Jan 12, 2012

First Review of 2012: The Tap House

After a six month writing hiatus in which I survived several stints of alcoholism, no cable TV, and one adventurous crack binge, the Erie Bar Review is back and better than ever!  Seriously though, I’ve been busy as shit lately and just didn’t have the time.  My apologies to all the (3 or 4) devoted fans of the blog.  Since my last post in June, we killed Osama Bin Laden and Tebow Mania has taken over the country.  Don’t worry though, sometime during the offseason, while everyone thinks he’s in Africa doing missionary work, he’ll get busted for a DUI with a coked-out hooker in his passenger seat.  I’m calling it now!

We’ll kick off the new year with a review of The Tap House, located at 4th and State.  Right off the bat I have to say I’m a HUGE fan of this place.  Before I decided to review The Tap House, I had only been there a two or three times.  Now that I’ve spent more time at the place, trying new beers and tasting the food, I realize how much value it adds to the city of Erie.  First of all they have arguably the best craft beer selection in town, offering a variety of ales, stouts, lagers - pretty much anything you can think of.  I don’t consider myself a beer connoisseur, but I’m pretty damn close.  I pride myself on having a knack for finding a good hoppy IPA (India Pale Ale) and The Tap House never fails at satisfying my hop-activated taste buds.  According to one of their bartenders, they update the 22-beer draft menu about every other day, which is a blessing for beer lovers.  Here’s a sample of draft list from December:

How many of those beers have you heard of?  Three?  Maybe four?  That’s the beauty of it.  I hate to use the phrase kid in a candy store, but there’s really no better way to describe my feelings the first time I was at The Tap House.  It’s like the first time you make out with a girl; you just want to go out and tell everyone about how great it was and how next time you plan on feeling up her boobies, and maybe the time after that you’re going to get a hand job.  Same goes for The Tap House, but instead of boobs and hand jobs you’re telling everyone about you only got to try the Troegs Mad Elf Christmas Ale today, however tomorrow you’re going for the Bell’s Cherry Stout.

Along with the 20-plus beers on tap, there’s also an impressive menu of bottled beer, including one of my all-time favorites, Chimay Grande Reserve.  You can sample as many brews as you want, just like Sam’s Club, but without the old ladies.  They have wine and liquor too for those stubborn people who refuse to drink beer.

Let’s side track for a minute to admire an industry that has now become commonplace in just about every American city:  local craft breweries.  Do me a favor and read this short article on the History of Craft Breweries that I found when trying to google the difference between a craft beer and a microbrew, which by the way is not worth looking into because you’ll never figure it out.  It’s like asking which Jonas brother you’d like to kill first.  In my opinion (which is never wrong), craft breweries are larger than microbreweries. So Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada would be examples of craft breweries, while little known local companies like Lavery Brewing Company on 12th Street would be a microbrewery.  With that being said, I’d kill the youngest brother first.  Anyways, the one thing from that article that really surprised me was the fact that in 1980 there were only 8 craft breweries.  The Tap House thrives on these type of beers, so I felt it was worth mentioning.

There’s never really been a place quite like it, and I’m not just talking about the extensive list of microbrew and craft beers.  The other trait that gives The Tap House a leg up on the competition is class, something Erie lacks citywide.  I’ve heard the Tap House referred to as a yuppie bar, and in some ways it is.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It just means you shouldn’t go there to get shitfaced on a Friday night; you’d look like an asshole.  It’s not like Boardwalk where you’re expected to act like a drunken douchebag, trying to grind on every desperate slut on the dance floor.  You have to appear…how do I say this…mature?  I know this is tough for those of you still stuck in the college freshman way of life.  Although I’ll have to admit, after drinking a couple Old Curmudgeons, maintaining any level of class could be impossible.

All in all, I’d put The Tap House as one of my top three drinking establishments in town.  Although their prices are higher than what you’re probably used to ($5-$6 per drink on average), it’s justified in the quality of beer.  The best time to go is during happy hour, which is from 5-7pm where they have half off drafts and appetizers.  As for the food, I’ve tried the pizza muffins, quesadilla, buffalo chicken sandwich, and the margarita pizza.  I was more than happy with all of them.  Hell, even if the food was awful I’d still go to this place because of the beer.  Also keep in mind that the food prices aren’t bad at all, which makes happy hour an even better value.  I’d suggest getting there no later than 5:30 on most weekdays because it gets packed faster than the gym after new years.

