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: March 26, 2009 - 8:13 am
Check it out lush-lifers, I recently read on Page Six that Justin Timberlake is now bringing sexy back to spirits -- in addition to his music, acting, and fashion design careers, it's rumored he's starting an interest in developing a tequila business. He recently toured a distillery in Mexico and has several samples. One wonders what the agave liquor would be called.... "Senorita?" "Worm in a Bottle?" (get it, like the ahem, thing-in-a-box skit?).
Either way, it might give a whole new meaning to some of his song titles, specifically "What Goes Around" (because I've had a few of those experiences with tequila... it definitely comes back around the next morning), and "Never Again" (because that, of course, is what I say every time I take a shot of Patron).
Posted: March 24, 2009 - 11:06 am
Just when you thought your iPhone couldn't be any cooler, a new feature appears. This one is particularly useful to cocktail and spirit-lovers of all types and techie nerds. Online blog and e-newsletter guru Ardent Spirits has joined forces with flipndrink.com to create an application you can access on your iPhone or iPod to find cocktail recipes, neat and random tidbits, tips from drink experts and all things spirited. It also has awesomely detailed photographs of each cocktail combination. Find more information at flipndrink.com, and Ardent Spirits.
Posted: March 16, 2009 - 1:24 pm
What's up Anchorage? This morning I drove into work and could see a glimmer of daylight and became ridiculously excited that Spring is on its way. And, we have St. Patrick's Day on Tuesday to herald in the celebration, whoopee! To enhance your impending holiday joy, here's a quick "how to" on making your own green beer, complete with a demonstration video from WikiHow: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Green-Beer.
Also, one of my favorite cocktail and wine bloggers, Natalie MacLean, just posted a new feature on her site that gives you the skinny on which wine, beer, cocktail or spirit goes best with your dinner or any type of food.
Posted: March 13, 2009 - 2:58 pm
Some holidays make you inwardly cringe with past memories. The fireworks-inspired burn mark on your right thumb, years of disappointing seating at the "kids" table, and embarrassing events involving elaborate costumes and strong gusts of wind. Some holidays approach with the kind of sly, knowing twinkle in their eye that makes you want to extend your arms and welcome them with a vigorous handshake and a pint. One of these holidays is St. Patrick's Day.
The holiday was first celebrated in America in 1737 to celebrate the custom of honoring an Irish saint. Some theorists pose that the popularity of the holiday -- complete with parades, shamrocks and beer -- is enhanced by the idea that revelers are also heralding the entrance of spring and all its green glory. Peggy Monaghan, member of the Irish Club of Alaska and director of the Irish Roots/Alaska Branches Living History project, said, "My favorite thing is the fact that when you make it to St. Pat's, you're near enough to spring that you can taste it."
Posted: March 11, 2009 - 10:29 am
Hey party peeps, I was mulling over future column ideas the other day and thought I'd pose a question to my esteemed (and highly intelligent while intoxicated) public. I'm in the market for bar suggestions that I haven't covered in the past. Do you have a favorite watering hole that's been overlooked by me, the masses, or just anyone who doesn't wear leather? Is there a hot spot I've been missing? I put it upon you, dear reader, to let me know. This week I'm heading to the newly opened Spenard Roadhouse (the old Hogg Bros. breakfast staple on Northern Lights just before Spenard). If anyone's been there and has some advice or information, I'd love to know. Thanks for reading!
Posted: March 2, 2009 - 9:10 am
Oh, snap! National Margarita Day was last week (Feb. 22) and we missed it! OK, maybe some of you savvy spirit-lovers out there were clinking glasses with stems shaped like mini cacti on Sunday evening, but I missed it and I'm blaming the fact I was under the weather with a bad cold, and the obvious lack of Internet publicity.
Luckily, the margarita is one of the world's most malleable, adaptable cocktails and thus the holiday to celebrate it can be just as adaptable. As in, celebrated a few days later. It's strange enough that the day falls smack in the middle of winter, but ... then again, what beats the slushy, snowy doldrums better than a festive summery cocktail? The traditional margarita can be served on the rocks or blended, but as cocktails.about.com points out, you can pretty much make a margarita if you have tequila and some kind of sweet and sour mixture. And of course there are an abundance of fruity and flavored options out there to enjoy. My picks? Head to Las Margaritas (yes, I realize the name gives it away) if you're going out for some of the best margaritas in town (541 W Dimond Blvd.). For a fruity, fresh treat, head to La Mex for their special blended prickly pear margarita (2550 Spenard Road).
