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I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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Archive for the 'Pubcrawl!' Category

The Sunday following

Posted in Life, Pubcrawl!, Reviews on December 5th, 2010

9:30am. Breakfast with the lovely Illyana at Holman’s. (A great little dive, by the way; you should check it out on a day when I’m not going to be there – I like it quiet.)

11:30am. Left the restaurant and called my insurance company – and got the “please call back during business hours” message. I called back again, and this time impersonated a clinic and got into the automated system, which then confirmed I am eligible for lenses and frames; no idea on the value thereof. Went to the mall.

Noon. Saleslady confirmed that I indeed have a hardware credit available and priced things out for me – both sets of frames I chose fell under the coverage limit, but the lens options I wanted would bring the total up to $169. Money well-spent, I figure. It’ll take 10 days to get them though.

Crap.

This is where I give some mad points to Binyon’s: they offered to give me a pair of “loaner” lenses to use until my ordered lenses come in. This is extremely cool, because it involved them throwing away a set of basic lenses – it’s not like anyone else will have my exact ‘scrip, so they won’t be able to re-use the lenses.

So, either they are very cool about this, or the lenses and two hours’ worth of technician time to grind and fit them is really a lot cheaper than they want us to think it is. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this time and say they’re cool.

Noon to 2:00pm. Wandered ’round the mall killing time while Binyon’s built my glasses.

2:00pm. Picked up my new glasses. I be stylin’ now. Once my eyes get used to the change in ‘scrip, I’ll be able to see a little better. Now time to vacate the mall because I have spent far too long there for one day.

5:00-8:00pm. Office Holiday Party at Uptown Billiards. Food was good, table arrangement in the party room is still poor – one of the pool tables is pushed too far to one side to allow for a dartboard, and wouldn’t you know it, half our group ended up hanging out on the narrow side of the room and were constantly being asked to step aside for a pool shot. I expect a little better out of a pool hall. The Boss stole all of my blackjack mojo, and I ended up just breaking even this year.

Saturday needed help, but the weekend turned out ok.

Pubcrawl – Kell’s Irish Pub -$$-

Posted in Pubcrawl! on March 9th, 2009

Sometimes you forget about the little things.

That seems to be the general message at Kell’s. Little things matter, and they have forgotten the little things that turn a good pub into a Great Pub. Little things like a windbreak just inside the door, so a cold breeze doesn’t wash through the entire bar every time the door is opened. Things like conversation – which was impossible with the sheer din of music, people and tv’s. (Part of this is due to the flat ceiling that they stick your $1.50 to, but still).

Lastly, they forgot what good service is like. This was the first time in a couple years that Tolerant and I have

    both

gotten to the bottom of our glasses without a wait-staffer even raising an eyebrow in our direction. I had the frickin’ curry fer chrissakes, and I would have had to actively seek the attention of our server to get a refill.

That’ll teach me for thinking an Irish curry wouldn’t be too hot for the Gringo.

All in all, Tolerant and I were both disappointed and give the place a C at best. Too many years catering to the yuppies and hipsters Downtown, I guess.

Pubcrawl – The East Bank Saloon -$$-

Posted in Pubcrawl! on February 15th, 2009

Just a couple blocks South of MFP, the East Bank Saloon can be found on the West side of Grand at #727 – just North of the Morrison bridge, so parking sucks out loud. You’ll probably end up walking a block or two, and it’s that long stretch between crosswalks so transit-users may walk even farther.

I’ve driven by the place three days a week for years now and it wasn’t until Friday that Tolerant and I finally decided to swing in. The decor is very nice – brick and wood, and the ceiling is painted a lighter color so the room doesn’t seem as dark. There are a pair of bookshelves on the North wall stocked mostly with filler (old encyclopedias and the like that look good together, ya know?) but there are a few gems in there – like an actual Settlers of Catan box! I’ll have to bring the boys here sometime…

I’ve seen other reviews call the place a dive, but it isn’t – it’s a sports bar more than anything, but also has a very restaraunty-feel to it. The food was good, and had a few gems in the menu – I had the Hawai’ian Burger, and Tolerant had her usual fish and chips. One of the best parts though, was finding tater tots on the menu! Both meals were tasty and too much food, so the price (more in line with a McMen’s) wasn’t so bad.

Service was good, but I was a little disappointed to see dreadlocks on our waitress. I know that it is perfectly possible to wash dreads and keep them clean, but they have always struck me as messy and unkempt, and I can’t for the life of me understand why any self-respecting girl would deliberately do that to herself.

Overall I’ll give the Saloon a ‘B’.

Pubcrawl – Moon and Sixpence -$-

Posted in Pubcrawl! on February 14th, 2009

Wow, I just realized that the whole pubcrawl theme pretty much derailed after one review – we’ll have to fix that. I really could have sworn I’d reviewed this place before.

The Moon and Sixpence is a nice little English pub at 2014 NE 42nd in the Hollywood district (just ’round the corner from Sam’s Billiards). Parking is a crap-shoot, as there is only on-street, and it fills up fast. Inside you’ll find lots of wood and a fairly dark interior, but there is a fair amount of seating between the tables, chairs and pews. (Tolerant keeps wondering which church they lfted those from).

