It's that magic time of year again, WAIW devotees - Nine Bars. Nine Innings. We have, as it happens, been doing this now for one half of a decade. Which, evidently, was just enough time to finally figure our shit out for the kickoff bar. More on that below.
For the uninitiated, the annual Wasting Away in Wrigleyville Pub Crawl is a tribute to Cubs fandom through the ultimate test of stamina. Ever been out drinking and your mommish-sounding friend says something like "hey there, it's a marathon, not a sprint"? Well, you should get some new friends. And additionally, this event is both marathon AND sprint.
You need to enter a bar, obtain a beer, and consume that beer in the time it takes to play ONE (1) inning of Major League Baseball. And have you seen our fucking offense this year? Half the inning's over before the cap hits the bar top. So, you know, fucking SPRINT! Then you repeat for eight additional innings. MARATHON!
WAIW Pub Crawl: The World's Finest Drinking Sprintathon!
But we didn't become the finest by doing this willy-nilly like a couple of suckers. It's not 'Nam. There are rules here:
1. Cash only. When the twenty-six people behind you also need to get a beer while Nate Scheirholtz waves his bat somewhat in the direction of a pitch, you do NOT pull out a credit card. And if you do, those waiting are each allowed to huck an item of their choice. Rule exception: You're buying a round for the house.
2. Bottles, not draft. You know what your friendly neighborhood bartender can do in roughly 1.4 seconds? Open a bottle. You know what takes much longer? Pouring a draft. Even longer? Pouring a draft for every non-savvy motherfucker in the bar. That draft special on the board? That's not for you. Move along. Pitchers? Share with your WAIW editors and we may have an exception.
3. Know thyself. As previously mentioned, this marks our half-decade anniversary. We haven't had anyone wake up in county lockup yet. Don't be the first to overdo it and punch a police horse.
4. Watch the game. Even if it's a shit-kicking of a game, it's important to start the transition to the next bar with two outs left in the bottom of the inning. Gotta keep this drink train a-rollin'.
Pre-game: Lucky's Sandwich Company
Steve and I will be at Lucky's Sandwich Company (3472 N. Clark) at about 12:30. If you ordered a shirt, he has it, and will accept $15 cash. We'll also have spanking new WAIW koozies for order, which you don't need to pre-order. $5 for those. Also, load up on some delicious motherfucking sandwiches. You're going to be drinking all day, you monster.
1st Inning: Nisei Lounge
We did it. We finally did it. We figured out a fucking bar for the first inning whereas previous years have rendered the shirt obsolete by Crawl time. Blarney Stone was closed. Schoolyard was renovating. Dark Horse burned to the ground (okay, so actually it was just that they were showing a Pittsburgh Penguins game). But not this time. NOT THIS FUCKING TIME.
This time we start at Nisei Lounge, the finest baseball dive bar in all of Chicago and proud home of Malort Night. Are you brave enough to start the Crawl with a drink that tastes of the screaming souls of the thirce-damned? We'll see.
2nd Inning: The Stretch
Some bars might be put out at a mid-afternoon pub crawl rush. Not the fine management of The Stretch last year. They proffered tiny mason jars filled with Fireball Whiskey. Clearly they're some upstanding Lakeview citizens. Two years ago, we caught the Kentucky Derby there during a rain delay. We drank whiskey. I'm starting to sense a theme.
3rd Inning: Merkle's
Every year the same - pictures with the Colonel Sanders statue and jokes about Merkle's Boner. This is also where people tend to order draft beer for some unknown reason. So if I'm yelling, that's probably why.
4th Inning: Mullen's
The back porch (actually an alley) at Mullen's is still one of my favorite places to drink in the entire city. But on this day, we savor the interior for an inning of Pub Crawl madness. This is traditionally the point where people begin to loosen up and become Drinking Friends for Life.
5th Inning: Sluggers
MOTHERFUCKING CAGE MOTHERFUCKING MATCH
STEVE V. JOHN
One man wins the esteem of the Crawl community and a year of glory/bragging rights. One defeated son of a bitch lives in squalor and shame for the rest of the year, his very soul transmuted into a veritable Greyhound bus station of torment and ennui. HIGH STAKES BATTING CAGES
(Note: In the years we've been doing this, we've never actually agreed upon who the winner was.)
6th Inning: Captain Morgan Club
A little taste of Wrigley, provided it's open. It has the unpredictable hours of a 1980s photomat run by a cokehead. Off-day prices for pitchers are AWESOME, which is another reason it's here.
Should it be closed to the public, we can always attempt an audible to The Dugout, which is very much like if your drunken "we should open a bar, bro!" talk in college came to fruition in a dank El-adjacent basement.
