Monday, May 3, 2010

The State of Drinking in Flint

There are two basic kinds of drinking: Drinking to drink and drinking to enjoy. That's it. Sometimes they happen at the same time. Most of the time its cost prohibitive.

That doesn't mean it's impossible to drink well and inexpensively with the same beer. The best bar in Flint for that is The Red Baron. But, its not in Flint.

We started our adventure because we thought it would be fun to see the different bars and try house specialty drinks, the best thing on the menu, and experience new places. We drank at a bunch of places. A lot more than we wrote about. The problem was it was hard coming up with new things about each bar. Everyplace *is* different, and everyplace has *it's* story. But its all the same. Just different to each person's needs from a bar. Because some folks just want to sing showtunes.

And thats not a slight. Its just they way it is. And what it means is any of us can go into every bar in Flint and be comfortable. Except for the places that are scarier than fuck. Which is an entirely different post (and someday I might tell you the least fun I ever had at a bar). While it makes finding a favorite bar really easy, it makes writing about them rather difficult.

So it comes down to 3 thoughts in two points.

1. A bar is where the heart is. Go drinking with friends. Make friends with the bartender. That's now your local bar.
2a. Sometimes its time to drink. Man, the Miller Lite and Bud Light flows bountifully in Flint. And every place in Flint has plenty of whiskey and whisky.
2b. Beer has different tastes. Holy Shit, and it does taste good. And its so hard to find some beer taste variety in Flint. Beer is more than whats sold at Kroger. Go to Sal's on Fenton Rd, Double-J's on Court, Oliver fucking T's, Whigville, and Food Castle on Dort.
Buy a few $10 six-packs. But don't assume that just because its $10 its good. Try choosing a small brewery and tasting what they have to offer. Bell's is good and easy to find. And they aren't all $10. A few are $19.

Go to Redwood Lodge and get a beer sampler.
I sometimes forget how lucky I am that I have a brewery 10 minutes from my house. We are all lucky to have a brewery so close. Then, next week go to Sullivan's Black Forest Brewery in Frankenmuth, try a few. Plus, 7 out of 10 times the brewery beer is cheaper than what you would pay for a Miller High Life at chain restaurant.

And here is a non-secret. Red Baron has 44 taps. Count the number at the next bar you go to. they will have 5 or less.

So here are some disclaimers, backpedals, and thoughts:

  • I'm not a beer snob, I'm just a beer pig that will drink almost anything.
  • I like beer specials during Michigan based sporting events.
  • Oscar night would be fun too.
  • 1 rotating tap at every bar would be awesome.
  • Don't make fun of someone drinking wine.
  • I like the smoking ban. But, I think pipes should be allowed.
  • Beer games shouldn't be played at bars. Unless its subtle.
  • Coming up with new thoughts is time consuming.
  • I hate proofreading.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kelush's Lounge

Kelush's Lounge

1913 N Dort Hwy
Flint, MI
‎ 48506

(810) 232-6162

Night to go: Yes
On tap: Nothing
In Cooler: Lots of stuff
Serve Food? Yes
Specialty: Camel Burger
Is it fresh camel? Yes
Bartender: Chip
Chip butcher the Camel? Yes
Kosher? Nope, they chew cud
Juke Box: A treasure
JK: Don't remember

Beer drinking in Flint was boring this summer. It was my own fault and I had no desire to go to new places because it seemed like I was going to the same place with a different name. But, I knew if I kept trying I would find someplace worth visiting and revisiting.

I had a helluva good time at Kelush's. I was there with Emily and our friend Rob and we doubled the door count. Chip was the bartender that night and served us promptly and courteously. We had a few. They were good. The bar was good. The music was mostly good.

They have beers for $2 a can. It has a pretty good bar to sit at. And the whole place feels like 70's/80's bar. This is a pretty comfortable place to drink. We watched baseball on the new flat screen. Knocked a few back with some retirees. Kept getting fresh cold one's with Chip's prompt service.

I chatted with Chip for a bit and found out that Kelush's and the owner Al Kelush have been a Flint staple for 60+ years (Al is 60++ years). Chip gave me the Reader's Digest version of Al and he seems like a stand-up business man and family man.

Its good to have a few at a place your Grandpa remembers.

