Sunday, January 5, 2014

And we're off...did someone say, bar crawl?

Ramblings Post #249
Do something different. Start the new year off with a bang. Let's try not to make those just words and phrases. It's time to hit the gym, cut out the sugar, and focus on the next step we're taking to get where we want to go. But...changes don't just go one way. Change the things you do to enjoy yourself, or at least try. Because you never know what you might enjoy. But if involves spiders or heights, keep it to yourself.

One of my old partners from back in the day hit me up a few days ago with the idea for a start of the New Year's Bar Crawl through Castleberry Hill to start off 2014 with a bang. I reminded him that this, first, is not New Orleans and second, although Atlanta appears to be in the south it really is just less north than a lot of places, as evidenced by the cool breeze that has a tendency to pop up this time of year. He swore it would be fun, sent out an invite on FB, and low and behold the party was arranged for Friday night.

Castleberry Hill, for those not from Atlanta (and those from Atlanta who only live in the suburbs) is one of the cities hot new districts, with lots of small restaurants, bars, wine shops and lounges. Whereas most clubs in Atlanta strive to be Super clubs - with massive dance floors, vast rooms, and crowds pressing to get in, this area is at a different pace. Most of the spots are the size of large Starbucks. They are neighborhood spots, designed to attract the residents of the expensive condos and town houses that they were placed near. But, it's still developing so, for a couple of the stops planned, it was not a hop skip and jump, but a fairly long little walk.

 Know this, cold as it is had there been as much as 1 mph of wind, I would have stayed home.

Instead I dressed semi-warmly, on the idea that I would be in and out all night, found some gloves I knew I had and headed out to the first stop, a spot called Smoke Ring. It's a chic little BBQ spot at the north end of the district, all woods and rustic, but very open and bright. And bereft of any revelers. I was the first to arrive. Please note that at this point I was twenty minutes late. I contemplated the idea that if nobody showed up by the time we were scheduled to move onto the next spot, I would simply order dinner and go home.

A few minutes later people started showing up, in droves. What I thought might be ten people at best
quickly turned into a group of twenty to twenty five. Spanky popped up, as well as few Game Night originals, and some shots were quickly ordered. The original plan was to show up at the various spots, well, invade might have been a better term at this point, get a libation and move on forty five minutes later. Although late starting, the crawl proceeded right on schedule, pulling out in a long line of chilly participants at eight forty five sharp.

The next stop was a little burger+sushi spot called Bottle Rocket, a brisk two block stroll south. It's a perfect little neighborhood spot, if say, you're hanging out with a friend or want a quick jaunt out with the significant other. If you're in bar crawl, the previous use of the word "little" is very appropriate. After stepping in for a few minutes and getting a feel for the place, I decided that my time would be better spent on the sidewalk, meeting people not with our party. While a few of crawl members who had missed out on a drink at the first stop got a quick one, I met with members of the band who had just played and few other fun characters.

Because of the growing crowd, a newly met trio and I decided to, scout ahead, yes, that's it, scout ahead at our next stop - The Pearl - to check things out. This is was probably the best spot on the route to eat, as a delicious aroma of seafood greeted us upon entering. We got some drinks, and then settled into the semi-private room in the back to wait for our comrades, who when they arrived a few minutes later now probably numbered closer to forty. We caroused, we met new revelers, we probably all told multiple lies.

Now, more closely bonded, my trio and I made our way south one door to the 255 Tapas Lounge, the spot where many years ago I figured out that there is no such thing as a quick jaunt out.  This another spot that was ready for us on arrival, opening a second bar in the back in preparation. Moments after my arrival, the bulk of us finally swarmed inside a large warm tent keeping the back patio habitable. 

Blu Cantina, formerly M Bar was the next locale, and it was conveniently located right next door.  Upon entering I realized that they'd only changed the name, and nothing else. It was and still is the about the size of a two bedroom apartment. And since it was already kind of full, our arrival only cranked things up to crazy. It was here Spanky found some guy...I have no idea of his name...some guy willing to buy shots to infinity. At one point I think he bought fifteen shots, one for everybody she pointed out of the crowd. This meant it was time for me to move away from the bar. Because the place was so small and our crowd now so large, the atmosphere suddenly seemed a bit more "rowdy" for some reason. This is the one spot I was happy to move on from.

Our last stop was next door at the Spinning Pie, a spot that looked for all intents and purposes like a scene from a old school rap video. All that were missing were bomber jackets and rope gold chains. Seriously, two dancers on the bar and camera and we would have all been on BET. Maybe it's just a Friday night thing, I don't know. Here though, I dialed it back and shared a pizza with some fellow revelers - old school FAMUans - to get my mind right. And because we it was the last stop, then, in the small space near the door, Spanky and her gang of friends made a dance floor appear. Ah, grand attempts at recaptured youth. I finally abandoned them to their grooving the night away probably around 1am or so, which is not to shabby for an old man.

I like stuff like this, new and different things, which involved exercise and camaraderie, with the nip with new friends and old serving as the carrot to entice us all. When I have more time in the Spring hopefully I'll be able to do this all again.

Barkeep, I'll need some hair dye and the address of a good barber. 

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