Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer Of Excitement: McSorley's Old Ale House - [a case of the summer]

I apologize for missing my Trending Topics and Throwback Thursday posts earlier this week, but it was a REALLY busy week and I ultimately decided not to force it.  But I do have a legitimate Summer of Excitement bit to talk about, so let's call it even.

At the beginning of last summer, a few work friends and I went to McSorley's Old Ale House in New York City.  For those of you unfamiliar with this establishment, it is the oldest Irish tavern in New York City and was one of the last "Men Only" pubs (it was legally forced to allow women in 1970).  Although the actual year that it was established is a little sketchy, most agree that it was sometime in the middle of the 1800's (1860-1865 seems likely).  So, yeah, the place is old.  And it was visited by famous figures such as Abraham Lincoln (!!!), Teddy Roosevelt, and many others.

The place is pretty damn unique, too.  They brew their own beer and only serve two kinds:  light and dark.  And the servers bring them to you, typically, with six mugs in each hand.  And then they just slam them on the table, making a huge mess.

Oh, speaking of the table, seating is pretty you typically end up sitting with a group of strangers.  If you and your group are at a table, but you're not using all of the seats, they'll just sit another group with you.  Last year we ended up sharing a table with these two women, who had to be 50-60 years old, and we ended up hanging out with them all night.  And time, we ended up sharing the table with a guy from Texas, and then later a married couple from Milan.  This place is a true landmark -- people who come to New York City often make it a point to visit.  And I do suggest it, as it's quite a fun and interesting place.

And now to my specific adventure.  I took the train from Morristown, NJ (where I work) to New York City at 3:40.  It's not a fast train, mind you.  It actually goes pretty much the speed of a car and takes numerous stops, so I got to the city around 5:00.  I was already tired, hungry, and had a bit of a headache, so I stopped at a shop in Penn Station and got a 5 Hour Energy, a bag of M&M's, and some Advil.  I jumped in a cab (I was tired of dealing with trains) and chugged the 5 Hour Energy.  I arrived at the bar where three of my co-workers were waiting (along with the random kid from Texas).  What proceeded was a lot of beer drinking.  And, strangely, a fair amount of cheese and crackers (which they also serve).

In addition to the cheese and crackers, they also provide you with this REALLY spicy mustard.  Two of my co-workers decided that they would try to "one up" each other with their tolerance.  One would put a dab on the cracker.  The next would put a bit more.  Then one would cover an entire side.  By the end, one of them had covered both sides of the cracker with mustard AND squirted Tabasco sauce on top of it.

We ended up hanging out at McSorley's until about 9:00 (I think?), at which point we made our way over to our friend's (surprisingly swanky) hotel room.  We had a couple of beers there before heading to ANOTHER bar -- where there were beers and shots.  Finally, at about 2:00 AM, I decided I would leave as I knew that the bus I needed to take home was only leaving every two hours, with the next one going out sometime after 3:00.  So I took a cab to the bus terminal.

When I arrived at the bus terminal, I noticed that the door was locked.  There was a long line of cabbies outside, and one of them immediately comes up to me and says that the bus terminal doesn't open back up until 5:00 and that I will have to take a cab.  He asks me where I'm going and says he'll look in the book to see how much to charge me.  He checks, and it's about $67 .  He notes that there's a $13 toll, but all together he'll charge me $70.  Something seemed sketchy -- I KNOW I've taken a 3:30 bus back, so I ask him if he's going to be here for a little while because I need to get something to eat.  He tells me, "Well, I don't know how long I will be."  In no mood to deal with him and feeling somewhat confident (liquid confidence!) I simply say, "Fine, then I'll go to one of these other guys" as I point to the long line of cabs.  He quickly changes his tune and says, "Yeah, I'll be here."

Then, a moment after I walk away, ANOTHER cabby goes to me and says "How much was that guy going to charge you?" And I said "$60" (blatantly untrue).  He asks me where I'm going, and I tell him.  He says, "Okay, tip included, how about $65?"  Meanwhile, the original cabby is right on our tail.  So I tell him the same thing -- that I need to get something to eat.  As I cross the street, YET ANOTHER cabby goes to me and asks me where I'm going.  I tell him, but tell him, "but those guys over there are only charging me $50."  As we're talking, I notice that we're in front of the Greyhound station.  I go inside and see that there ARE buses going back to my home town, right at the time I thought it was.  So it's a good thing I didn't just go with the original cabby's offer of $70.  The bus ended up costing me $5.50.

I finally got home around 5:00 in the morning and suffice it to say, I was exhausted.  I woke up the next morning feeling like absolute death.  I was hungry but really not able to get out of bed yet.  And then I remembered it:  My bag of M&M's.  I hadn't eaten then yet!  So I went into my jacket, grabbed the bag, and laid in bed eating them.  It was a sight, I am sure.

It's not 11:00 PM on Sunday night and I'm still tired.  But it was a great time.

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