Roo Bar

Have you ever seen the look on someone's face the first time he rides a roller coaster? It's a mixture of abject fear, exhilaration and satisfaction that he has a foolproof plan for killing you in your sleep because you assured him that the roller coaster wasn't in the least bit scary. This same convoluted look was very much in evidence at Roo Bar (158 Fillmore Street) when the entire Institute of Drinking Studies (minus the Liaison for Redneck Relations) descended on the basement bar after getting thoroughly pre-lubricated at Bob's Steak and Chop House.

The Institute urges you to consider Roo Bar for those nights out when you're part of a big group looking to blow off some serious steam with twice as many drinks as you all can handle. There are pool tables where couples can pair up. Those feeling more social can crowd into booths that hold up to twenty people (six on either side, four behind them on the next booths' seats, and two at either end), all talking at the same time so that only those who use overpowering volume or show strategic skin actually get noticed.

Not that things get any calmer through the rest of the bar. There's an area with plush couches where you can enjoy whatever games are on the tube, and a video game on the bar that demands you pick out the differences between two similar pictures while being distracted by an increasingly (as you score higher) undressed woman. The Latin Representative and his bride, the Head of Female Drinking Pathology, once played this game for several hours, and we all watched as she became more and more agitated at her inability to fully undress the video subject. Far more distressing this night, though, was the Jewish Representative's playing an anti-Semite, and the Heads of Pathologic Drinking and Instant Drunks regaling much of the crowd with a discourse on sexual perversions that would have Mr. Garrison and Mr. Slave blushing.

And then came the most important part of the evening: making it home safely to later enjoy our well-deserved hangovers.

This is something that should not be taken lightly, especially this time of year. People regularly drink and drive, rationalizing their behavior because they need their cars the next morning or just can't sleep anywhere but their own beds. After a couple of drinks, you can damn near convince yourself of anything. But even if those couple of drinks were two beers, you get in a fender bender with someone who was sober driving the wrong way on a one-way street, and you're off to the slammer because you blew an 0.08.

So here's the Institute's seasonal reminder: There are many ways to prevent potential disaster. We obviate the risk by taking a chariot to and from the bar, even if it's in a Cherry Creek basement only a half-mile from home. All you have to do is dial a lot of 3s, 7s or, in the case of the Latin Representative, 8s for Taxi Latino. You can also designate a driver, of course, but we here at the Institute feel this is a highly unreliable plan unless said driver has another motive for not drinking -- like being pregnant. And finally, No DUI Denver is a service that for a nominal fee (certainly nominal compared to legal fees and shower time in the slammer) will pick you up and drive you home in your own car so that you can get up at noon the next day and make a beeline for Taco Bell. The folks behind this enterprise deserve a Nobel Prize or a large federal grant.

Over the holidays, we all indulge a little more -- possibly because we're all depressed at the amount of time we're going to be spending with family. So it's imperative that you plan in advance for how the overindulgent you is going to get home -- and when you decide to deviate from that plan through deductive reasoning involving several beers, you need devoted friends who will tell you you're an idiot even though they've had several beers, too. Because everyone deserves another ride on the roller coaster.

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Patrick Osborn