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: April 11, 2008 - 9:41 am
Henry’s Great Alaskan Restaurant has an interesting personality. It’s reminiscent of a chain restaurant — the inside still seems squeakilynew after more than two years in business, and it’s brightly lit, spacious and bustling.
But it’s also a rustic, unassuming and easy-to-appreciate place where cowboy hats and Carhartts are usually de rigueur.
And with the recent additions of live music, a dance floor and a liquor license, it’s a new nightlife scene.
When the restaurant opened, it was a beer-and-wine-only affair, and ownerRay LeGrue said the goal was to concentrate on dining before dancing.
Posted: April 9, 2008 - 3:19 pm
Perusing MySpace the other day, I noticed an awesome bulletin posted by Chilkoot Charlie's. In April, all women can get complimentary VIP Ladies Passes, which allow them free entry into Koot's all month.
Want one? Go to www.myspace.com/chilkootcharlies and make Koot's your friend if they're not already. If you can't find the bulletin or don't see one posted right away, call 272-1010 or send them a MySpace message about the offer. Once you receive the bulletin, print out the offer and then grab your official pass at the coat check inside Koot's. But this means you must pick up the pass before 8 p.m., especially on the weekends, so that you don't have to pay that initial cover to get in to grab your pass.
Posted: April 4, 2008 - 9:48 am
Since my column on the smoking ban in the March 14 issue of Play, I've received several comments online and even a typewritten letter. As a follow-up I've decided to touch on some of the more pertinent reader comments and attempt to keep the overall discussion going.
Whether you're missing those places with the smoky air that made you feel at home, or are rejoicing at clean-smelling watering holes, it affects each and every one of us. To begin, as of this posting, the results of an online poll read that 77 percent of voters loved the ban, 21 percent hated it, and 3 percent said "what smoking ban?" This was from a total of 39 voters.
Posted: April 3, 2008 - 5:39 pm
Still fired up about the smoking ban? Check out my
audio slideshow and tell me what you think.
-- by Jessica Bowman
Posted: April 3, 2008 - 1:58 pm
His T-shirt bears a quote widely (but erroneously) attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” His business card reads, “Christoff Jefferis: Slave to beer, booze and wine, i.e. Bar manager.”
Patrons may have recognized him as the mustachioed, sideburn-festooned man behind the bar at Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse. But his signature whiskers were recently shorn because Jefferis, 38, wanted to see his face again.
Jefferis has been in the hospitality business for 15 years, doing everything from washing dishes to serving to bartending. In four years at the psychedelic, salmon-themed beer den on Sixth Avenue, he has risen to bar manager.
Posted: March 28, 2008 - 2:21 pm
To follow-up on this week's column all about Spring flings, here are some tips for the ladies in the nightlife scene, from the March issue of Cosmopolitan, where top bartenders were asked to help decipher what a man's drink choice really means.
Ever get a free drink from "the gentleman at the bar?" Before you accept, take a look at what he's drinking.
Decode His Drink
Shot: Probably funny and eager to impress, don't expect him to stay long-term.
Mojito or blended drink: Perhaps on permanent vacation, this man will never be on time. And if you see an umbrella in his drink, run.
Posted: March 28, 2008 - 9:45 am
As Alfred Lord Tennyson once said, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” And with the grass beginning to show, the sun appearing on our way to work and the scent of summertime in the air, every gender is feeling the springtime lift. And nothing goes better with spring than a fling. But where to find one?
On my blog, a reader commented that a bar is the last place a single should look. Yet flocks of fun-lovers throng local bars every weekend, mingling with the hopes of finding someone special. It must work some of the time, right?
Posted: March 24, 2008 - 10:02 am
This week, Play’s Last Call columnist, Jessica Bowman, and Down the Hatch columnist, Dawnell Smith, switch roles to discover if the love for liquid translates across ale and cocktail borders. Things will be back to normal next week. Read Smith’s take on mixed drinks on Page 4.
Switching it up and doing a beer column was a trying task for me. When I go out to dinner, for happy hour or just for fun, I want something interesting, intriguing — something to tingle my taste buds. I never order beer.
Beer, to my barely barley-trained palate, was just too blase. Too boring. I mean, I usually thought of beer as a keg-party necessity and a good complement to pizza. The idea of ordering a Corona at a bar made me cringe. Beer seemed like a carbonated, tasteless waste of five bucks.
Posted: March 20, 2008 - 5:26 pm
Spring is in the air, so check out this cocktail recipe from about.com for some soon-to-be sunnier fun! It's originally non-alcoholic, but you can add the vodka if you like, or leave it without for a refreshing cooler.
3/4-oz. lemon juice
3/4-oz. mango syrup
1 1/2-oz. apple juice
2-oz. blood orange juice (if you can't find this, just use regular orange juice or grapefruit juice)
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice.
Posted: March 14, 2008 - 2:12 pm
A big party night and a week-long sacred event don't always mix, which is why there has been some confusion as St. Patrick's Day approached this year.
This week March 17 will fall in Holy Week for the first time in more than 60 years, which poses a dilemma. Party people and venues around the world had to choose when to celebrate - on St. Patrick's Day or on another date. Of course, Anchorage couldn't decide on one day so there will be Irish-inspired parties today through Monday. Plan your Guinness- and Irish stew-filled fun by perusing the listing of best bets and updates below.
Posted: March 14, 2008 - 10:34 am
We now party in a world of smokeless venues, congregations of smoke clouds lingering above sidewalks, designated smoking sheds (of varying comfort levels) and divisions between smokers and nonsmokers.
