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.
"What did you order?"
"An Alaskan Amber."
"Wow, tonight you're the Ambassador of Alaskan Amber."
"Hahaha, that's so funny. You are so clever. Let's make out."
Of course, results may vary. On to the column.
Raising a glass to new bar belle
When I went out last week, I took a minute to make two celebratory toasts. The first for the giddy news that I am now the new Last Call columnist.
This toast took awhile, as I had several people to thank: bartenders, editors, fellow pub crawlers, my Irish ancestry, boyfriends wearing “designated driver” T-shirts and girlfriends who’ve given me countless story ideas.
The second toast? To our former beverage babe - the previous Last Call columnist who left some mighty big party boots to fill. But I’ll do my best to walk the walk, talk the talk and imbibe the ultimate nightlife vibe. When you have the chance to prove yourself as a literati, you do the heck out of it. (The trick is to do it without becoming obliterati’d.)
What are the qualifications of a bar belle or midnight maven? First, you have to want it. And boy, did I want it. So badly I waited at Humpy’s for an interview for half an hour without ordering fish and chips because greasy fingers would hinder my note-taking. So badly I got a tattoo that says “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.” (OK, maybe not, but I seriously considered it. I was thinking it would be pink.)
It also helped that I’ve been around the bar, back again and then some. I’ve done the town in cities from Whistler, British Columbia, to Rosarita, Mexico; from New York to San Francisco; from Tokyo to London.
But I’m also from that world-famous fishing hole known as the Kenai Peninsula, which means there’s a special place in my heart for watering holes in the Last Frontier. There’s a particular ambience in Alaska bars you just don’t find anywhere else.
So, luckily, as a born-and-bred local girl, I know the drill - whether it’s partying in a gravel pit, at an ice rink or with everyone you went to high school with. There’s just nothing like grooving to some tunes in the middle of a sawdust-covered dance floor and getting stoked because you remember the moves to the Macarena. (The Riverside in Soldotna? What?)
And, it helped that I can write. Most of the time. As a former English major, my desire has been to get paid for something - anything - remotely to do with writing. Usually the paychecks went to pints in which to drown my artistic soul’s sorrows. But it was worth it, because my affinity for pen and paper, and late-night capers, has gained me something extraordinary - the coolest job in town.
I hope you enjoy my glass-clinking commentary - and if not, at least use the newspaper as a coaster. I’ll keep writing about what’s hot, what’s not and what’s in your shot, Anchorage.
That said - what do you do when you’ve got the coolest job in town? Find a cool place to celebrate. After all, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, so let’s get the party started.
The night is young and the possibilities are endless - and bottomless.
-- by Jessica Bowman