Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 12 pubs of Christmas

Yes, catchy title and Yes, I was suitably worried in the lead up to the festivities as part of our christmas celebrations as to the capacity of my liver to take me through the day, keeping me away from the gutter and any errant kebab vans I might happen upon in the wee hours. And a disclaimer: binge drinking isn't smart or clever. Even the Australian Government says so here, but I did take little sips, plenty of water and noms along the way. 

And, as all the trendy movies do, we'll finish with the end and then trek through the day. I only made it to pub 10. Didn't picture me as a quitter? Me neither, but but in full throes of my efudex treatment and alcohol being a vasodilator and all, I think I should get a gold star for even turning up.

So, the festivities kicked off with a champagne breakfast at Sassafras, Paddington. Everyone was in the swing of the season with Christmas colours, themed shirts, baubles as earrings or all of the above. the sensible owners didn't allow us our first tipple until after 10am. Something about liquor laws ... As breakfast wound to a close we were informed that the person sitting opposite us would be our buddy for the day and our goody bag and pub-passport was distributed. special wrapping bows were in the bags of a few. Two of us ended up with santa hats (and were informed we could order others to drink if we weren't referred to as Mr/Mrs Claus) and one lucky punter ended up with a camel suit (!)(ages 3-5(!!) .. cue: many camel toe jokes, of course). Our survival packs consisted of a pub-passport, no-doze, panadol and a hairy lemon, as well as an obligatory vom-bag ('if you're going to spew, spew into this..' and some scooby snacks.

Onwards to pub 2: the Paddo. Some were into the beer or spirits (or even 2), but I couldn't face anything harder than a pimms and lemonade as it wasn't even 11. Time didn't seem to phase some of the non-pub crawl patrons who were propping up the bar, but I suppose I can't throw stones in that glasshouse since, technically, i'd been drinking since 10.

A hop-skip-and-a-jump across to iceworks was our third stop - with quite a few comments of, 'oh, now i'm starting to feel it' coming out. The order-cards also made their appearance here - ordering either a slow down (whoa-nelly!) or stop dragging the chain. No one was red carded, even around pub 12 or 13, where I heard there was some stage diving.

The Caxton was our 4th stop and lunchtime already. The poor mum, dad and kids who arrived after us and were seated near us in a near empty restaurant requested to be moved fairly soon after that. Sensible. Mr/Mrs Claus hats were re-allocated, as was the camel suit.

Some maxi-taxis then took us into town to Irish Murphys. Many a pretend 'where is everyone? I just ducked into the toilets and now everyone's gone' phone calls were made, as buddies were split up in different cabs. Buddies were re-united at I.Ms and ordered to do a drinks-swap. Whatever you ordered your buddy had to drink. The boys quizzed the barman about the worst drink combos they'd ever made and that was the origin of the sambucca and orange juice and two tequila shots, cordial and milk combos that were ordered.

The port office, pub 6, was where we met the pub crawl that numbered over one hundred punters. Carbon dating placed their longevity between 11 and 19 years and, as they swarmed into the pub with only one bar tender, we were impressed by their outfits, laminated lanyard cards and song booklet (from which we heard 'song number 9' which started after a sharp whistle from the leader). They streamed off as we were being explained the significance of the pegs and breathed a sigh of relief that they had just come from the pubs next on our list.

Heading towards the Belgian Beer Cafe we practiced placing pegs on unsuspecting members of the group. Obliviousness to a personal pegging and/or not finding said peg on outfit, whilst those around you counted down from 10 to 1 resulted in drinking 'two fingers' of your drink. Pub 7 to 10 had the heady combination of paranoia and drunkeness that resulted in most of us standing in one big circle, eyeing off everyone else in the group.

Following my fancy cherry beer - presented in the dunked glass, froth de-headed with the fancy barman's spatula - I decided on a hairy lemon. Others popped various other survival remedies from their bags and we all nommed a few chips and then were off to the stock exchange for SHOTS! More dancing camel action, peg paranoia and welcoming late-ring ins to the festivities before we headed to the victory. One of the tired and emotional amongst us took early leave for a spot of fresh air before we soon followed. Onto dinner and more drinks at the Pig and Whistle. 

Here, more pegs were attached, pompoms were separated from their hats and much shite was spoken before our crowd dispersed. Pub ten was the watershed moment - a number of the pack peeling off for an earlier night, whilst the others clambered for cabs to the valley and three(!) more pubs .... So overall, the majority of the lords a leapin' and ladies dancing made it to thirteen pubs. I happily bussed it home (after 11 hours of festivities) and managed to wake up fresh as a daisy on sunday. An early walk along the river, some baking and christmas shopping wasn't the ending to the week end I expected and has left me with a false sense of how refreshing a pub crawl can be! 

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