An Anchorage bar-hopper's essential guide to the latest nightlife action and coolest hot-spots.
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
Posted: October 15, 2007 - 5:19 pm
Sportswriter Jim Murray wrote, "Hockey is murder on ice." Sounds like a good time! After all, what goes together better than ice and a drink? Hold the murder.
Hockey games pack the rare combination of drinking, eating, good-looking guys, adrenaline rushes and clanging cowbells into a single venue. For Anchorage party people, that venue is Sullivan Arena. As the hockey season arrives, here are some reasons why going to a game is one of the best ways to score a great night.
Food and drink
The Alaska Aces give you the option of sitting on the wet side, which means you can drink in your seat and the bar is nearby. Also, everything is served in a plastic container and you're surrounded by concrete, so dropping your drink and making a mess isn't an issue. There's a variety of beer, wine and wine coolers (from Bud Light to Red Hook to Kenwood Yalupa) ranging from $5.75 to $6.25. There are also people who will come to your seat to sell you a beer in case you don't want to miss any action.
Posted: October 10, 2007 - 5:28 pm
Got port? Check out these tips from the Washington Post for some autumn enjoyment.
October is Apple Month, Caramel Month and Dessert Month, with specific dates designated as National Moldy Cheese Day (Oct. 9), National Nut Day (Oct. 22) and National Chocolate Day (Oct. 28). As those are all great matches with port, there's clearly no better month to enjoy a bottle. Here's how:
- Store port someplace cool, even the refrigerator. Serve at about 65 degrees.
- Serve 2 or 3 ounces, or about half a usual wine pour. Use a regular wineglass to allow for swirling and sniffing.
- How fast should you drink that bottle? Because port is a fortified wine, it should last longer than table wines do. If you like the taste of a freshly opened bottle, the sooner you finish it, the better. However, some people like the way port develops flavor over time as it is exposed to air. We've had bottles of aged tawny port that have been delicious as long as several months after being opened.
Posted: October 5, 2007 - 5:11 pm
Hold the phone, party peeps -- there's a party tonight that sounds like a stein of a good time. If you're looking for some pretzel, bratwurst and brew, head to the German Club of Anchorage's Oktoberfest , 7 p.m today and Saturday at the Egan Center. Tickets are $15, call 346-2542 for more information.
-- by Jessica Bowman
Posted: October 4, 2007 - 4:36 pm
“Monday Night Football” — these three little words cause bars everywhere to gear up with an adult Candy Land of prizes, food and drink deals, and more for frenzied football fans. But outside of this extended-weekend debauchery, what is the appeal of going out to watch MNF?
Surely, fans — mostly men — go because they’re passionate about the sport. But which sport? The one with the helmets, or the one that involves beer-fueled aggression, young spokeswomen plying their wares and a safe blanket of guilt-free testosterone?
I asked male friends and colleagues about the MNF party scene: What compels them to head to the nearest watering hole for something they can get at home? Answer: The shared experience of finding similar team loyalties and joining in the general melee of booing, cheering loudly, yelling at refs or the guys at the table next to you, or crying. You can’t really do that by yourself and get as much out of it.
Posted: September 28, 2007 - 5:47 pm
Okay, party peeps - Saturday marks the season-opening show for the Anchorage Symphony. The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts is a fabulous concert venue and just a few strides from a variety of downtown bar-hopping locations. If you're headed to the symphony, my top recommendations are as follows:
Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse (610 W. Sixth Ave., 276-2337): If you go there before the show (which starts at 8 p.m.), chances are you'll find a table. The food is good and moderately priced, and it won't matter if you have that last beer - you literally only have about one block to walk to get to the show on time.
Posted: September 28, 2007 - 5:45 pm
Quiz question: What nightlife veteran will no longer be hosting the wildly popular trivia night with a side of sarcastic humor at Humpy's?
If you don't already know, try to hold back the heartache. It's true -- Cyndi Ramirez is departing Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse after 13 years.
"Pub Quiz is one of the hardest things to leave," she said with a sad smile as we sat in a booth at her new place of employment -- La Mex. Arriba!
Ramirez will be in charge of promotions and management of the Spenard La Mex, then likely the Dimond location by the new year. "It's a new challenge," she said. "It's exciting."
