( #Philadelphia, #TourDePhilly, #JosePistolas )
My friend Tom started the Tour De Philly in 2004. We were young, single, and (mostly) ready to mingle. Over the years, the tours has reflected the changes in our lives. Girlfriends and wives (and husbands) became part of the team and those favorite old college bars started to get replaced with Center City bars. Regardless of the location and the people, a good time was always had. The 2010 edition of the TDP was no different: good friends came out and we had an excellent time, but as I clicked glasses filled with various compounds, I knew the era of the Tour De Philly was coming to a close (for us).
Before we even started the tour, the decision was made to reduce the number of bars. The last few years, the constant jumping made it hard for those falling behind to catch up and it was really hard to get drinks unless you stayed a while. So I made the executive decision to cut it down to three core bars (McGillins, Ladder 15, Jose Pistolas). This year was extraordinarily hot and the Philadelphia bars struggled to keep their businesses cool for the masses; this made the crew eager to jump to the next place, which had the effect shorting the duration of the tour.
While mostly everyone was pleased to start a McGillins, once the call for car bombs was made and the waitress informed us that they didn’t serve Guinness, the crowd wanted to move on. Ladder 15 wasn’t crowded and had plenty of seats. It was nice in there for about 30 minutes, but then the place started to fill up (and get warm) with people younger than I wearing flip-flops. One of the bar employees asked my friend who was wearing a jeff cap and a kilt to take off his hat (it was okay for kids to wear sandals and baseball caps, but Ladder 15 was too cool for the guy in the kilt). I was ready to leave.
We made a detour into Fado and it was packed. I left anyone who wanted to stay in there and made my way over to Jose Pistolas. Even though the AC wasn’t at 100%, Joses is always worth the sweat. Universally beloved (by my entire social circle) Buddy was working the bar on the main floor and I enjoyed a brief conversation and a good drink. As the Fado slackers started to shuffle in, they took over the 2nd floor of the bar. I stayed downstairs with Buddy until he told me the AC worked better up there. My friends ended their night eating and drinking, the way all TDPs should.
Sounds like a pretty good night right? Yup. But the passion is gone. The tours have been ending earlier every year and getting home via train and other safe means is becoming a headache. Additionally, who the hell wants to drink themselves into oblivion and feel like crap for the next 3 days. You are witnessing forced maturity boys and girls. It’s time for a new crop of young people with disposable income to run around the city getting completely trashed, I am too old for this shit and got stuff to do the next morning.
When this doesn’t look fun, it’s time to run