Since day one The Tap House has been a popular place, so don’t expect it to go away anytime soon.  If you haven’t been there yet, then get your ass to 4th and State this winter, or you’ll regret it.  Besides, have I ever let you down?

Jun 23, 2011

Sluggers, MMA, and the New Age of the American Badass

6 Easy Steps to Being the Coolest Guy at Sluggers
  1. Buy excessive amounts of Tapout or Affliction t-shirts (one size too small)
  2. Throw out all other clothing
  3. Tanning membership
  4. Arm tattoos, lots of them
  5. Flex for all photos, but don’t make it obvious
  6. Get a motorcycle and never wear your helmet
Easy enough, right? 

If I were to take a survey asking random people in Erie what their favorite bar is, the results would vary.  You’d probably get a high percentage picking The Plymouth, maybe Boardwalk.  Now let’s narrow the participants of that same survey to type-A crazies and MMA tools; Sluggers Sports Bar & Grill wins by a landslide.  I’m not trying to be an asshole, because I happen to like Sluggers for the most part.  It just seems like every time I go there I see at least five guys that look like this…

Now don’t jump to conclusions, I’m not anti-MMA or anything, but doesn’t it seem like too many people are jumping on the bandwagon?  Most of which have probably never been in a real fight.  It goes to show that Americans in general are a bunch of front runners, just like 90% of people from Miami.

I’m just appalled that the Jersey Shore movement has gained this much momentum in a city like Erie.  I’ll pause so all you MMA fanatics can have a moment to relax after reading that I just compared the Jersey Shore to mixed martial arts.  Am I really that far off though?  The two personas may be different in many ways but they still share several distinct qualities; big muscles, over-confident mentality, meaningless tattoos.   Is this really what the image of the American tough guy has become in 2011? Let’s take a step back in time and analyze how 'The American Badass' have evolved over the years…

Early 1900’s:  Back in the day when toughness was measured solely by your actions, not muscles and appearance.   Al Capone was the original American Gangster who set the all-time bar for extreme badassness.

Late 1970’s – “Eeeeeehh!!”

1980’s – Fearless.  Intimidating.  Awesome.  As a Raiders fan I just wish I grew up during the 80’s when Howie was in his prime, the Raiders were dominating everyone in the league, and Al Davis didn’t look like this…

(Not a badass)

1990’s - I don’t care if people dispute my call on this one.  I stand my ground in saying that Biggie and Tupac were true American badasses that took pop culture by storm in the early 90’s.  Seriously, how can you look at this pic and not pee your pants just a bit?  Thug life, bitch.

Late 1990’s - Quite possibly my favorite fictional American badass of all time, Stone Cold established himself as one of the most unique, charismatic villains in the history of the WWF.  I’ll never forget the night he did this to Vince McMahon.

2000-2001: I know, Maximus wasn’t American (either is Russell Crowe for that matter) but don’t you think that his ultra-badass demeanor should transcend the scope of this list?  Me too.

2011: Damnit…

I’m taking this opportunity to completely change topics so I can introduce a new type of crazy:

Subtype C-1:  The Mechanic

The mechanic is a type of girl who is both ambitious and successful but deliberately dates low-life guys because she thinks it’s her responsibility to ‘fix’ him; hence, The Mechanic.  Usually these guys are unemployed (by choice) or get by as full-time weed dealers.  They’ll mooch off their girlfriends for as long as they possibly can until she gets sick of it and breaks up with him, or he knocks her up.  Ladies, if your boyfriend commonly says things like: “Baby can I borrow some money for my phone bill, I promise I’ll pay you back next week!” or “Sweetheart I forgot my wallet in the car, can you pay for dinner tonight?” then you might be a mechanic.  It’s never too late to change, just look at Ben Roethlisberger… Ok bad example, you’re probably screwed.

Before I continue with the Sluggers review, I have to promo an intriguing website I found while googling for an Al Capone pic:  www.badassoftheweek.com .  Apparently there’s at least one other guy in the world that likes to waste time judging people by their badassness.