Posted: February 27, 2009 - 8:31 am
With the entire nation in a money slump, one of the easiest ways to stimulate your own personal party economy is to have a little fun. Here are a few ways to enjoy the nightlife vibe on the cheap.
Snacks "a la gratis" are great way to save money and make you feel better while spending it on drinks. Here's a lineup of free nibbles you can get at venues around town: popcorn at Darwin's, Chilkoot Charlie's and Eddie's Sports Bar, hot dogs at the Crossroads Lounge, chili at Al's Alaskan Inn, table munchies (both fancy and filling) at the Crow's Nest, free chips and salsa at nearly any Mexican restaurant and, at most upscale restaurants, free bread (swallow your pride and ask; it's worth it). You can also say it's your birthday to get more free stuff if you're really desperate.
Posted: February 13, 2009 - 1:50 pm
To most of us, the word romantic tends to evoke hues of pink and red, soft music, candles and other culturally delegated items involved in the art of seduction. In February the idea of romance evokes even more than the usual cliches as Valentine's Day inspires us to buy gifts for our loved ones. Big, extravagant, heart-shaped gifts.
Stores are stocked with the kind of stuff you'd never buy any other time of year: fluffy, watery-eyed stuffed animals, heart-shaped pumpkins and singing and dancing miniature teddy bears wearing sunglasses. It's enough to make a true romantic want to vomit candy hearts.
Posted: February 13, 2009 - 7:59 am
This Valentine's Day spice up your love life with some clever cocktails from cocktails.about.com. Whether you're celebrating with someone special, looking to find Mr. or Ms. Right, or getting ready for a "burn everything from my ex" bonfire, these drinks (some complete with aphrodisiac-laden ingredients) will be sure to soothe or satiate your mood. Salud!
The Blushing Geisha
(TY Ku sake liqueur is loaded with aphrodisiac qualities, making this light and scrumptious drink a great and unique choice)
Posted: January 30, 2009 - 12:28 pm
I can't believe I found a bar I had no idea existed, and it's frequented by some of the funkiest ladies I've met this side of a '70s disco movie. The Blue Line Pub is nestled upstairs in the Subway Sports Center (11111 O'Malley Centre Drive), where hockey players, coaches, fans and -- my personal favorite -- roller girls congregate to celebrate all things hard core.
I recently caught up with a few raging roller derby queens at a weekly practice. I thought such awesomely athletic ladies had an active wild side, and I was right.
Kendra "Salmon Ella" Galiano, 43, and Michelle "Loose Net Lolly" Hill, 38, enjoy India pale ale and sangria but like partying in the parking lot outside the sports center just as much as going out to the bars. Jenny "Blitzkrieg Baker" Baker, 26, and Melissa "Nautical Nuisance" Bunch, 29, often partake in pitchers of IPA at the Blue Line, but only because it doesn't stock Pabst Blue Ribbon. (Tsk, tsk, Blue Line!)
Posted: January 16, 2009 - 3:08 pm
I love Alaska winters: It's the time of year where every morning you wake up and grumble that you have to start your car, then do it again when you leave work from a frigid parking lot, vowing to buy a remote start next year.
In an attempt to stimulate the festive atmosphere in Anchorage during arguably a most difficult time to party, I've come up with local, personal and habitual suggestions to get the fire back into your step -- or at least get your core body temperature back up to normal levels. I dedicate this column to my sister so I will now have a reply ready when she next says, "I don't want to go out, it's freezing and I'm already in my footie pajamas." Ha!
Posted: January 15, 2009 - 12:37 pm
Stuck for something to do this weekend? Don't despair, party people, even though the roads are as slick as the area beneath a two-year-old's nose – there are still events to attend, fun to be had, and cabs to call so you don't have to navigate the treacherous highways (because you shouldn't be doing that anyway).
First, don't forget about the annual Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival, kicking off this weekend at (sigh) the Egan center. The event runs 5-10 p.m. on Friday and 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, with a special connoisseur session from 2-5 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Tickets are $30 for regular admission, $40 for the connoisseur session and can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com. Be prepared to stand in line.
Posted: January 2, 2009 - 9:39 am
Nothing says "party" like the holidays. A holiday is a day free from work that you spend at leisure in celebration of a particular event. And leisure means time for both sleeping in and extending the festivities the night before.
