I just about walked out of Legend's (201 Milwaukee, 303-320-4710) a few minutes after walking in. I'd never been inside this bar before, despite having walked past it numerous times while taking the Great Circle route back to my apartment after just the right number of Black and Tans at the Cherry Cricket. During these journeys, I always thought that Legend's would be a cool bar -- mainly because it was in the basement, so it would be dark and comfortable on a summer day. Also, there were often killer smells coming out of the place. I didn't know what the kitchen was making, but I knew it would be addictive.
So finally, the Institute of Drinking Studies decided to make Legend's our headquarters during game seven of the NBA Western Conference Finals, knowing full well -- as did every Michigan fan in the world -- that Chris Webber would choke at the end. He did, and I was right again: Legend's was a cool bar. It was dark and cool and full of that smell. There were wide-screen hi-def TVs everywhere, each showing a different game; the back room had the requisite pool table and Golden Tee. The bar itself sported a wide array of bottled beer and multiple chalkboards listing the tap beers and specials. I decided to go with an old favorite and ordered a Black and Tan.
"We're out of Guinness," the waitress said.
"I'm sorry, what?" I replied, thinking that the message must have gotten garbled in transmission.
"We're out of Guinness," she repeated.
At first I panicked that terrorists had hijacked the Guinness truck -- the only reasonable excuse for a sports bar to be out of Guinness.
I seriously considered leaving and heading for my bunker. But other researchers were planning on joining me at Legend's, and they might be ticked off if I wasn't there. Besides, I didn't want my girlfriend to have yet another reason to roll her eyes over my poor planning. Confused, I stayed put and settled for an American microbrew.
I'm glad I stuck around, because we wound up having a great time. I figured out that the smells were coming from the pizza oven, and four of us decided to order a big Sicilian model, hoping it would fill us up. We realized why the waitress laughed at our concern when she returned fifteen minutes later in a small forklift carrying a pizza that weighed over a hundred pounds and was denser than Oprah off her latest diet.
If I hadn't kept my priorities straight and stayed at Legend's, I would have missed the pizza and the fun and the Timberwolves' win. But failing to determine what's really important in life seems to be a common problem. So I'm volunteering the Institute's services to try to fix this. We're going to take some key people out to a bar so that they can re-evaluate what they're doing.
We'll start by inviting the University of Colorado Regents to the bar of CU athletic director Dick Tharp's choosing, where they can figure out why CU administrators from Betsy Hoffman through Gary Barnett are staying when the Air Force Academy knocked off its top four leaders when faced with similar allegations.
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We'll take American mass-produced "beer" company CEOs to another bar, where they'll be forced to admit that their beer sucks and their money would be better spent making real beer than paying for any non-sexually-oriented commercials.
When mellowed by a few drinks, some women may realize that worrying about whether their shoes go with their outfits for so long that you miss the movie previews or insisting that they shower before going to the pool will result in dents in their pastel-painted walls as their boyfriends beat themselves senseless waiting.
Guys, if still sober enough, will learn that it's not necessarily cool to hit on other women when out with their girlfriends -- not when simple leering will do.
If we could all just remember what's really important, I wouldn't have to bitch and moan so much. If you have other issues, let us know. We here at the Institute would be happy to meet you at the nearest bar. Just make sure it has Guinness.