Back to the review…

I had my first experiences at Sluggers at the tender age of 18, when it was still called Peccadillos. Ahhh yes, we all remember college ID night at Peccas, right?  Back when all you needed was a handle of Vladdy, a gallon of OJ, and a burning desire to dance.  Needless to say those days are gone, but today Sluggers is one of the most popular bars in downtown Erie. 

While Slugs is definitely one of my favorite places to drink on weekends, there are still a few more negatives that I simply can’t ignore.  First of all, their management needs to seriously consider setting a limit on the number of people they let in.  It comes to a point where the place is so packed that you can’t even get to the bathroom and end up pissing your pants like Ernie from Billy Madison.  My other pet peeve is poor service and Sluggers takes the cake in this department.  If I had a nickel for every time I waited longer than 10 minutes to get a drink there, I’d probably have like three bucks.  Some people think that the shitty service is from not having enough bartenders when it’s busy, but I blame management for hiring people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing.   The cardinal rule for bartending at a busy bar is that you serve the patron who has been waiting the longest.  At Sluggers they ignore this concept entirely and just go to the first guy waving a twenty in the air or the girl showing the most cleavage.  That’s some shameful shit.  Amateurs.

Besides those minor annoyances, Sluggers is a quality establishment and the owners have clearly invested a lot of cash to keep it that way.  They always have good drink specials so you don’t have to be a baller to hang out there. To be honest I’ve only tried their food a couple times and it was decent.  Their website has photos of flame grilled steaks and shrimp that make it seem like Gordon Ramsey is in the kitchen whipping up gourmet dishes.  Don’t get your hopes up, its nothing special.
Overall I’ll give them a 7/10 with the potential to be a 9.  Get your shit together Sluggers and I'll review my review.

Apr 29, 2011

A national crisis...

Forget about the violent protests in Syria.  Forget about the aftermath in Japan.  Let’s talk about something more serious: Crazies.  Unfortunately, the ratio of crazies to non-crazies has been getting steadily worse for the last decade or so.  Through extensive field research and countless scientific studies, I’ve concluded that at least 78% of all women are crazy in some way, shape, or form.  This is up from 75% last year and 73% in 2009.  The reasoning in somewhat unclear, but in my opinion it’s a direct reflection of two factors: a girl’s upbringing (crazy moms breed crazy daughters) and the over-exposure of attractive females on television and the internet.  In a previous blog I explained how the abundance of modern media outlets is negatively shaping our culture, and I use similar reasoning for this topic.  You see, these days, teenage girls watch shows like the bachelor and subconsciously think that they have to look like those models in order to get more attention from guys (which is true in a way).  This fucks with their self-esteem and amplifies their insecurities, which in turn makes them crazy.  You see how it all links together?  It’s a sad truth, because finding a girl with a decent head on her shoulders is becoming more and more of a struggle.  Now I know what its like to live in China.

However a common mistake made in the analysis and discussion of crazies is overgeneralization and making assumptions like being crazy is always a bad thing.  How often do you hear someone say “Man, that bitch is crazy!”?  But what does that even mean?  Crazy in what way?  Too often do we throw the word around like it’s a one-size-fits-all, but the reality is that “crazy” needs to be viewed as a hierarchal system of terms and definitions with a clear emphasis on the tangibles.  In other words, what are the things that she does or says that makes you say she’s crazy?  Understanding this system is crucial to avoiding disasters that have plagued men for generations.  Such disasters include: sleeping with the wrong kind of crazy, taking a crazy out in public, and lastly, marrying a crazy. 

One of the most common and effective tools for analysis is the Hot-Crazy Scale, as explained by Neil Patrick Harris on the show How I Met Your Mother.  Simply put, the hotter a girl is, the crazier she is.  Most of my friends agree that the hot-crazy relationship is accurate 9 times out of 10.  It’s a risk-reward type of thing, so be cautious fellas.