So, to extend the post-celebratory air just a bit longer, here are some interesting holiday tidbits I found. Some of them will inspire you to buy more noisemakers, and some will just make you wonder who has the time to come up with random days in the first place.
First, according to one holiday-themed Web site, January is national hobby, hot tea and oatmeal month. OK. The most famous (and infamous for some party people) celebratory day is New Year's Eve, which is already over but no doubt still ringing in the heads of overzealous Auld-Lang-Syner's this morning.
Posted: December 31, 2008 - 10:21 am
Sigh. I knew it. I tried to plan this year and ended up in the same boat. Too many options, too little time, only one stroke of midnight. And, to be honest, there are many more cool things going on this year than I could have hoped for: a U2 cover band, a rockin' dance party, some awesome folk and string music and more. But I'm pouting because my midnight smooch is out of town and my party vein is thinking, "Do I want to try and navigate the icy roads to find someone's house party or should I just get Taco King, rent the fourth season of BSG and toast 2009 in comfortable pajamas?" It's a strange conundrum.
Posted: December 30, 2008 - 11:19 am
Happy Almost New Year, nightlifers! If you're like me, you tend to enjoy the bubbly, effervescent tingle of champagne on your taste buds especially at this time of year. To celebrate and honor the fizzy vixen of vintages, I've found some recipes from cocktails.about.com and listed my favorites below. If you're not in the mood to collect various ingredients, just do my tried and true favorite: a take on the Kir Royale. Most house parties won't have creme de cassis, but it's likely they'll have some kind of fruit juice. If they have cranberry or any type of red punch, you're in luck. Mix a drop with your champagne glass and toast the night away! Salud, Anchorage, and happy New Year.
Posted: December 19, 2008 - 2:53 pm
For several nightlife aficionados, bowling is an obvious solution to the question of what to do when you want something cheap, easy and near a bar.
Until now I had never given a thought to combining bowling with another nightlife activity. For example, a video game or -- wait for it -- karaoke. Luckily, Center Bowl did.
Let's break this dynamic nightlife duo down. Karaoke: a must for any individual on the party circuit, whether he likes it or not. Bowling: a sport in which one can excel like a drunken savant. The combination of these two is a must-do challenge that held unforeseen party possibilities. As my companion mentioned, bowling and karaoke go together as perfectly as "kicking butt and taking names."
Posted: December 18, 2008 - 3:05 pm
If you're gearing up to head out of town or welcome family members or guests to your home, it's the perfect occasion to whip up some fancy, fun and fantastically Christmas-y cocktails to either welcome or thank your holiday comrades. Some of these make great gift ideas too, for the hard-to-shop-for person. Buy them a nice bottle of the main ingredient and add some of the fixings into the box (eggnog, champagne, etc.). Find more recipes and tips at cocktails.about.com
Posted: December 8, 2008 - 11:47 am
If you're a nightlife practitioner or patron of parties about town, you've probably been to most, if not all, Anchorage hot spots. Yet asking around led to the realization that it can be a tossup whether most partygoers have traipsed the interior of the outrageously yellow-signed Al's Alaskan Inn.
And why not? It's been around since the '70s and is literally an Old Seward icon. But it's also a nightclub along the lines that Chilkoot Charlie's is a nightclub -- they're both bars, but they're both the kind of bar you don't really take someone on a first date. (Unless, of course, the real first date happened the night before.)
Posted: November 24, 2008 - 10:18 am
What does James Bond drink in the new movie "Quantum of Solace"? Same thing he drank in "Casino Royale," according to cocktails.about.com. The Vesper Martini is a special creation from Ian Fleming and his quixotic super-spy, which includes:
"Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
- "Casino Royale," Chapter 7
Gordon's is the gin, and Kina Lillet is a dry French vermouth. The story goes that Bond named the drink the Vesper after his love interest in the novel. Either way, if you want to chat up Daniel Craig, this is a good route to take.
Posted: November 21, 2008 - 9:51 am
Loyal readers, enjoy. And turn green with envy at how cool my job is. ;) Just kidding. Mostly.
Though it doesn't have the established tradition of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, the Great Alaska Shootout of Drinks enters its second year with a sensational field of adult beverages contending for champion status.
This year's Sweet 16 of libations welcomed everything from the tried and true to the "out there" in a shootout of liquid mettle that ended with one drink standing and the rest sent to the bench.
The judges in the 2008 Shootout of Drinks included Nightlife columnist Jessica Bowman, beer columnist Dawnell Smith and bartending blogger/mixologist Keith Saunders.