Tag Archives: Tour De Philly

Reflections on the Tour De Philly (2010)

( #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

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Reflections on Tour De Philly 2009

Hype and disappointment share different sides on a very fickle coin. In the flash of a milli-second you can go from bummed out to pumped up. That has been theme going into the TDP 2009. Many of the long term tourers couldn’t make it this year (which got us all down), and we saw the return of a TDP legend (brought us back up), then we had two heart breaking last minute cancels (down again), but when the dust settled last night… we had several surprise guests that raised our spirits and our glasses.

Like last year’s TDP, I organized the tour around the center city bars. We are too old for the college bars and the Old City hot spots are too crowded too bring in groups of 15 (although the center city bars proved to be crowded themselves last night). Personally speaking, I started my day drinking water and resting for the long night. I needed to head into the city a little early to drop off paperwork to Casey @ Jose’s for another event I am planning. Every interaction I have with the guy proves to me he is a class act. After an appetizer for the girls and a few new brews, we headed off to Fergies for the first official bar of the tour.

Getting to Fergies was a little daunting as I picked the wrong direction going out of Joses and walked 5 blocks before I realized it (Pistolas packs some strong beers). Once the correction was set, we quickly arrived to see a group of smiling faces. Four of our mighty group had arrived including TDP Founder Tom McCabe. Fergies had a live Irish Band jam session which was cool, but the band took up a good portion of the limited seating in the bar. We decided quickly to move on to the next bar because people wanted to eat dinner at McGillins (which was a late add to the tour agenda).

We quickly headed over to McGillins and it was packed. The group was split up for a round until a family left and we managed to steal a large table. The drinks were cheap and the food is popular among my friends so we spent more time in there than I had planned. I have to mention we had a very plucky waitress and I couldn’t decide if she was being funny or a bitch. She found a forgotten purse that one of the girls left at another table which earned her a good tip immediately, but she was kinda mouthy – which I thought was funny, but I don’t know if she intended it to be that way. The Mongolian was running late so I figured it would be best to stay in one place so he could link up. The A-Team brought a surprise guest star – Liz from our Zane Patrick’s Day adventure. This is the second time this woman has met me and both have been at drinking events, I am sure she has a very high opinion. We ended up staying at McGillins for 90 minutes putting the tour behind schedule. But it was good to have the A-Team and another TDP legend, Tee into the fold. We left McGillins with bellies full of drink and food and went over to Nodding Head

The Head was packed and once again our group was split into two. It took a while for our waitress to find us, which led to one of the A-Team to break off and find his own beverage. Eventually she came and took our orders. I decided to go with a beer I used to drink in college and I will just say it was a mistake for older Joey (it had ginger in it – yuk!). The other table had warm beer… this isn’t England and our American beer palettes require beverages to be chilled, especially on hot summer nights. We left very quickly. As we were walking out, Tom had a conversation with a gentleman in the street, in Tom’s own words:

[Potential Homeless Person]:”What do you call a horse with it’s left side chopped off?”
[Tom]: I don’t know
[Potential Homeless Person]:”Alllll right. Can I have a dollar?”
[Tom]: “Ok….. that joke really was worth a dollar”

Guess you had to be there.

Our next stop was the Raven Lounge. I had never been to this bar, but I was trying to be economically focused for my friends and I read they had decent specials on Saturday night and it was on the path for the tour. $2.00 PBR Pounders pleased the men while the women delighted in the board games the bar provided for patrons. I had expected a one and done situation at Raven, but we stayed a while playing Jenga and Hungry Hungry Hippos. Tour founder Tom McCabe had to leave to check in with work and we all decided it would be a good time to move along.

At this point, I was hearing people talk about trains and times and decided it might be a good idea to nix the Misconduct Tavern and head back to Jose’s to end the night. We already had people waiting for us there: One TDPer’s long lost cousin and my buddy Pete (with his hilarious brother Paul and his girlfriend). I rushed over to Pistolas because there were lines for the restrooms at Raven and I needed to go badly (and I wasn’t going to pull a Republicaster and just piss on the sidewalk). Pete and his crew already beat me there and I politely (I think) rushed past them. Once I got back down, we managed to take over the whole back portion of the bar. Several of my friends were new to Jose’s and I pimped their fantastic nachos which earned much deserved praise. I partook in a few shots with the new tourists and had wonderfully incoherent conversations. At midnight approached our friends left to catch trains, the Mongolian disappeared with Pete, Paul took off when I turned my head (I saw him leaving out the window), and my wife told me there was a 12:05 train we could catch so we closed up the tab and said goodnight.

TDP 2009 offered genuine surprise moments and guests, a family reunion (I think – I was too “distracted” to notice what the hell was going on), and a night of good times. There is talk of expanding the brand next year and opening it up to people we don’t know. I think the TDP has all the makings of a legendary public bar crawl, but I hope it doesn’t lose anything in the transition. Either way, I want to thank all those who took the tour this year and hope they come back because you know you will regret it if you don’t.

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Reflections on the Bar Crawl 2008

If you mark time in increments of bar crawls, we might all just live forever. Sadly we can’t, but we can make up for it by getting incredibly inebriated. This years bar crawl expanded, stretched, and blew apart the very fabric of the Tour De Philly (maybe I am exaggerating a little bit…).

Like last year, founder Tom McCabe found somewhere else he would rather be. I can say he wasn’t forgotten, but it would be a lie, he was forgotten pretty quick. In Tom’s absence new recruits stepped up. Jess Kaestle arrived with a lovely black eye that she received from Friday’s Warped Tour. Also joining us this year was Hiro Nizami. Hiro has moved to the state from the Great White North and we are all thankful. Along the way we picked up some more people and added to the frenzy.