Just saying that a girl is crazy lacks clarity and doesn’t emphasize the more significant aspects of her behavior.  For example, if you’re at a bar with a friend who wants to hook up with a girl you know personally, you can’t just say “Watch out man, she’s crazy.”  You’d be sending him blindfolded through a mine field.  There must be an explanation to communicate the type/degree of craziness he’s up against.  Instead, try something like “Last year she dated (insert name) and stopped taking her birth control so she could get pregnant and force him to stay with her .”  At this point, unless you’re friend is highly intoxicated and/or has no morals (often the case), he’s going to recognize the high risks and low rewards of sleeping with a stage-5 clinger and avoid a potential disaster.  Time and time again I’ve seen this communication failure lead to a never-ending series of incidents with the aforementioned crazy.  The sooner you find out she’s crazy the better.  Early diagnosis is key.

Now let’s go over the three main types of crazy…

Type A:  Surface crazy

AKA – Center of attention
AKA Insta-Crazy
AKA Just Add Water
AKA – Energizer Bunny
AKA – “Less-than-20-texts-a-day-means-you’re-not-putting-in-the-effort”

You know how sometimes you meet a girl and your first thought is, “She’s probably bat-shit crazy!”  Well, that means she’s a type A.  Being the most common crazy, Type A’s thrive on attention and constantly find creative ways to get it.  How many times have you been at a bar/restaurant with a Type A and she makes a scene for no apparent reason? I stopped counting at 50. Perfect example: One time in college I was out with a group of friends and one of them brought his girlfriend.  She made a scene and started bawling her eyes out because the bartender made her drink with well rum instead of captain.  True story of a Type A meltdown.   Surface Crazies are like a ticking time bomb, actually no, more like a fucking proximity mine.

Type B:  Closet crazy

AKA – Don’t push the red button
AKA – “She seemed normal!!”

In my opinion, type B’s are the best type of crazy.  While Type A’s want everyone to know they’re nuts, Type B’s avoid any sort of situation that would compromise their perceived normalcy. They usually self-diagnose themselves at an early age and go out of their way to keep it a secret.  Type B’s don’t like the same type of attention that most crazies do, so you don’t have to worry about making a scene in public.  While most of the time this works in the our favor, be careful, cause things could turn into a complete shit storm when you least expect it, kind of like New Orleans…too soon?

Type C: Relationship Crazy

AKA – "If-you-cheat-on-me-I'll-cry-for-a-day-then-forgive-you-because-I'm-so-insecure-that-I-can't-handle-being-single"
AKA – "I'm-super-hot-but-I'm-gonna-date-a-douchebag-to-make-a-statement-and-piss-Ryan-off"

Most of us have at least one friend who is dating a Type C, simply because Type C’s are always in a relationship.  They bounce around, dating guys for two or three months at a time before clinging to someone else.  Every so often you’ll see a Relationship Crazy last more than a year with a boyfriend, but that’s usually because he is equally crazy.  The shitty thing is that you never find out she’s crazy until weeks, sometimes months down the road.  Type C’s are super insecure and hard to keep happy.   Guys who date them sleep with one eye open, cause you never know when she’ll have a dream that you cheated on her and somehow find a way to blame you.  Luckily I’ve never dated a Type C, but I know from talking with friends over the years that they’re well known for going through text messages in their boyfriend’s phone.  In my opinion, this is an absolute deal breaker; but what do I know, I’ve only been in two long term relationships in my life.   Jennifer Aniston is a perfect example of a Type C for obvious reasons; she can’t film a movie without falling “in love” with a co-star,  

Hybrid Crazy

Then there’s the hybrid crazy, who is a combination of different types of crazy.  Hybrid crazies are like bald eagles, once considered an endangered species, but populations in America have been on the rise since the mid 1990’s. Hybrid crazies are extremely dangerous and should always be approached with caution.  In the movie Underworld Evolution there was a werewolf/vampire hybrid, he possessed traits of both mythical races and kicked major ass throughout the movie.  You wouldn’t fuck with a hybrid werewolf-vampire, just like you wouldn’t fuck with a hybrid crazy.  Someone needs to start a petition that says all hybrids have to register to a national database, like convicted sex offenders…Ok maybe that’s a little harsh, but they should at least have to wear a name tag or something.  

Well, now that I've ruined my chance with any girl that just read this blog, its time to have a drink, or ten.