7th Inning: Sports Corner
Nice and big and recently renovated, the perfect pivot point going toward Murphy's and into the home stretch. There's a rooftop, but our typical Pub Crawl forecast from the Weather Channel is, and I quote, "Scotland."
8th Inning: Murphy's Bleachers
Perhaps the finest bar in Wrigleyville, site of Mark Grace and Rick Sutcliffe's extracurricular slump-busting in the glory days of the late 80s. It feels like a bar, not a "bar," which you will understand if you've spent any significant amount of time at Lakeview bars.
Fun fact: I karaoke'd Ke$ha here last fall. You know, right before that Red Bull guy parachuted from SPACE? Yeah, you're welcome for that.
9th Inning: Bernie's
The finish line, featuring shuffleboard, hearty congratulations, and last year a Crawl patron who managed to fall asleep while sitting completely upright on a bar stool.
Drunk people need pizza. And this is some good damn pizza.
Oh, and there's a drink special on? Don't mind if I do. That 9pm pass-out isn't going to make ITSELF happen.
This is likely where you'll hear me yelling that karaoke at Trader Todd's is a great idea. I may have a point.
Yesterday was another whip-fast game of completely offense-less baseball. Pat and Keith kindly praised the pitching for both teams, as to reflect overly on the offense would lead to madness. For much of the game, Travis Wood had accounted for 33 percent of the offense - for both teams. WAIW favorite Starlin Castro's RBI in the top of the third looked to stand up as the series-decider in this deal-ball garbagefart of an opening week. Nate Scheirholz of all people provided a cushion on top of that. But then Dale Sveum (and really, the front office if we're not playing coy) gave Marmol a chance to close things out. And now I'll steer you to the text exchange between Steve and myself:
John: Fucking. Marmol.
Steve: Why do we let him fucking play?
John: The futile hope of a trade.
Steve: On a fucking 0-2 as well [note: this was directly after Gaby Sanchez's hit]
John: This makes me insane with anger.
John: So it looks like we have a new closer. Anyone else.
Steve: I hear Kevin Gregg is getting tired of staring blankly at a wall.
John: Sighing loudly and eating Sour Patch Kids.
Steve: And every few minutes rewinding a music box.
John: The little ballerina has one arm broken off and the paint is chipped.
Steve: While he sits in a yellowing wedding gown
John: One bare lightbulb swinging overhead.
Steve: Poor Greggy.
Luckily, the Pirates are even more snakebitten than the Cubs over the last couple of decades and managed to waste the tying run on third with no outs. But the drama remains. Who will close games? James Russell looks sharp, but he's a lefty, so rest assured that he'll only be under-used for stupid things. Kyuji Fujukawa looks good, but the meatheads on WGN's post-game show haven't learned his name yet apart from "Dat Japanese Guy" (we have two, you fucking idiots).
Honestly, you all saw the "offense" on display. We might not need a closer for a while. Certainly not with that Braves lineup looming. Let's just pop an Old Style and hit the snooze button on this one.
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Steve's text: "I never thought I'd long for a Patterson or a Pie."
Patterson or Pie? That's scary to hear from my co-editor - real car-running-in-the-shut-garage talk. And yet what else would be a proper reaction after watching Cubs team led off by Dave Sapplet (ugh) manage two hits and one walk all night against the reanimated corpse of Wandy Rodriguez? You put out Lillibridge in his Bartman turtleneck and expect good things? No sir.
Other ugly things:
- Team OBP of .197 right now. All-Valbuena lineup!
- We've started the year 0-13 with runners in scoring position.
- New $52 million pitching guy Edwin Jackson lasted all of five innings.
- Michael Bowden looks about as bad as he did last year. Let's try to bring down that 18.00 H/9 stat.
- Anthony Rizzo looked to be decapitated at one point. Luckily this was not the case.
- The morning news and game reports blaming the poor game on the weather. They're going to have serious trouble playing at Wrigley through May, if that's really the case. I know it's hard to craft an angle out of a 2-hit nutshotting, but can't we just blame Lillibridge and his .000 OBP through two games?
- We're still in a tie for first. SAVOR THE MOMENT!
- Travis Wood and his glorious mountain man beard take the hill today at 11ish with a chance to win the series. Let's go Beardy!
Time has come for the epic-ness that is the pub crawl. This year, we have one slick little shirt for you to purchase, and all kinds of special surprises in store for the 5th ANNUAL! WAIW pubcrawl. This is some premium American Apparel shit too, so remember, these are hipster sizes!
Click here for a bigger picture (and become a fan of us if your sorry ass hasn't done so yet) and buy them below!