Lush Life

An Anchorage bar-hopper's essential guide to the latest nightlife action and coolest hot-spots.

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What the Guinness? - 9/2/2011 8:43 am

Weekend Update and Whiskey Tips - 8/25/2011 8:53 am

Cocktails for a Cause - 7/13/2011 10:26 am

It's Summer Time! - 6/1/2011 7:51 am

Happy Earth Day! - 4/21/2011 9:49 am

Best Cocktails of 2010 - 4/1/2011 12:22 pm

St. Patrick's Day = Hooray! - 3/17/2011 9:46 am

Kenai Brewing Co. Releases Canned Beer! - 3/9/2011 12:05 pm

Lights out for Tuesday Night Fights and the Junction?

Looks like another venue is shut down -- this one in the valley.

The bingo hall at 715 Parks Highway has hosted weekly Tuesday Night Fights for the past year now. And just two short weeks ago, the managers there branched out, opening the joint Saturday nights and calling it The Junction, offering an all-ages, booze-free venue for rock acts.

Alas, negotiations with the landlord fell short, leaving the Tuesday fights and the venue the Junction in the dust. The Worden family, which ran the place, isn’t giving up. They’re in the market for new space, and plan to continue hosting boxing matches, and some music shows too.

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Hurry up and date

Looking for a romantic partner? Club @ is hosting a speed dating event from 7 to 10 p.m,. Saturday, Oct. 14.

How it works: You spend $25 to spend time with however many potential partners enlist. You get five minutes to chat up each possible mate, then switch. All the while there's music and food -- and of course, a shot at love.

That $25 counts toward your cover to Club @'s party later that night, and a portion of the evening's overall take goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Feel a connection with someone? Speed-daters are encouraged to linger afterward and seek out those they clicked with. Dance the night away at Club @, or wander further down this Jewel Lake strip mall to the Trophy Lounge, for a quieter, more laid-back atmosphere.

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Irish style arrives downtown

It's about time downtown Anchorage had an Irish pub. Not that we have some disproportionately huge, and thus deserving, Irish population; it's just that those Irish know how to live it up.

McGinley's Pub, at the corner of Seventh Avenue and G Street, embraces that concept and, in its few weeks of existence, has proved to be up to the challenge.

The bar opened quietly a few weeks ago, without much advertising or to-do. Yet it was pretty much packed each weekend. Clearly the town is hungry for this. Party people crave a place to gobble corned beef and pot pies and guzzle Guinness and single-malt scotches, not to mention enjoy Irishmen crooning with reel-delivering strummers afoot, fiddles and hammered dulcimers in hand.

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Rock on, Players

The Fly By Night Club is dead, just a sweet and sleazy memory now, but a rocker's haven has sprung up in its place.

The Players House of Rock opened a few weeks ago, literally hours after Mr. Whitekeys and the Fly By Night gang abandoned ship. Since that debut, the Players crew has put in a new stage, new dance floor and given a new feel to a Spenard institution.

I walked into Players expecting little change, but it's a definite departure from Fly By Night days. Little remains of the previous tacky-but-touching memorabilia and Spamalicious stuff that slathered the walls.

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The Pit in Seward

If I could avoid messing with decades of tradition, I'd change the name of The Pit Bar. The moniker simply doesn't do this roadside joint justice.

Sure, The Pit's hardly a palace. Set just outside Seward city limits, it's roomy and packed with bar games, boasts three decks and a gigantic, scenic backyard, and has a capable staff serving affordable beers and sturdy drinks.

A group of us visited last weekend, as part of the annual Blues Train -- worth some ink itself. An

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Tasting for a good cause

Have a hole in your weekend calendar? Downtown smoke-free bar and restaurant Platinum Jaxx is staging an evening of fun, food & wine to benefit blood cancer research Saturday (Sept. 30) night. For $20, you sample Toasted Head vinos and nibble complimentary finger foods, while bidding on silent auction items.

The shindig starts at 5 p.m. and runs to 9 p.m., and is hosted by Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. Tickets are available at the door. For more information, call Platinum Jaxx at 278-5299.

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Party? Sir, yes sir!

Skipping out on the Killswitch Engage show tonight at the Egan Center? Then skip on over to Club @ on Jewel Lake Road where Zero Mass Theory Productions is hosting a send-off for Anchorage's soon-to-be-deployed military peeps.

A whole new cadre of Anchorage-based military personnel ship out at the beginning of October. The least you could do is buy one of them a drink, right? The party runs from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Providing the tunes: Local legend Dj Hooker, Simplicate, Spliff and the beautiful Mariko Sarafan.

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Tip now, save later

Here's a tip: No matter how broke you are, no matter how drunk you are, tip, tip, tip.

Tips provide a critical portion of income for many bartenders, servers, coat checkers and cabdrivers -- the hot-spot helpers who make your night go round. With your senses dulled and facing a daunting tab, low-balling is tempting. But it's one of the biggest mistakes barhoppers make.

Example: One recent night, an alienated friend -- eager to make nice -- bought the group a round of varied and complicated shots that totaled nearly $100. The willing bartenders scrambled to deliver; she tipped just $5.

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Wanted: Coordinated hotties

Charlie's Dolls, the resident go-go troupe for Chilkoot Charlie's, is hosting auditions at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26. Basically you get paid to put on a high-energy show while wearing platform boots or heels. No nudity. The dolls dance in cages and on platforms at Koots most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on the southside.