For the beer snobs out there, they carry quite a selection from all over – it will take a while to dig through the list. For the hungry, the list isn’t as long but you’ll find items listed here that you won’t have seen anywhere else. Cottage pie may be common (and usually known as shepherds pie) but the pasties were new to me and the idea of a pear salad was too. Sometime this summer I’ll have to go back and try the ploughman’s platter – sometime when I don’t want hot food.

The fish & chips are traditionally made and served – most of a fish dipped in batter and fried up with chips, here have some tartar and malt vinegar. Hot, not too oily, and a nice flavor to both fish and batter. I can also attest to the cottage pie and pasties being damn tasty. For those not wanting to try something new, the roast chicken is pretty normal.

Service is just attentive enough – the waitresses are apparently trained in being relaxed and showing up just when you were about to go looking for them, but in the good way. You know, you’re just getting to the bottom of your drink and you’re thinking ‘should I get up and go order another’ when the waitress pops ’round.

The ‘Pence is currently Tolerant’s favorite, so we’ll give it a ‘B’ leaning towards an ‘A’.

Pubcrawl – Katie O’Brien’s -$-

Posted in Pubcrawl! on September 12th, 2007

Corner of NE 28th & Sandy

Tolerant and I drive by this place about 3 times a month, and we finally managed to stop in and check them out Friday night. Located on the corner of 28th and Sandy, they’re pretty easy to get to by both car and bus. Parking is on the street, but there was easy room right in front.

It wasn’t very crowded at the bar, and the dining area was empty which made us wonder a little. Dcor is fairly simple, with a collection of tap handles on one wall and various coasters stapled to the overhang above the bar. The seating area is raised higher than the rest of the room, with the bar proper and the games area sitting a couple steps lower so those seated at the tables have a view of the entire bar.

Atmosphere: As we walked in, I was starting to wonder if I was going to be able to smoke. For a smoking-ok bar, Katie’s is extremely clean. The ceiling is a dark green color instead of the usual nicotine-brown, and there wasn’t the usual telltale cloud hovering over the bar proper. The tall ceilings definitely helped in this regard.

The music being played was a bit on the loud side, which hindered conversation and had me saying “What?” a little too often. It was also a little too eclectic, and couldn’t find a genre. Some would say this is good, but in the 45 minutes or so that we were there I got annoyed by rap and hip-hop at least 4 times – which shouldn’t happen in an Irish pub.

Drinks: I was driving, so a simple soda was on my menu but Tolerant opted for a rum & coke. The rum was better than your typical well, and the bartender found the sweet spot in the proportions both times.

Food: Tolerant had had fish & chips the night before, so I got that this time. The batter was good, and held up well throughout the meal without getting soggy. Normally I order mine with extra tartar sauce because I am not overly fond of fish, but in this instance the small serving cup of sauce was enough – the fish didn’t need to be covered up. The chips were fries cooked in vegetable oil, but appeared house-cut and had a nice seasoning.

Tolerant ordered an “Irish” Dip sandwich – corned beef with a creamed horseradish sauce on a hoagie roll with au jus. The first bite put a great big smile on her face as she was trying to fan the spicy away, so I’ll take that as a positive vote.

Service: The only employee evident was the bartender, but she still managed to take care of us pretty well. Our orders were taken, delivered and taken away in an orderly fashion and we weren’t pestered or left looking around for absent staff.

The Verdict: Good food at a reasonable price in portions that were too large for either one of us to finish. Service and atmosphere combined into a pleasant experience, and we will probably try them again on another night to see if they can pick a more even music flow.

We liked it, and give Katie O’Brien’s Pub a solid “B”.

Pubcrawl!

Posted in Pubcrawl! on September 9th, 2007

The Lady Tolerant and I have often thought about where to go and what to do on our evenings together, and we’ve gotten into a bit of a rut, going to the same places and doing the same things. Being unhappy with the result, we have embarked upon a great Quest to visit and catalog the various Pubs, Dives and Watering Holes this great city has to offer, and possibly discover the best fish & chips in town.

Now, we prefer the idea of the traditional English or Irish pub, but sometimes an establishment can’t really be labeled. For the sake of argument, a “Pub” will be defined as any bar that has even vaguely English or Irish decor, serves beer imported from the UK, and serves fish & chips.

A “Dive’ is listed as any bar that is not a “Pub”, and does not cater to … well, anyone really. Dives are typically dark, smoky, and inexpensive, and staffed by great characters who don’t take any shit.

A “Watering Hole” is focused on the drinking part of the theme, with only the most rudimentary menu items listed. You don’t go there to eat, you go there to drink.

Note that you did not see the word “club” in all of that – because I hate clubs. Once the music has reached a certain volume, ny brain ceases to function and I would not be able to review it. And I don’t dance.

As examples, The Rose & Raindrop was a great pub, until they sold the damn building to a bank. Across the street from there, My Father’s Place is a great Dive. I have not found a local Watering Hole yet, but I’m sure you could figure it out.

These establishments will be judged upon the following categories:

Location (where is it, how to get there, parking, etc.)
Food (quantity, quality, variety)
Drinks (again, quantity and quality)
Atmosphere (decor, music, attitude)
Service (you get the idea)
and of course, Price. (one “$” denotes $10 spent on a meal and drink for one person)

Grading is on a scale of A to F, just like in grade school. There is no scientific method here, just the impressions of myself and Tolerant, so I can’t tell you exactly what constitues each grade. To get an ‘A’, though, an establishment will probably need to be pretty stellar.

The first review is coming soon…