Side Note:  I originally planned on this blog being a bar review for Sluggers on 10th street, but I got carried away with the crazy discussion.  Sorry, you can expect the review next week.

Mar 27, 2011

Edinboro nightlife.. living the dream

Edinboro Pennsylvania, where the beer flows like wine, and beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano…seriously though, I hate this town.  I moved here last May to be closer to my job but have regretted it ever since.  Only in Edinboro are camo shorts not only accepted but encouraged.  The university is essentially a big high school; the hot chicks only date the athletes and everyone else is in some sort of clique.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some cool people here but in the end I realized that I just don’t fit in and it’s probably time to move back to civilization.

I’ve decided to group together the Boro bars into one review since all but one are insignificant and frankly kind of lame, but worth some sort of analysis.  The only place I enjoy hanging out is The Hotel Bar (aka The Hotel), besides that there is The Empty Keg, The Boro Bar, and The Copper Coin.  Every bar except for the Copper Coin is located along the same strip in downtown Edinboro on I-99.  I’ll breeze through the other three just to get them out of the way.

The Empty Keg is an average bar in just about every aspect.  I was told when I first moved here that the Keg is more of an ‘artsy bar’ which is pretty much true.  Since Edinboro is a big art school, you’ll find a lot of weird hipster chicks and intellectual douchebags around town, and they typically gather at the Keg.  You know, the type of people that thrive on being individualistic, wear fake designer glasses, and do everything in their power to deviate from cultural norms.  The type of people that I mock as soon as I crack open my first beer.  But hey, at least The Keg makes good cheeseburgers…

*related side note:  check out this hilarious blog comparing the stereotypical frat guy to hipsters/scenesters, and how those two subcultures have gradually blended together.  The Super-Douche: Gino vs. Hipster


The Boro Bar is next and I really don’t have much to say about it.  Until they banned smoking a few months ago I compared this place to a dungeon, or as my buddy Rodgers always says, Satan’s asshole.  The combination of poor lighting and low quality tables/chairs is just depressing and I feel the need to shower every time I leave.

The Copper Coin:  classic ‘townie bar’ where all the local old-heads hang out during the week.  Good food, good prices.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Like I mentioned, The Hotel Bar is our main stomping grounds and the closest thing there is to a college bar in the Boro.  The owner Pat does a great job of running the place and invests a lot of his own time there which you have to respect from a patron standpoint.  I like to joke that my personal contributions (read: drinking problem) over the past nine months have helped pay the bills at The Hotel.  The thing that my friends and I love is that he only hires good looking college girls for bartenders and they’re all down to earth for the most part.   If it wasn’t for The Hotel, I’d have probably blown my brains out by now.  The only negative I really have to say is that they typically use those little one-ounce plastic cups for shots and likewise to measure liquor for mixed drinks, but the prices are pretty good so I’m not going to complain.  In general, The Hotel is just a great atmosphere on weekends and their daily drink specials are better than average.  Their chef makes great food and usually comes out to personally ask how your meal was.  Little things like that go a long way for maintaining a strong customer base at a restaurant/bar. If you’re in town on a Thursday, make it a point to stop at The Hotel for steak night, it’s delicious.

So maybe I was a little harsh on this town because I went to school in State College, which is a completely different atmosphere.  In reality, nights in Edinboro can be a good time, it just depends on the type of person you are.  I’m sure when I’m living in Erie a few months from now I’ll be reminiscing about a funny story that happened in the Boro and start screaming like Jack Shephard from Lost when they left the island (sound clip): “We have to go back Kate… WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!” 

Mar 9, 2011

The Plymouth Tavern.. and Charlie Sheen

Food:  7/10
Price:  8/10
Quality of Service: 8/10
Cleanliness: 8/10
Atmosphere: 9/10

I’ll get to The Plymouth review in just a moment, because there’s something much more important to discuss:  Charlie Sheen.  I still can’t fathom how fast this whole ordeal has spiraled out of control, but I love it, and so do all of you, even if you won’t admit it.  There is hardly anything newsworthy about him, but the fact that he’s a raging maniac and willing to do interviews makes it the number one headline of the year.  What has transpired in the last several weeks embodies everything that modern day media has done to the American culture.  Let’s go over some of the leading headlines in recent years:

1)        Jersey Shore cast holding out for bigger contracts
2)      Charlie Sheen acting like… Charlie Sheen
3)      Lindsay Lohan’s jail sentence(s)
4)      John & Kate plus eight

And that’s just off the top of my head, the list goes on forever.  These storylines have one thing in common:  ZERO RELEVANCE!  Seriously, how the fuck did Kate Gosselin become more famous than Obama?  What has she done!?  Why is she famous!?  GOD JUST TELL ME WHY!!! 

