When it comes to a day-drinking pub crawl, there are a few important things to remember: 1) You have all day to drink, so don’t be in a rush; 2) You have all day to drink, so pace yourself; 3) You have all day to drink, so you can almost always expect an early night.
We did our best to keep these truths in mind as eight of us landed in College Park on a sunshiny Sunday afternoon for a DIY Cinco de Mayo pub crawl along the main commercial corridor, Edgewater Drive. You know the saying: Friends don’t let friends stay sober. (Especially when there’s tequila involved, but we’ll get to that later.)
Our day began at an outdoor high-top table at Ollie’s Public House (3400 Edgewater Drive) with buckets of ice-cold Dos Equis and Negra Modelo. Some might remember this spot as the former Jax 5th Ave or know that it has the same owners as downtown’s Finnhenry’s, but no one can help but notice its unusually close proximity – literally within steps – of Edgewater High School. One of us (OK, it was me) insisted we order a round of Ollie’s infamous “pickle shots” to pump up the volume. And while Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey might not support the Cinco theme, the spicy pickle-juice chaser in the Dirty Finn ($4) was actually quite refreshing.
After the shots, we moved south along Edgewater Drive to new(ish) digs: the Local Bar & Grill (3231 Edgewater Drive). To our disappointment, the place didn’t open until 4 p.m., but that just meant we’d have to make a return trip later on. This roadblock didn’t stop us from heading south toward our intended target: tequila. And while the half-mile or so trek down Edgewater is totally walkable, we opted to drive to our next locale.
“This is like an adult Slurpee,” one of us gushed as the bartenders at Paxia Modern Mexican & Tequila Lounge (2611 Edgewater Drive) mixed up a host of CoronaRitas for our group. They were served in cups closely resembling the ones at 7-Eleven.
Fully engaging in the Cinco de Mayo spirit, we gorged on Paxia’s habañero-strawberry guacamole, and then dove headfirst (or shots-up, rather) into the bar’s tequila menu – not an easy feat, considering they offer more than 250 types of tequila, ranging from $5.50-$110. (At this point, admittedly, we were aiming for quantity over quality.) Surprisingly, the place wasn’t overly crowded, and although the ladies in our group weren’t down with the one-stall bathroom situation, we slurped down our margs at two-tops by the bar before making our way back to the Local.
Housed in the space that was formerly Alfonso’s Pizza, the Local is your typical dive bar: a little dark, a little smoky, with a pool table/darts area and a group of afternoon regulars in residence. The staff didn’t seem too welcoming when we walked in. But that’s understandable, I suppose, because we were a group of rowdy, inebriated, newbie bar-crashers. Nevertheless, we continued our Cinco de Drinko with a few Dos Equis pitchers for the table while the guys headed for the pool tables and the girls played a bit of the Bobs (Marley and Seger) on the jukebox.
At some point – between the “Night Moves” dance party, the shots of Pinnacle Blueberry vodka shots, and the shattered beer-bottle mishap – the bartender offered “a gift to the table” in the form of a free pitcher of beer.
Walking out into the way-too-bright late afternoon sunlight, we knew then and there that even if you don’t live in College Park, if you spend enough time in the area, you’ll soon be treated like a regular.