Coming to college I’d anticipated Wasted Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday and an all-around disheveled weekend. But, as a result of an arduous commitment to drinking, I discovered the best kept secret in Santa Cruz: Tipsy Tuesday night.
A savvy drinker knows that any night at the bar should begin with a pre-game. I don’t care how much money you made at your lemonade stand this summer — it’s just bad business not to have a buzz on before going to your local watering hole.
So, your first stop should be U-Save Liquors (across from Safeway off Mission Street). U-Save has great prices, a huge selection of liquor and is far less crowded than Safeway. Usually, a fifth of Jim Beam will be on sale for $10, but if not, Old Grand Daddy Whiskey is always a worthwhile alternative for $10. Grab a 2-liter of ginger ale and mix up a few whiskey gingers (1 part whiskey, 1.5 parts ginger ale, a squeeze of lime juice) for you and some friends.
Now that you’re feeling somewhat loose, hop in a cab over to Harbor Café (7th Street on the Eastside). I know the East Side is far away, but I promise that Taco Tuesday at Harbor Café is worth the trip.
As though paying $5 for a fresh taco (chicken, beef or fish) and a pint of Longboard Island Lager weren’t good enough, Harbor Café’s outdoor patio, furnished with picnic tables and heat lamps, is the perfect place to enjoy a warm Tuesday night.
On top of all that, Harbor has live music almost every night and incredible mixed drinks served with freshly squeezed fruit juice.
The only knock on Harbor is that even on Taco Tuesday, the bill will start to add up after a while. A certain CHP writer can tell you that an awesome deal can quickly turn to an expensive dinner. Some quick math: Four tacos and four pints at $5 a piece equals $20.
But, if you pre-game right, money should be of no concern. Friendly service and the intimacy of the joint make Harbor Café the highlight of any Tuesday night.
Just a few blocks away, another great deal and welcoming patio call to any Santa Cruz beer-lover. Every Tuesday Seabright Brewery (right across from Betty Burgers on the East Side) has Neighborhood Night, offering $7 pitchers of any of its half dozen home brews. I’d recommend the IPA, though personal preference always reigns supreme when it comes to beer.
Neighborhood Night is crowded and loud, and it can feel intimidating when you’re inside. The bar area gets congested, and later in the night it can be hard to find a spot.
But if you can get a table on the patio, Neighborhood Night is great. The crowd is a mix of UCSC students and Santa Cruz locals, and the hectic atmosphere allows for easy mingling. If after a pitcher or two the streetlights over Murray Street start to dance, offset your intoxication with one of the brewery’s fried appetizers or their incredible pulled pork sandwich.
It’s now 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night. Common sense would tell you to return home and go to sleep. To get some rest to prepare for the excitement that will be Wednesday afternoon. But remember: Fortune favors the bold. And on Tuesday night, you can find the bold downtown at the Blue Lagoon on Pacific Avenue.
The Blue Lagoon hooks a sizable chunk of UCSC students and Santa Cruz locals on Tuesday nights with the almost unfathomable $2 well drinks and $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons deal, an incredible value for any student struggling to get a buzz during the Great Recession.
The Blue is split into four sections — the front room has a long bar along the left wall with booths along the right. The area gets crowded, but Sal the bartender pours a great whiskey Coke that is worth the wait. Also, there is a TV behind the bar that shows classic films, such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “True Romance,” on mute while hip-hop plays through the speakers.
Adjacent to the front room is a pool room with two relatively well kept pool tables. The affordability of the bar makes pool games for drinks a real possibility on Tuesdays. But, as always with barroom billiards, make sure to hash out the rules before the break, and watch for hustlers.
The back two rooms are both dance floors. The low lighting and mirror-covered walls give the Blue its own variety of ambience, which some people of a more puritanical persuasion call “sleazy.” But hey, it’s Tuesday and you’re wasted: Enjoy the scene.
It was in the wee hours of last Wednesday morning, as the pre-dawn sky twinkled in soft whiskey glaze, that my scrambled mind focused itself. Under the influence of a number drinks, a handful of cigarettes and two chalupas, I felt perfectly content, at one with the universe. I thought about how the handful of years during which it’s socially acceptable to be drunk on a Tuesday is quickly diminishing, and I wanted to scream this news from the rooftops.
So, carpe dies marti — seize the Tuesday. You’ll be glad that you did.
Wednesday Through Monday: Sating your thirst every other night of the week
By Arianna Puopolo
City on a Hill Press Co-Editor-in-Chief
The Poet and the Patriot
At The Poet and Patriot pub, the live music, wide selection of beer, wine and ciders and the expertise of any of its friendly bar tenders makes enjoying your evening easy. In addition to weekly Sunday-night trivia, the Poet — as it is fondly referred to — plays host to local bands Thursday through Saturday evenings. The dart board-lined walls, sports broadcasting via two large flat screens and plenty of seating make the Poet the perfect place to if you’re in the mood to cozy up to a friend or loved one and enjoy a pint. The authentic Irish pub serves beer, wine, cider and low-proof spirits. 320 Cedar St., off Birch Lane.
Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub and Restaurant
Rosie McCann’s hosts Santa Cruz’s Monday-night trivia. Find a seat at the bar to enjoy whatever sports game is on TV that night or strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. 1220 Pacific Ave.
99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall Restaurant and Pub
This burgers-and-brew hot spot boasts — you guessed it — 99 varieties of beer. From local microbrews to big-name imports, if you like beer, 99 Bottles probably has something for you. The food menu comprises typical pub food, including burgers, nachos, mozzarella sticks, fries and fish and chips. There is a veggie burger and portobello sandwich, but vegetarian and vegan options are limited. 99 Bottles hosts trivia nights every Wednesday. It’s also a wine-and-beer-only establishment, but it has mixed drinks with low alcohol content. 110 Walnut Ave.
Parish Publick House
This Westside British-style pub hits the nail on the head with its recreation of the English pub experience. Each item on the food menu, including fish and chips, chicken wings and other pub classics, has a recommended beer pairing. The Parish is perfect for enjoying a night out with the people you like drinking with most. 841 Almar Ave.