Jose Pistolas on 15th Street was the first bar on the stop. Pistolas is a great beer bar. I started my night with a nice Belgian beer called “La Chouffe”. It had a wonderful and complex flavor, lots of stuff going on after the first sip. I am not one to normally sip and savor beer, but I made an exception. The food at Pistolas left something to be desired. Many of my friends found the meat in the burritos to be dry. I found that too much guacamole was put in my burrito (I hate guacamole and didn’t even see it as an ingredient).

We left Pistolas around 6:30 PM and made our way over to McGillins on 13th and Drury. McGillins is a weekly staple for me. Wednesday night happy hours are almost always spent there (unless Drew and his hipster ways overpowers me). The beer is cheap, the wait staff is consistent, and the bar is sufficiently dark. No I did not savor my beverages here, it was time for chugging. McGillins brought in an interesting crowd for us to comment on. From the rather large woman that wore a silver shirt (making her a living disco ball), to the dude that thought he was an urban cowboy, to the scared beer tourists that probably wanted to “see the oldest bar in Philadelphia”.

We departed McGillins for the Irish Pub on 11th around 8 PM. Once we got into the bar, I knew it was time to leave. I knew that if we stayed there long the Tour would have ended there, so Gorcka and I went across the street to Moriarty’s and snagged a table. The conversion was a great call. Moriarty’s food, booze, and atmosphere were the best of the night. Lots of sexually charged jokes were made by me to Tee, and like always, it was awesome. Handsome Paul also joined us at Moriarty’s which was also awesome. After terrifying some of the people sitting outside our window, we decided to go to what we thought was our last bar.

We arrived at the Last Vegas Lounge around 11:30. The bar smelled like cat piss, so we finished one drink and then got the hell out of there. Not wanting to end the night on a sour cat piss note, we went next door to Jones for a final nightcap. The pleasant decor and lighting made Jones an appropriate place to end the evening. The girls finished their bug juice drinks and we said our goodbyes. Heading over to 8th and Market to take the PATCO line home.

So we didn’t almost get into a fight or piss in public, but I have to say I had a really good time regardless. I want to thank everyone that came out this year, I am glad you could make it, and I hope it was worth your time and those hard earned dollars. Until next year!

Official TDP Website: tdp.lomparty.com

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Reflections of the Bar Crawl

When socially drinking with Nate, it can really go only two ways: You want to kill him or you want to kiss him(or lets just say hug, he smokes too much). Last night was the kissing kind. Not to minimize everyone else’s participation in the first (probably not) annual “St. Patty’s in the Summer” bar crawl – but Nate appearances have become rare this year, and Nice Nate appearances when the agenda is drinking are all but unheard of. Last night Wagner came through.

Like last year’s TDP Bar Crawl (organized by Tom McCabe), we did the old college bar scene. The drinks are cheaper and so are the women. Allison, Nate, and I arrived first at the Mad Mex on 32nd and Samson and enjoyed a lovely meal outdoors. It is great to be able to eat outside of a college hot spot – all the kids trying to make their personal statements about life… Loudly. We just laughed our asses off as we saw people being “caricatures of themselves” (good one Jack – thanks). After three or four 22 oz margaritas Tee showed up and things took a raunchy turn that the night never recovered from. Tee is the nicest, most virginal girl there is, and of course I take great pleasure in trying to come up with the dirtiest statements possible to shock her (and Nate has no problems tagging along). Eventually Bill and Amani showed up and had another drink before moving on to our next destination.

Cavanaugh’s was the second choice and the bar was surprisingly well lit and quiet. The summer time really takes its toll on these bars, but it is welcome for us old timers who just want a place to sit down. After a few minutes, Mr. Sean Anderson showed up to complete the cast of characters. We made nice with one of the bartenders who was willing to make shots of a drink I invented a few years ago called the “Horny Leprechaun”. A few more drinks later it was time to move on to the Blarney Stone.

I should have known the Blarney was going to be a problem when I saw the karaoke monitors. Of course Nate and I were going to make the audience suffer through a drunken rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama” as we always do. After a carbomb, Nate submitted the paperwork. As we waited for our turn, a group of young drunk college girls did “Man I feel Like a Woman” – it was terrible, but thankfully short. We get called up, and about 30 seconds into the song and one of the young ladies informed us that we sucked. I proceeded to improvise on the lyrics and “give back”. While the audience enjoyed this improvisation, her boyfriend did not and decided to have a few words with me. I talked him down but decided that it would be best to split as he was giving Nate the dirty eye and Sean was looking ready for a throw down.

The night ended at my personal favorite, the New Deck. We enjoyed cheese fries, beer, and peanuts as our merry little crew disbanded one by one for the evening. Nate, Allison, and I walked back to my car to find that Philadelphia had given me a present – a parking ticket (apparently I was 20 minutes off on the meter). Oh well – got to fund the corruption somehow. Nate gave back to the city by pissing on the nearest building and we were on our way. Allison graciously volunteered to drive earlier so Nate and I could do our best impressions of 20 year olds throughout the night (remember kids don’t drink and drive).

While I have cut down on drinking for health and financial reasons, evenings like this are always good for the body and soul – a little excess hasn’t killed anyone – well at least not many. As my vision goes back to singular view and my stomach settles I laugh knowing that Nate is probably slobbering all over my bed right now cursing to himself that he should have stayed home. Sleep well sweet prince, sleep well.

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