As you might have guessed from all the schoolgirlish squealing, the 4th Annual WAIW Pub Crawl is alllllllmost here. Would that it could be Saturday already, and that we could be six beers and a three-meat sandwich deep into the Cubs game with you dear readers. But wait we must, so we'll revisit for you our favorite memories and best descriptions of the esteemed businesses along the Crawl trail. For fullness of experience, we're going to include the pre-game bar, as well as the unofficial 10th inning joint and the post-post-drinking pizza stop. Please to enjoy our TripAdvising.
Lucky's Sandwich Company
Steve: It was made famous from an appearance on "Man vs. Food" which to me spells the opposite of what I want to consume before excessive beer drankin’. It is the equivalent of “No Homer, don’t fill up on bread.” The game hasn’t even begun, so remember, you don’t have to finish your 14 ounce patty melt with fries, because trust me you won’t want to have to use the facilities at our 1st inning bar.
John: I always think "One beer, a big sandwich, and some fries. That'll set me up properly for the game." Then I order another beer. And another. And start seeing how other people's sandwiches taste. And eating their fries. I am history's greatest monster, and I cannot be stopped.
The Blarney Stone
Steve: The wildcard bar. We have pretty much set in stone bars 2 – 9 over the years, but we just can’t seem to find a consistent place to start it off right. Either the place has been closed, or inexplicably crowded with Pittsburgh Penguins fans, we’ve had to constantly rotate our lead-off hitter. So this year, I decided on taking a new approach. Let’s go to a bar that will almost certainly be dead and more importantly, crave our business. This means that we will have room to spread out get drinks with ease, and have bartenders damn happy to serve us. Either that or it will totally suck. But we are really only committed for like, 20 minutes, so get over it.
John: No idea. Steve's suggestion to break our streak of first-inning letdowns. But having been past this place a time or sixty, it looks like it smells like my college fraternity house the day after a party. Which, if you think about it, seems a good indication that they'll be ready to go for the early first pitch.
Steve: Relatively generic bar, but has always treated us well on the crawl with quick service and not pissed that we are there. Don’t really have much to say about it, as its one of those bars that is just there, that you don’t hate or love, which may be a good transition after potentially alienating the bourgeois in the 1st.
John: Last year's rain delay and Dark Horse closure means that we spent perhaps a good hour here, watching the Kentucky Derby and drinking shots with some middle-aged sweater-vest due in a Titleist hat. Frankly, the whole scene reminded me a lot of an airport bar. In a good way. If anything, we wish we could schedule each year's Crawl around minor rain delays. They're awesome.
Steve: For some reason, this tends to be where the wheels are starting to fall off and things get a little loosey goosey. If you aren’t part of the initial wave and it is the standard short 3rd inning, it can be extraordinarily difficult to get a beer here. Therefore, I cannot emphasize enough that you order a bottled beer and pay in cash.
John: The 2011 Crawl was a triumph. If for no other reason, than for the fact that after two years of frustration, I finally got to order and consume a beer at Merkle's. The innings are always fast when we're here, and there's always a manifestation of what I call Draft Beer Madness.
There is a sickness, a collective madness, that makes people walking through the door of Merkle's assume that ordering a draft beer with two bartenders on staff and 30 people in line behind you is a good idea. Let me disabuse you of that notion. You made my first two years a beerless hell. And so help you if you flash a Mastercard in my presence. I've been sharpening a souvenir scorecard pencil to into a fine blue and white shiv for such an occasion.
Steve: Ahh Mullen’s. The inevitable spot where the awkwardness has worn off and people start chanting and making friends. They also have an alley which will be optimal assuming that the weather holds – which so far is looking ideal in the high 60s and no rain.
John: We never seem to make it to the awesome alley-porch that fostered such a love for the place in our young hearts. But regardless, we pay respect to this place by way of hasty beer consumption. It's where we saw a young David Patton think that a bases-loaded 3-2 fastball in the zone to Albert Pujols was a good idea. Haven't seen him back since that year. It's also where I took off of work early to secure an alley table for Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. This is the warmest and fuzziest bar imaginable for me.
Steve: Let’s get silly. This quickly degenerates into a children’s party at Circus Playland with batting cages and skeeball, and fights to get the Chinese fingertraps and Laffy Taffys for you 27 tickets. This is also where we tend to start to lose people and they have to skip the next bar. Don’t be one of those people. I have completed the previous 3 years with having a beer at every bar – even while kicking John’s ass in the batting cages here. If I can do it – so can you.
John: Site of the annual Steve/John Batting Cage Challenge. With all the shit I plan to talk on Saturday, and with the insane beatdown I'm going to lay down in the cage, I fully expect to no longer be in Steve's wedding by the end of the day.