There are many time-honored traditions that guys hold dear. Super Bowl parties, spring break, annual hunting or fishing trips, golf outings, bachelor parties. Especially bachelor parties. We're a sentimental bunch and feel very deeply that every guy deserves to be sent off into marriage after a night of such debauchery that the next day each participant -- not just the groom -- wonders whether it was worth being born.
That question should be enough to keep everyone busy, which means no details of the previous evening will be revealed. Not that many will be capable of recollecting key details. The only one who typically remembers anything is the groom, who uses this stockpile of information to ensure that he has people who will help him move for the rest of his life -- because if they don't, their wives or girlfriends will learn who performed in-depth anatomic study on someone other than said wives or girlfriends at the bachelor party.
A few weeks ago, the little brother of the Head of Research at the Institute of Drinking Studies tied the knot. At one point, the groom-to-be said he didn't really need a bachelor party; fortunately, the Head of Research was able to impress upon his brother that the night was not about him; a bachelor party is simply an excuse for everyone else to go out and drink and act in a deviant manner.
741 East Colfax Avenue
So after several beers and a fifth of Jack Daniel's to pre-lubricate, the party made its way to Sancho's Broken Arrow (741 East Colfax Avenue). Sancho's website (www.quixotes.com/sancho.htm) includes a nice little story explaining the name that I couldn't understand without some sort of chemical enhancement. But it's far more likely that the name comes from an Air Force code for "lost nuclear device," because that's the kind of security response the bar needed to keep control of our party.
Sancho's is decorated in what I would call "New Stoned Age." Every inch of wall space is occupied by old Grateful Dead, Bob Weir and other concert posters reminiscent of Bill Graham's Fillmore East and West -- posters that you could spend hours contemplating, given the appropriate hallucinogen and soundtrack. Within those walls, you usually find young men and women with long hair and bloodshot eyes whose days are devoted to watching SpongeBob Squarepants, organizing their bootleg collections and eating Doritos. It goes without saying that few members of this extremely laid-back, even catatonic crowd were prepared to defend their honor at the air-hockey table.
For us, the air-hockey table is the centerpiece of Sancho's, and for the better part of three hours, the Head of Research, the Researcher Who Joins Us as Often as Family and Conscience Allow and I dominated in Full-Contact Death Air Hockey round-robin play. Although there were some good players in the bar, they didn't have the dedication to win. The three of us hurled our bodies around the table in our quest for victory while onlookers gaped in wonder at our athletic prowess. While I'll admit my record wasn't stellar, I felt no shame and sustained several bruises and cuts that prove I gave 110 percent all night long.
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This may sound like a strange bachelor party, but some people (women) don't understand that there are three types of acceptable bachelor parties. The first, of course, is the typical model in which the economy and lascivious thoughts of the guys present are stimulated by local folk dancers rented out for the evening's entertainment and, with any luck, thoughtful discourse on woman-to-woman relationships. The second is a variation on the first, involving a trek to any number of skin clubs to drink overpriced alcohol and get in trouble for touching the folk dancers until you wish you'd sprung the extra few hundred bucks to rent your own strippers. The Institute officially endorses this second type of party.
Despite its official stance, the Institute also recognizes the utility of a platonic and socially acceptable night out, such as the one we enjoyed at Sancho's. A golf outing fits into the same category: By the end of eighteen holes, you'll have forgotten all promises to stay away from naked women, because after a minimum of a beer a hole with assorted penalty bourbon shots and your baseline beer intake, you'll have a hard time teeing off -- much less abiding by some promise that you didn't mean to keep in the first place.
Finally, there's the combination of all three: the Vegas bachelor party, in which you can partake in wholesome activities like golf and gambling, with more prurient entertainment offered on demand wherever you go. And remember: What happens in Vegas not only stays in Vegas, but it's probably legal there, too.
Whichever variation the guys and groom-to-be decide on, the right venue is crucial for this most important of nights. If it's Sancho's, make sure to bring Doritos and your Full-Contact Death Air Hockey A-game.