Posted: September 20, 2007 - 4:35 pm
Previously, when I thought about vodka, I immediately thought about what to get to mix it with so I didn’t have to taste it. Then I met Keith Saunders, bartender extraordinaire at the Crow’s Nest, for some in-depth info on the drink of the czars. Now when I think of vodka, I think yum.
Ramping up for a season of wine and spirit tastings, Saunders and chef de cuisine Robert Kinneen are starting off with a home run: vodka, the “neutral spirit.” We’ve all had it in one drink or another, but how many of us have truly appreciated it?
I never considered where the vodka in my drink comes from. Grey Goose, for example, is French. Sacre bleu! And did you know vodka can be made from anything containing starch or sugar, including molasses, grain and even rice? These days 99.5 percent of vodkas come from grains instead of potatoes. So when you attend a vodka tasting, use the words “bready” and “yeasty” to sound sophisticated. The more you know, the more fun it is to drink.
Posted: September 19, 2007 - 4:08 pm
I've had a reader suggestion to possibly do a "round-up" of venues around Anchorage showing Monday Night Football. This means the brew, the food and the bevy of prizes and promotional give-aways offered at various locations.
But it's also going to mean the dirty truth about whether you can get a seat, whether you can see the TV if you do, and whether you'd be able to convince your girlfriend to go there to watch the game with you.
I'm hoping to do this in the next few weeks, and I'll be hopping around town to the spots I know - but if you want to make sure I stop by and check out what your place has going on, post a comment on the blog or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have something really cool, new or different, be sure to let me know. Thanks Anchorage.
Posted: September 13, 2007 - 5:18 pm
Each summer tourists flock to the Midtown kitsch campfest that includes the Wild Berry Theater, Wild Berry Products (5225 Juneau St., 562-8858) and the Sourdough Mining Co. (5200 Juneau St., 563-2272). And there's a reason busloads debark and divulge the contents of their wallets -- it's like Vegas, only with chocolate and smoked salmon.
What's the allure for those who catch their own fish? Is it worth fighting the throngs, or should regulars wait for the low season?
To find out I went to a Scared Scriptless show last weekend at the Wild Berry Theater. The nearby Peanut Farm (5227 Old Seward Highway, 563-3283) seemed a good place to start the night -- friendly and welcoming to locals and tourists alike. An Ellis Island for Wild Berry world.
Posted: September 11, 2007 - 12:12 pm
Word around the barstool tells us that Cyndi Ramirez, 13-year veteran and manager of Humpy's and SubZero Lounge, is leaving her post this week.
Her last day will be Friday, and we'll have an update soon on where she's headed, so check back for details.
In a mass e-mail to friends and associates, Ramirez said, "I leave Humpy’s very proud of all that we have accomplished over the years and have nothing but fond memories and well wishes for the future."
Worried about who will do Trivia Night? You're not the only one. So far it seems the decision for her replacement is up in the air, Ramirez said.
Posted: September 5, 2007 - 6:10 pm
Hey fellow bar-hoppers and club-boppers, welcome to the jungle juice. This is your new Last Call columnist and Lush Life blogger, blogging on. My column this week is below for your perusal, but, I wanted to add something. I wanted to say that I’ll also be your Amaretto aficionado. Your luminary of Laphroaig. Your chieftain of champagne. Your guru of Grey Goose. Your patron of Patron.
OK, yes I went a little crazy with the alliterations, but I can't help it. There are a million types of liquor you can match with witty nicknames. Well, at least several dozen, anyway. But if you've got a good one, let me know, because I'm going to try and add them into as many columns and blogs I can. Plus, it's a fun way to start a conversation while waiting for a drink.
Posted: August 30, 2007 - 2:47 pm
Don't miss the first post from the new Last Call columnist and Lush Life blogger!
-- by Play staff
Posted: July 23, 2007 - 5:33 pm
Sure, you know all the bartenders, free snacks and club kids on the scene, but can you write? The coolest job in Anchorage -- nightlife columnist for Play magazine -- is officially open and we want to see if you've got the goods to carry the column. Interested? Send three column ideas and a few paragraphs of prose to Play editor Josh Niva at email@example.com. Put "Last Call solicit" in the subject line. Cheers!
-- by Play staff
Posted: July 5, 2007 - 5:35 pm
Downtown's newest bar is 12,000 square feet of chic potential that exists thanks to the dreams of a 33-year-old certified boat inspector named Joe Graham.