There's something about Kelush's

  • Gold caulk around the urinal
  • 1980's Miller Light signage
  • Easy to find on a map (huge, empty field to the southeast)
  • Camel Burger
  • Special short barstools for your pool playing convenience
  • A gaggle of St. Pauli Girl posters
  • This guy hanging out
  • Red telephones
  • Rumor has it the lady bartenders are a couple of lookers

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jim's Garage Liquor Lounge

Jim's Garage Liquor Lounge
4509 S Saginaw St
Flint, MI 48507

(810) 744-3670

**Note: We have more pics coming (ours got deleted). We have one really good one (thanks Ira)
Nights to go: Not sure, I'll have to go back a few times.
Nights not to go: I told you, I don't know!
Theme: Grandparents remodeled spare room
Decor: Office furniture
Bar: Nice bar
Bartender: Old dude, pours a mean whiskey
Proper ID: referred to as "paperwork"
Beer selection. Miller Lite-y

I always guessed this was a grimy hole with skull shaped dents in the door and just enough light to roll your own. I was way wrong. This is the most non-bar looking bar I have ever been in. Before I get into that though, how about that name? That's a damn good name. But it sure doesn't look like a garage. This looked like a brand new office that just opened up in an old bar and decided to leave the bar in. Its a mildly darker computer-monitor beige. Room was clean as hell. And the bathroom cleaner that most pint glasses.

And a old surly crowd. Well one guy was visibly irked that some people were in there that are obviously not collecting Social Security. But the bartender didn't care. We were paying and we had our proper paperwork, as he put it. My sister in law is a whiskey drinker and I think that helped our situation.

While we were hanging out a girl came in in with a cake shaped like boobs. It was for her dads birthday party later in the night. What a sweet girl.

Beer selection was similar to Rite-Aid's. Liquor selection was decent.

What to expect when you are expecting another beer:
• foot tapping
• anxiety
• bathroom break in a really clean bathroom
• sing along to a karaoke song
• need to check wallet to see if you can afford a 7th one
• realization you have a debit card
• sadness from an empty glass
• jealousy of the full glasses at the table
• choose a karaoke song
• the waitperson is good/bad even though s/he is ugly/hot
• another beer
• watch baseball highlights
• strong desire to check your phone, FIGHT IT!
• realization that you should have ordered some greasy food too
• monopolize conversation until you have beer to put in mouth
• eaves drop
• bomb a karaoke song
• eat a cake that looks like boobs

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reexamination of the cost of beer

One of the things it's easy to forget when you live in Flint is how expensive beer can be.

Photo courtesy of Sokwonele-Zimbabwe on Flickr

I've been living in Pellston (15 miles south of the Mackinaw Bridge) deep in the heart of tourist country for the last couple of months doing a temporary job. Whenever I go out to a bar around here I'm shocked when I have to hand over most of my paycheck to get a pitcher of beer.

Whenever friends come to Flint from out of town they seem shocked at the bill when we get it. I (being the mostly pessimistic person that I am) always assume that they think the bill is too high. Usually though they're shocked at the amount of change that they've gotten back. Last time we were at the Red Ribbon we got 6 shots for the big city price of a couple of Miller High Lifes.

In Flint, it's like happy hour all the time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Caboose Lounge

Caboose Lounge
120 E Atherton Rd #120
Flint, MI

(810) 743-8000

When to go: Tuesday $1 Domestics
When not to go: When you should be at your daughter's wedding
Baby Powder: Available if you need it
Johnny Vegas: NO!
Credito? No
Urinals: Dual
Outside seating? HELL YES! And you can see trees and weeds!
Theme: Bar

This bar is an extension of the patrons living room. 90% of the bar sat at one long table. There were about 4 "Norm!" moments while we were there. And although none of us were Norm, no one minded a few strangers drinking beers and watching the Wings with them.

I hate taking photos at the bar. This was the worst place to do it. If you were throwing a party and some strange dude started walking around, taking pictures of people and your stuff, you wouldn't like it and you might hit them with a pool stick. I felt like I would be invading these folks home.

This is a small bar. Its about the size of living room in a trailer. When we sat down the other table shifted their table to make a little room for us. They joked about the room and then went back to talking about superior lawnmowers, healthcare, and damned fools.

There was a dark black spot on the television screen. While watching the hockey game we were making jokes about an extra puck on the ice but didn't want to be loud about it. later a regular said "It's hard to watch the game with that damn 2nd puck on the ice."

