just that, during game days and drinking high tides, this place is elbow to elbow overcrowded and, to quote Daniel Clamp from "Gremlins 2," it becomes "a place for things."  This was the worst I have ever seen the place, and I get that it's an Irish bar on St. Patty's Day, but waiting hours to have a beer is just inhumanly illogical.
Adios Amigo
We walked back to Corktown, once again saluting General Kosciuszko on the return trip.  Then stopped into Casey's (well known as the spot where Gehrig sat and listened to the Tigers-Yanks game after taking himself out of the line-up, thus ending the streak) for a Guinness.  That pretty much ended our day, with my friend feeling sick, and myself being back to nearly sober, we just walked around for a little bit to chill.  We collected some of the St. Patrick's Day posters/signs that blew off the buildings into the streets and next to the fences as souvenirs for the day.  Then I took him home, and came back to Flint to get my lady who was dropping off a client's wedding photos, play with the puppy, drink a green tea lemonade, and take a much needed siesta.

That puppy wanted a drink too.

Then we packed back up for Ann Arbor where (almost) everyone was finally getting together for the night.  I was having some stomach issues with that curdling Baileys from the ICB's (lactose and I don't agree, and I continue to choose to ignore this), so I sipped some Bell's Two-Hearted really slowly the rest of the night.  We settled in at some bar called The Ravens Club (complete suckfest), while I wished I hadn't bothered making the trip, and eventually cut the night off earlyish (11:30pm), which royally pissed off one of our friends who was just getting free at the time.  Screw it, though.  I had my fun early (about 6 hours of it), and I had to run in Bay City the next day.  I wasn't about to hang out for another hour waiting for him on top of time after when he got there, especially at that awful bar (which makes me vow yet again never to let my former roomie pick bars).  Besides, Renfield was home alone until 1:30am, and that's way too long to leave a puppy.

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