Graham, born and raised in Anchorage, loves a fine meal. He also enjoys the nightlife scene. But for some time, he felt downtown lacked a destination where he could enjoy all of these elements under one roof. So he decided to open one himself.
Say hello to the new Anchor Pub and Club on West Fourth Avenue.
When Anchor's menu debuts -- within a week, Graham promised -- it will feature upscale pub food with an Alaska twist, created by chef Hannah Robertson, formerly of Southside Bistro. Expect to see crab, halibut and even a sought-after Kobe beef burger.
Posted: June 19, 2007 - 3:18 pm
A few truths:
There is no such thing as "a good drunk driver."
If you think you're "probably OK to drive," you're probably not.
A designated driver is a sober person, not the most sober person.
And if you drink and drive, you are setting yourself up for jail time, car confiscation, a criminal record, court dates, community service, alcohol remediation classes and lots and lots of fines.
Those fines will cost a lot more than a cab ride home. Especially when some cab companies will haul your drunken self home for free. In some cases, they'll even bring your car along, too.
It's called the Off the Road program, and you can read all about it below. Clip and save this piece, keep it in your wallet or purse and remember to read it when your boozy brain is tempted by the open road.
Posted: June 19, 2007 - 3:14 pm
Mike Gordon opened Chilkoot Charlie's 36 years ago, but it wasn't his first foray into the bar world.
Gordon previously co-owned the Bird House -- a goofy roadside bar that broke hearts when it burned in 1996.
Gordon later rebuilt a replica of the Bird House at Koot's, adding yet another dimension to Anchorage's best-known party palace. Koot's variety keeps people coming back, Gordon said. He also credits solid staff, fair prices and fun entertainment.
Gordon, 64, recently talked with me about the legacy that is Chilkoot Charlie's:
Posted: June 14, 2007 - 4:43 pm
Seasoned scenesters are always seeking the best boozy bang for their buck, and that's why the bar at Sea Galley has been a pre-bar-hopping hot spot for years.
Known as Gilligan's, it's a big, roomy bar with plenty of space for you and your friends and your friends' friends to pull up a stool and enjoy drinks and nibbles before a night on the town.
The cocktail concoction that has long lured liquor lovers: the Alaskan Ice Tea.
Recently, the Tea was one of the three alcoholic beverages to tie in a Play reader poll for the best adult beverage in Anchorage. It's so potent that the bar will sell you only two. Most people should call it good after one. Lightweights probably shouldn't attempt it alone. At least ask for two straws and bring a thirsty friend.
Posted: May 24, 2007 - 5:05 pm
It suddenly feels like summer, a seasonal turn that faithfully nudges me toward Bernie's Bungalow Lounge.
The downtown bar has evolved in recent years from cozy bungalow to party compound. And with creative, crafty Bernie Souphanavong at the helm, it's always a work in progress. One thing that never changes is the unparalleled outdoor area Bernie's offers. While plenty of bars sport sunny decks, the sprawling south-facing lawn and patio at Bernie's conquers all. On these Alaska summer evenings, it's the place to savor the late light and mellow out to the pacifying trickle of water fountains, while sipping a summery mojito ($7 to $8) or a fruity martini (about $7).
Posted: May 21, 2007 - 12:46 pm
At the downtown market last weekend, "Tundra" cartoonist Chad Carpenter told me he'd met people that day from as far away as New York, Rhode Island and Florida. It's proof: The tourists are coming! Soon, they will flood the streets -- and bars.
While we're happy to take their money, the truth is that some places are better when local flavor reigns. In the next few weeks, consider beating the crowds and checking out watering holes whose identities change when the annual batch of visitors arrives.
Not long ago, I ventured to "Seward, scored a "hotel room for far less the outrageous summer rates. We had a blast hitting bars on Fourth Avenue -- "the Seward hot spots," our cabbie called it. (Glacier Cab provides 24-hour service, 1-907-224-5678.)
Posted: May 10, 2007 - 3:29 pm
Had I not been searching for Suite 100, a new bar and grill in South Anchorage, I might have driven past it another 100 times.
That would have been my loss: Suite 100's lounge should be promptly added to your list of places to dine with friends or simply sip martinis before a night on the town. It fills a niche in South Anchorage, where bars of any kind are few and far between.
Suite 100 sits on the south side of Dimond Boulevard between the Seward and Old Seward highways. It's not a spot where you'd expect a bar. Neighbors in the brown building include a dentist, a podiatrist and an X-ray technician.