Small Bar Charms:
  • One can lean over from the table to get your beer from the bar
  • Tell a joke to your table and the whole bar can enjoy it
  • Heats up faster in the winter
  • Easier to make new friends
  • Tête-à-tête
  • Cheapest way buy the bar a round
  • Bartender can take entire bars order without moving

Small Bar Suck:

  • Farts
  • Heats up faster in summer
  • One damned fool ruins the bar
  • Toilets underneath the sink combos
  • People nosing in on my tête-à-tête
  • Speaker systems meant for the Palace
  • When regular loses his job, profits drop by 33%

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

C & S Red Ribbon Bar

C & S Red Ribbon Bar

2809 Fenton Rd
Flint, MI 48507

(810) 766-9908

Nights to go: Any
Nights not to go: Not sure yet
Word I didn't know that I didn't know how to spell 10 seconds ago: Trough
Computers Available for paying public: One
Paying Public: Full Bar -1 (freeloader ask for a second after Rob bought him a round)
Is there a house game? Yes
Is it easy? No, its not

Rob and I had many adventures last Saturday night only one I can talk about due to legal concerns. Thats a joke or is it? After a quick round and watching a one man karaoke show at Stumblin' Inn, Rob and I stumbled into Red Ribbon Bar. I had been there once before last spring with my sister-in-law Andrea for a few cold Ones. We shared a pitcher and a dude turned around in his bar stool and stared at me for 45 minutes.

That was my first experience. I figured I was in for similar treatment this trip. This time around I the only staring was coming from me directed towards the HUGE frosted pitcher and frosted glasses. Far too often I am subjected to pitchers fresh out of a hot-hot-hot dishwasher that are still warm to the touch when served with formerly cold beer. Its a bad sitiuation that makes us all uncomfortable and leads to me not coming back. On this night though, things were good. I asked the bartendress about the ring game. She explained the game and I'm going to try to remember exactly what she said, "Turn on the light and put the ring on the hook." Shoot, I can do that. But I didn't. So I drank more beer and listened to the juke box.

Sights to see when traveling through the Red Ribbon Bar.
  • Famed sign celebrating its 2nd place finish
  • Cooler labeled "Stroh's Light"Urinal trough
  • A computer that is connected to THE INTERNET
  • Tables
  • Properly spelled signs (I love those!)
  • Chairs
  • Jukebox
  • House Game
  • Parking
  • Beer can collection
  • Foods
  • Internet
  • Video Game
  • Cheap Beer when game is on

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stumblin' Inn

Stumblin' Inn

3504 1/2 Fenton Rd
Flint, MI 48507

(810) 239-0930

Nights to go: When you are already drunk and you want to walk home and you live in my house
Nights not to go: Most often
Prices: Depends on who the bartender is
Urinals: Yes
Colors: NO
Awesome sign: Yes
Johnny Vegas in a tube: Yes. There are regulations
Stink like Dorals when you leave: yes
Plastic: Shots are served in it
Plastic: Not accepted for payment

Stumblin' Inn is really close to my house. I go there when there is no beer in the house and I'm in the mood for flat beer. Now I bet you are thinkin' I'm being an ass. I am. This place bugs me every time I go. And for some reason I still go.

I've had a shot and beer there for $3.00. It was an 8 oz. beer chaser with a regular shot of swill. Few weekends later I was considered crazy by the bartender for sugesting anything like that was ever served there. I got 12oz beer and a shot for $5.00. Few weeks ago I got the same thing for $5.75.

Stumblin Inn is full of some characters. First time there I grabbed a pitcher at the bar. Emily grabbed a table for us. Earl and Jeb lean over from their table and tell Emily that she is looks bangin' in her top (in a very nice way and not like a couple of creeps that flirt in pairs). Emily demurely smiles. The dudes suddenly see her MF engagement ring. They, being gentleman in a harsh and changin' world, apologize. They totally respect her for being able to settle down. Its just not for them.

Quite often at Stumblin' Inn there are folks new to drinking and have reverted back to girls at a junior high dance. They tend come into the bar yellin', then run outside screamin', then some other newcomer follows her outside and repeat.

Stumblin' Inn is fun because:
  • Prices vary from week to week, day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute, bartender to bartender.
  • Urinal Height is non-standard
  • Colors aren't tolerated
  • Live DJ
  • Pantera on the juke box
  • Drink in the alley
  • CNN on the big screen
  • Conveniently located on street
  • Colloquial Suffixes