Nearly a year ago, local voters endorsed a law to ban smoking in public places by a more than 2-to-1 margin, and on July 1, 2007, it went into effect and the nightlife scene changed forever.
But the issue is still smoking.
When reached for this column, some venue owners refused to comment, bristling at the mention of the ban. Most party people either love the ban or hate it, but many bartenders are torn — they admit hesitation to push patrons outdoors but relish that they now get off work with smoke-free uniforms.
Posted: March 7, 2008 - 2:10 pm
Post your vote here.
I'm writing a smoking ban update for the March 14 issue of Play and I'd love to receive your vote as well as hear your opinion in the comments section. Let me know!
-- by Jessica Bowman
Posted: March 7, 2008 - 9:39 am
I’ll be honest. I love pasta in all forms. In fact, I would eat it every day if I had the metabolism of a hummingbird. But the tasty carbohydrate is often served in such large, decadent quantities it’s tough to finish the meal in one sitting. And if you do, you end up regretting it. But when you have the option of tasty noodle tidbits in a smaller form, it’s pasta-stic. That’s why I love ravioli.
Ravioli is an appetizer that surpasses all genres. Unlike the hot wing or the potato skin, it isn’t relegated to sports bars or chain restaurants. It’s a clean slate of pasta folded over filling for any app-happy chef to use as a palette for culinary inspiration. Luckily, there are three places in town with very appetizing offerings — and none is remotely close to Chef Boyardee.
Posted: March 5, 2008 - 2:25 pm
Recently I got the recipe for a "Woo Woo" and it got me thinking. With spring ever-so-slowly creeping in, the days getting longer and possible tax rebates (or payments) on the horizon, here are some drink recipes and suggestions for those nights out when you want what you're drinking to reflect exactly how you feel. Good, bad or just really ready for a drink. Enjoy!
2 oz vodka
1 Tbsp Peach Schnapps
1/2 cup cranberry juice
Posted: February 29, 2008 - 10:33 am
Saturday marks the ceremonial start of the world’s foremost sled dog race, the Iditarod. There’s something about a bunch of sleds, dogs and riders getting ready to go that fills the air with excitement. Every year it’s the same drill, but every year it’s as exciting as if it were the first time.
Last year was my best Iditarod experience. But that’s because I was in Nome. I saw Lance Mackey win, and later, one of my friends arm-wrestled him for a beer. I won a T-shirt and snagged a commemorative glass from a bar on Front Street for my collection. I hesitate to say it, but there’s just no party like the end-of-Iditarod party in Nome. The streets are filled with people, the bars are packed to capacity — it’s like Mardi Gras with Carhartts instead of beads.
Posted: February 28, 2008 - 5:24 pm
I've had several e-mails and comments about a question that seems to elude the most stalwart of nightlifers. Where are all the single people?
There isn't an easy answer -- it's not like there's one bar where every Anchorage singleton goes at some point every weekend. Well, not at the same time anyway. As a smitten significant other, I myself have a tough time recommending single spots because to be honest, most of the time I'm not looking. But I know they're out there. What do you think, dear readers? What're your favorite singles hot spots? Where have you seen the hottest hotties on the market? Let me, and our fellow nightlifers in need, know.
Posted: February 27, 2008 - 11:28 am
I'm working on a smoking ban story, checking in on the scene eight months after implementation, and I'm wondering what you think.
Did business slow or improve for bars? Have you or your friends and loved ones quit smoking or felt healthier while going out? I thought I'd ask my readers, in the crux of the nightlife scene, for their opinions. Let me know how it's changed your life, if anything's changed at all, by commenting below. Thanks!
-- by Jessica Bowman
Posted: February 22, 2008 - 9:26 am
Annarae’s, otherwise known as the “secret bar” on the corner of 36th Avenue and C Street, has yet another secret — an amazing bartender, Sandy Hill, who’s been with the unpretentious (and unadvertised) venue for 18 years.
Annarae’s is like that quintessential British pub around the corner with a sign so weathered with age that the name is gone but everyone still knows about it. People on both sides of the bar interact with the easy familiarity of longtime friends or family members.
Posted: February 20, 2008 - 5:18 pm
Okay, so Smirnoff may not be your favorite vodka. Maybe its label reminds you of the bottom-shelf days when you didn't know what Grey Goose tasted like. But Smirnoff has attempted to counter your reservations in a big way lately, and amped up its image way past the flashy, vibrant Smirnoff Ice.
Smirnoff is releasing a new Signature Mix Series, creating drink recipes using its Green Apple, Raspberry and Blueberry brand vodkas. But that's only the beginning. The recipes are created specifically to complement three new songs and videos by three iconic hip hop stars and producers. And honestly, they might have something really hot. There's nothing like prepping for a big night out with a specially-selected soundtrack to bump around your kitchen to. How great will it be to have a specific song for the drink your sipping?
Posted: February 15, 2008 - 3:11 pm
Rebel Yell, Bulleit, Baker's and Bookers. No, these aren't band names or the titles of '80s songs (at least, not all of them). They're all types of different bourbons, and they're showcased this month at the Captain Cook Hotel in the Crow's Nest Lounge (939 W. Fifth Ave., 276-6000). If you're a fan of bourbon, edibles with bourbon-inspired recipes or just fancy tastings, you'll be crying more, more, more with this deal.
For $65 per person you can get a plate of three appetizers ($25) and a Sazerac cocktail (don't get too excited, it's not with absinthe but it is with Peychaud's bitters and pernod) and a taste of the four different and distinct bourbons listed above ($35). The best part is you can do it throughout February in the lounge area (open 5-10:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday) in front of the main bar.