Step into a world…

By Lawrence Bailey

Generally, I’m not one for routine. I tend to be more of an impulsive type, especially when it comes to drinking and nights out. Which further demonstrates the power of my three-year-old Thursday routine.

You see, there are certain combinations that should never be tampered with. Bombay Sapphire, tonic and a slice of lime. Jack Tripper, Chrissy and Janet. The Ship and Anchor, the Night Gallery and Thursday night.

By far the greatest time anyone can have, I want to offer a glimpse into a near religious obsession of mine: the perfect Thursday.

Step 1: Get drunk before going out

Now this may be obvious to some, but unless you’ve got a wallet full of browns you’re looking to drop, you can’t get the right amount of toxins into your system. So invite a few friends over, or hit up a friend’s place (ideally downtown) and get started.

This particular evening began with a delicious bottle of wine, a supertuscan of some kind I believe, chased by a 12 pack of Stella Artois (add some ganja as you see fit) and some Skate or Die 2 on old school Nintendo. My partner in crime from beginning to end will be, and often is, local legend Peter Ewenson. Yes, that Peter.

Step 2: The greatest pub in the world

No, I haven’t been to every pub around the globe and frankly I don’t care. You simply can’t top the Ship. It puts Cheers to shame (lest your name be Norm) and it happens to be a mere minute-and-four-second walk from the aforementioned Ewenson residence. Always remember that the key to continuing this and any other Ship-related the evening properly is measuring time by pints not minutes.

Upon entering the Ship at about 10:30 p.m. it’s time to refuel. Peter and I cut a path to the bar, a few hellos along the way, before taking that first sip, turning around and surveying the scene. It’s a particularly balmy evening so the patio is the natural destination.

This is where the fun starts.

We step outside and the duo instantly becomes a crew-you always know people at the Ship. In short order two picnic tables are pulled together and empty pint glasses begin to mount. The volume of the table rises by the second until it is a certifiably rowdy time.

By midnight even those who were most adamant they weren’t coming to the Gallery are primed. And then all it takes is one simple statement.

"Peter! Bottoms up, the night is wasting away!"

With an enthusiastic round of cheers and a few quick gulps, the rowdiness becomes mobile.

Note: The Night Gallery is quite close to the Ship. Walk or grab a four dollar cab (that’s a dollar apiece if you fill it), but do not drive there. It is wholly unnecessary and likely quite dangerous. Accidents and DUIs really kill the evening’s fun factor.

Step 3: Dancing, drinking and Jag

There are few things that make me happier than the delicious anticipation that comes with climbing the stairs into the Gallery to the always pimpin’ styles of Thursday’s resident DJs Mike Grimes and Pete Emes. The key to a complete Gallery evening is a tour when you first arrive and a tour before you leave-you never know who might be there.

On this particular occasion I had some business to take care of so Peter braved the battle towards the bar and got our first round. We reunited shortly thereafter and the arrival tour was made. Again, hellos were said, but the music was too bumpin’ to chat and Newcastle just seems to taste better when you’re dancing.

An aside: Always order Newcastle if you feel like dancing it up. Not that it’s a taste thing, but they’re so big you end up making fewer trips to the bar, generally a daunting task on Thursdays.

The Night Gallery’s true beauty-diversity-was on display that evening. There are some of the most amazing dancers doing their thing shoulder to shoulder with some of the most awful, some of the most beautiful people and some of the most odd. Why is this beautiful you ask? Simple, no one cares and everyone is smiling.

Another aside: If at any point in time over the course of the evening, you feel the medicinal warmth of Jagermeister cascading down your throat, you are officially in for trouble. It could be good, it could be bad, but it will be trouble. Remember that.

Step 4: Get home safe and sound

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, the evening is over. Mike has played his ACDC, and now the lights come up and the party spills out into the street.

If you happen to be sober enough to step back and watch, this is often the most entertaining part of the night. Watching 50 to 100 drunkards stumble around trying to hail cabs can be absolutely hilarious.

However, if you happen to be one of those drunkards, spare yourself some of the inevitable embarrassment and duck into the B&E Grocery. It’s proprietor, Shaq, is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met and he doles out the best pizza in the city. Well, at least it seems that way when I’m drunk.

In a nutshell that’s it. I highly recommend everyone do this up at least once before they move on from Calgary, although I must admit, the Thursday options are plentiful. Even I am finding myself spending Thursdays at the Den more and more often. Seriously though, switch it up from time to time. After all, variety is the spice of life.