Is it so wrong for me to enjoy the solitude of a bar that’s not spilling over with people I don’t (and never want) to know? Am I a bad person for wanting to slide a couple quarters into the jukebox and listen to “Live Bullet” while holding a conversation that doesn’t require yelling? Is it crazy to think that you don’t need an excuse to get absolutely hammered other than you don’t have any responsibilities that day other than, well, getting hammered?
The answer is a firm “no” on all three accounts, and I’ll stand by that.
But seemingly once every month, everyone decides to come out and play. In flocks, bar-goers creep out of their apartments and fill the streets. They stand in lines, raise the prices, and get as drunk as humanly possible simply because society deems one day on the calendar to be more important than others. Those days, few and far between, are some of my least favorite days of the year because I not only hate strangers, but I hate loud, drunken, and obnoxious strangers even more.
You know, the amateurs.
5. Cinco de Mayo
Great, an excuse for everyone to go out and get drunk on the one liquor they swore off after college. While I’m as much of a fan of tacos and margaritas as the next gringo, I’m not a fan of large wait times and shoulder-to-shoulder seating. Cinco de Mayo isn’t the type of holiday you can go about casually. If you go to your normal mom-and-pop bar, you’ll get served a margarita that tastes like someone spit in the mix that they shook together with a bottle of El Toro.
To avoid that, you find yourself doing exactly what everyone else is trying to do – go to a Mexican (or Tex-Mex) restaurant so you can get the real thing. But because it’s widely accepted as the latin version of St. Patrick’s Day, you and every other person in town is waiting in the same line to go to the same restaurant to drink the same margaritas served to you by the same waiter who hates his life.
But if you go on Quatro de Mayo or Seis de Mayo? You’re getting in immediately and getting served top-shelf margaritas without the fuss of forcing it on a holiday that, for all intents and purposes, means absolutely nothing to beyond just being another excuse to drink.
4. The Night Before Thanksgiving
As an avid fan of getting the band back together while blasting “The Boys Are Back In Town” en route to our local hometown watering hole, The Night Before Thanksgiving is widely considered to be the biggest bar night of the year. Thanksgiving is the perfect day for a hangover – football, food to soak up the booze from the night before, and all the excuses in the world to keep drinking through the day and delay that hangover until Friday (when you’ll inevitably go out again with the same people as the Wednesday before). Hell, if this was called “Ranking The Best Drinking Holidays,” it’s likely Thanksgiving would be the cream of the crop.
But with “the biggest bar night of the year,” you get people from all walks of life. The excitement of being home from school or their dead-end big city jobs gets the best of everyone and they end up talking blackout to a girl they had a crush on in high school only to throw up on the sheets in their childhood bedroom. The bars are packed, the cops are out in full-force, and you’re probably coughing up a cover charge for a bar that never charges cover.
Oh, and the girl from high school you had a crush on? Yeah, still not going to hook up with you.
The childhood tradition of going door-to-door asking for candy turned into an adulthood tradition of hopping bar-to-bar taking shots you don’t want to take. Whether it’s the costumes, the cold weather, or a combination of both, Halloween (a largely pointless holiday) forces everyone to dress up like a dumbass and hit the town with a full head of steam.
Myself? Not a costume guy, but I’m not going to knock those who are. But the last thing I want to encounter when I’m trying to order a shot and a beer is getting hit in the face some oversized angel wings while a drunk girl asks me what my shitty costume is with slurred speech.
Any holiday that forces people to dress up (classy or costume) is destined to 1. Elevate standards and 2. Never meet the elevated standards. Tears will be cried through make-up and face paint, and most couples will argue incessantly on their Uber ride home.
2. New Year’s Eve
The classier side of Halloween where you’re expected to dress like you have more money than you actually do while drinking enough champagne that you feel like your throat is going to bust out of your neck. The same rules apply for New Year’s Eve as they do for Halloween – everyone’s high expectations are going to force them into thinking it’s going to be “the best night ever” only to watch the night fall flat and feel deflated for dressing up all for naught.
Even worse is that you find yourself buying three-figure tickets for clubs and hotel bars where you’re guaranteed a champagne toast (enjoy the Cook’s!) and buffet (enjoy the cold food and risk of food poisoning!). Little do they tell you, you’re going to be standing around a bunch of other people you don’t know trying to get to the bar where they serve you a $12 bullet can of Bud Light while some dude in a tuxedo bumps into you while chanting for the DJ to play “Closer” again.
1. St. Patrick’s Day
The Amateur Drinking Holiday. The day when everyone claims to have more Irish heritage than they actually have. The day where bars dye Miller Lite (and your puke) green. The day where everyone flocks to the nearest major city to get as drunk as possible, as early as possible, surrounded by as many people as possible.
Sure, I don’t look great in green, but that’s not the real reason why I avoid this holiday at all costs. Something about drunk faux-Irish Americans just screams, “I’m going to get in a fight with someone,” and that’s just not me. The last thing I want on a Saturday afternoon is to encounter some dude with green-stained lips trying to fight me because he almost threw up on my back while I sit at the bar while he tried to order Irish Car Bombs, a drink that no actual Irishman would actually order.
On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone’s a Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys fan, and everyone goes to the greatest lengths possible to show just how proud they are to wear green and pose for photos in front of that gross river in Chicago.
Take your drunken lullabies elsewhere, Patrick. I’ve got some Bob Seger to listen to. .
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