The Charlie's Dolls want "fit young ladies," 21 and over, "who move well and know how to entertain a crowd." Auditions are private but you can bring an escort if it improves your comfort level. Wear boots or heels, and dress to impress, so says the job posting.

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AK Soul gets scandalous

Bounce to Chilkoot Charlie's tonight for AK Soul's third annual Scandal Party featuring DJ Systematic and DJ Solo, the high-energy go-go dancers of Charlie's Dolls, and a pack of lovely, scantily clad ladies from Run to the Sun tanning salon.

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VivaVoom saves your Saturday

Indulge in a night of naughty hijinks and slinky sexiness this Saturday with the fabulous women of VivaVoom Burlesque.

The show is a benefit for Out North, Anchorage's 22-year-old alternative arts organization. Founders Jay Brause's and Gene Dugan are bowing out, with Michael Huelsman taking the administrative helm as Out North's executive director. What better way to celebrate the transition than with edgy, bawdy comedy and rollicking dance numbers by scantily clad babes?

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Ready to rumble?

Thursday kicks off the annual season of the ever-popular Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center. As the American flag is hoisted to a electric-guitar version of the National Anthem, the tone is set. This rowdy Anchorage tradition features boxers of all genders and skill levels bringing the fans pure smack-down, smash-up, sweaty entertainment. Bikini-clad ring girls slink around, smiling slyly, occasionally tossing prizes to the loudest and most boistrous spectators.

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My Jeff Corwin experience

I walk into Pioneer Bar on Friday night to meet the girls, who are giddy and giggly about a certain familiar-looking patron standing at the end of the bar:
Jeff Corwin
, Animal Planet hottie and wildlife aficionado. "No way," I said. "Yes way," said the bartenders: They checked his ID just to be sure. I'm not shy, and my girlfriends asked me to go say hi to the famous face and find out what had brought him to our beloved Pio.

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Play that funky music -- please?

DJs spin the soundtracks of our nighttime outings, and sometimes we just can't resist suggesting a song for the mix. But getting that all-powerful tune master to acquiesce can prove tricky.

Recently, a bachelorette posse at a downtown club begged to hear AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." The DJ said flashing flesh would advance their cause, so one of the buzzed babes bared breasts. Turns out she got played, not the song: The DJ never spun the time-tested tune.

On another night at a different club, a girlfriend slipped a DJ $5 and rattled off a long list of songs before finally naming a number he had in his crates. He eventually played it — but cut it off after 30 seconds. She left feeling jilted.

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Pub Quiz is on

We hit Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse last night for the first night of Pub Quiz, the bar's weekly trivia game that runs Tuesdays until next summer when the tourists return.

All the teams to beat are back -- the Bipolar Bears, the Evil Empire and the brainiacs of Lawyers, Guns & Money. We didn't win, but we made a respectable showing.

Who wrote "Under the Greenwood Tree?" Thomas Hardy! Which Greek nymph vanished only to leave her voice behind? Echo! (And no, we didn't know that, but our educated guess proved correct.)

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Q&A with Conan

One of Pioneer Bar's almost-perfect bartenders has departed — but he didn't go far.

You can now find Conan Dolezal at Club Oasis, a three-tiered party palace generating increasing buzz since the recent start of its massive overhaul. The basement is a dance club, the ground floor a showcase for bands, the top floor a mellow sporty spread.

It's pretty much the opposite of Pio, an established downtown watering hole that rarely books bands or stages come-hither gimmicks — basically because it can. Pioneer is packed every weekend.

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i <3 the 80s

DJ DigiTronic aka J.J. Tranquilla aka Dolph LundgrenDJ DigiTronic aka J.J. Tranquilla aka Dolph Lundgren

Singer/songwriter/DJ J.J. Tranquilla is hosting his “greatest '80s dance party yet” Friday night at Chilkoot Charlie's in the recently revamped Russian Room.

What to expect? J.J. shares these tidbits: “As usual, it will be an orgy of '80s pop hits, where dressing the era is encouraged. This time I've added a twist: a retro/modern fashion show. With the help of Hot Topic, I've outfitted six hot models with fish-net, pastel, and any other recycled '80s fashion currently available to today's consumer. I'll roll the models out for a brief fashion show during the event.”

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Get smart

It's the news all boozy brainiacs have waited for: Pub Quiz returns to Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse next Tuesday, Sept. 12.

I just got the call from the quiz mistress herself, the sassy Cyndi Ramirez. She promises another rowdy season of the popular trivia nights, and teases, “There might be a few surprises in store. I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve - trust me on that.”

All games begin at 8 p.m. and usually end by 10:30 p.m. It's free to play and your team can consist of as many smart friends as you can smoosh around a table or booth. There are two rules: No shouting out the answer, ever, and no phoning up friends for info. That's cheating.

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Bigger Bitoz caters to the big kids

Teen hive Bitoz Pizzeria is rolling out the welcome mat for the big kids, but the new setup isn't without wrinkles.

The original Bitoz on Fourth Avenue courted the hard-rocking teen set and provided some of the best music shows in town. Despite that, I visited exactly once -- the room was narrow, sweaty-hot and choked with moshing high-schoolers.

And there was no bar.

After four years of increasing popularity, it was time for roomier digs, Bitoz owner Al Sakata decided. I learned Bitoz was relocating down the street (333 W. Fourth Ave.) and promising a bar. The new venue can pack in 500 partiers, which should make it easier to lure national acts that hesitated to play the 200-capacity room.

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Bernie's show

Sleep MachineSleep Machine
This just in: by Katie Pesznecker

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