Take plenty of wooden nickels at Sloan's Bar & Grille

It hasn't been a good day for aim. For the past four hours — outside of three different bars in three different neighborhoods — we've been trying to peg street signs with snowballs at distances of less than ten yards. The results, well, they've been sad. Emasculating. Indicative not just of steadily increasing BACs, but of age, gradually decreasing athleticism. Erin is so exasperated and winded from trying that he's lying down in the street. Jesse and I are much too stubborn.

As we continue to miss, splattering wet, heavy snow on the sides of every parked car for half a block, I realize that we are exactly the reason neighborhood bars in residential areas struggle to get liquor licenses. I'd feel bad for the proprietors of Sloan's Bar & Grille and the residents of the modest, single-family homes that surround the Edgewater public house were I not too busy blaming happy hour. Like kids and loaded guns, you just don't give a gaggle of notorious day drinkers 2-for-1 PBR drafts ($3) and well drinks ($4.50) from 2 to 6 p.m. and expect them to do the right thing. You just don't.

But, boy, am I glad Sloan's does. Every day.

Never mind that the Edgewater fire and police departments are located catty-corner to the bar. I only discover this fact hours later, after Jesse has finally nailed that goddamn No Parking sign and we've gone back inside to cause more discreet kinds of trouble.

Gambling, mostly. Oh, we started our afternoon debacle playing Yahtzee — chosen, from an impressive selection of board games, specifically so we could roll dice without losing money — but "tedious" doesn't begin to describe the process when seven lushes in varying states of inebriation throw five dice three times for thirteen rounds. Christ. Never again.

So we switch to street craps, ever so innocently trading the bartender twenty-dollar bills for singles and turning the Yahtzee box on its side for a tossing surface. Some in the group are simply too drunk to concentrate; a couple others have gone for a run around the block because they were starting to pass out but want to keep drinking. I've got my eye on the prize: a growing stack of wooden nickels — the free drinks we've been collecting with every PBR and well — that we're strategically saving for after 6 p.m.

Except that we don't even make it to 6 p.m. Go figure. Try as we might — via $5 happy-hour nachos and $1 kettle chips and vodka drinks with Red Bull — we fall the fuck apart around 5:30 p.m. We find a way to cash in all those nickels, yessir, but we leave nearly full fallen soldiers all over the table.

Which is sad. Emasculating. But it's the first good decision of the day.

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