Sunday, December 15, 2013

How Many Years to Party - An Anthropological Study via Bar Crawl

How can you tell the difference between a 50 year old and a 25 year old?  That is a question that probably has more answers than I can list. However, on a recent outing with my husband's family, a group that included people from age 25 - 60, the demographics definitely drove the outcome of the evening.

We had planned a Brooklyn/Manhattan bar crawl with 2 of my husband's older brothers, their spouses and their children and their significant others.  It was an interesting study in how age plays into the art of a party.  Here is a bar by bar breakdown of how the age groups handled the evening:

Bar 1 - Brooklyn Heights - 5:00 PM
20's - Arrive late as they were already pre-gaming elsewhere in the city
40's - Order appetizers (gotta build a base for all that alcohol), begin drinking at a steady pace that will be sustained all evening.
50/60's - Terrified by the exotic nature of the appetizers (fried pickles and nachos), order Mozzarella Sticks as they are more familiar.  Begin nursing drinks.

Hop on the Jay Street Subway to Mahnattan - 6:15 PM
20's - Followed GPS on phone to subway stop.  Came prepared with loaded Metro Cards to swipe everyone through.
40's - Swiped through without incident.  Bored everyone to tears with stories of how they worked in the city in the late 80's. Comments heard "Fulton Street.  This used to be my stop.  I used to go to the Seaport for lunch."  That was me.  Even I rolled my eyes.
50/60's - Completely confused by the concept of a Metro Card.  Questions included - "Isn't that paper? How does that work?"  and "I thought we needed subway tokens."

Bar 2 - Insanely Croweded West Village Bar: 6:30 PM
20's - Sidle their way in and up to the bar with ease.  Begin ordering drinks, shouting over the blaring football games and masses of humanity.
40's - Stand with arms pinned to side, barking drink orders to 20 somethings.  Power drink cocktail and go outside to take pictures.
50/60's - Patiently wait for a seat at the bar.  Get bartender to put a bowl of peanuts in front of them.  Munch peanuts and sip drinks slowly, while asking the bartender a barrage of personal questions like - "Do you have a girlfriend?" "This place is very busy, how much money do you make a night?" "Why are these drinks so expensive?" (Not terribly personal, but probably annoying to the bartender.).

Bar 3 - Neapolitan Style Pizzeria - Beer and Wine Only 7:00 PM
20's - Order many Sicilian beers, eat their pizza and their girlfriend's and mother's leftovers.
40's - Quietly and with great reverence and focus, order a nice glass of Italian wine and savor their amazing pizza, marveling at the char on the crust, the milky mozzarella and the tang of the San Marzano tomatoes.
50's/60's - Hem and haw about whether to drink wine or beer after cocktails.  Order pizza and eat half, taking the remaining pie in a to go box.  Carry the box through the city for the next three hours..

Walk across town to East Village 8:30
20's - Walk quickly and confidently, never looking up from GPS on Iphone.
40's -Walk quickly but cautiously as not to twist their trick ankle on uneven pavement.
50's/60's -Ask 1000 times "Are you sure you know where you're going?".

Bar 4 - East Village Pub - 8:50 
20's - Recognize the need for both alcohol and caffeine and begin pounding vodka and Red Bull.
40's - Continue drinking steadily, not veering from the original drink of choice.
50's/60's - Have one beer and say "that's my last one for the night".

Walk Around Block to Karaoke Bar

Bar 5 - East Village Karaoke -Private Room, no hard liquor.  Only beer, wine and Sake 10:30 
20's - Order three pitchers of hot sake and grab the microphone, confidently starting off the night with a Whitney Houston song. Continue to pound Sake and beer at an admirable clip.  Major microphone and song book hogging in play.
40's - Follow along, singing when 20's give up the mic.  Mostly laughing in the background at the song choices and generally having a good time. Drink mystery japanese cocktails that are as close to vodka and cranberry as can be provided with limited menu.
50's/60's - Part ways with the rest of the group at the entrance to the Karaoke bar, preferring to go home and go to bed.

Overall, it's fair to say that the bar crawl was epic.  It lasted from 5PM to 3AM, spanned two buroughs and included 14 people.  Although the older group bailed early, they mad a pretty respectable showing. As I start to think about the onset of my 50's, I wonder  how I will handle the hang as my years advance.

I think the real difference in the ages is best described by the day after.

50's/60's -Sleep until 5:30 AM.  Walk around Brooklyn in the dawn light. Get breakfast and get on the road by 10:00 AM.
40's - Sleep until 7:30 AM.  Get a vat of Starbucks.  Go home and fall asleep on couch.
20's - Sleep until 2 PM.  Go out again the next night.