With the 24/7 internet news cycle these days, we find out about things instantly. If Katy Perry farts in public, TMZ will have a sound bite in a matter of minutes.  That’s just the way things are and it’s kind of sad.  But once again, I’m being a slight hypocrite because I can’t get enough of the never-ending Charlie Sheen debacle.  His lunacy has led to me adding terms like ‘winning’ and ‘Odonis DNA’ into everyday conversations.  I can’t help it.  By the way, even if you don’t care about him, please watch this youtube video.  My buddy showed this to me last week when I was in Boston and I nearly pissed myself. 

What did you say? This is supposed to be a blog about The Plymouth?  Woops.

Located in the heart of downtown, The Plymouth Tavern arguably has more tradition than any other bar in Erie, and you can sense it from the moment you walk in.  It serves as a multi-functional establishment meaning you could have a nice dinner in the evening and then go out later and get hammered with a group of friends.  Solid management and a deep history make the Plymouth a staple of downtown Erie.

If you haven’t been to quarter drafts on a Monday at the Plymouth then mark it on your calendar.  I guess this is mainly a night for college kids (and just poor people in general) to go out and get wasted for less than $5.  One thing that always bothered me about Monday’s is when I see people drink quarter drafts all night, get a $4.50 bill from the waitress, and then tip her 20%.  You’d be surprised how often this happens.  She works her ass off all night to keep the drinks coming and you reward her by tipping a buck?!  No fucking way.  I’m laying the law down right now. During quarter draft nights you must tip the waitress at least 100% of your bill, otherwise you will be branded an inconsiderate asshole.

The waitresses aren’t exactly Victoria’s Secret models, but they get the job done with a smile and rarely screw up.  I can’t say the same about our bitchy waitress at the Fox and Hound last night, who was standing right behind me when I muttered to my friend “tell her to fucking smile next time.”  She did.

For all you smokers out there, the Plymouth has a really nice outdoor courtyard with tables and plenty of standing room to suck those cancer sticks.  They also have a back bar which can be efficient during high volume hours on weekends.  You rarely have to wait to get a drink.  Lastly, the TV situation isn’t too bad, especially when they have the projector on.  They have several smaller TV’s scattered throughout the restaurant as well.

What else can I say about a place that has given (and taken) some of the best Monday nights of my life.  Good food, good prices, and just a nice place to hang out.  Winning.

Mar 1, 2011

Fox & Hound

Food:  8/10
Prices: 6/10
Quality of Service:  7/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
Atmosphere: 10/10

When I think of Fox and Hound I think of hot waitresses and good beer.  Sure the drink prices aren’t the best compared to other places around Peach Street, but if you can’t afford a $6 beer then get a real job asshole.  Good luck finding a tall draft for that price in any major city.  To counterbalance their prices, Fox and Hound has $2 pints every Tuesday from open til close which is one of my favorite drink specials around, especially considering their impressive draft beer selection.  In fact I’m typing this on a Tuesday; can you guess where 
I’ll be in a few hours?

They have eight high quality pool tables along with a shuffle board, which I recently discovered is an addicting game to play when drunk. You have to pay for the pool tables by the hour, which can be good or bad, depending on how fast the games go.  Speaking of shuffle board, what’s the deal with these new arcade-style shuffle board games popping up everywhere?  It ruins all the fun to have to rely on a computer to tell you where the puck landed.

The bartenders and wait staff are mostly attractive girls between ages 18-25, therefore it’s the perfect place for creepy middle-aged men to go for happy hour so they can hit on waitresses and prove to their co-workers (or themselves) that they “still got it”.  I may be stereotyping a bit here, but these are the guys who constantly tell the same story over and over about how much pussy they got in college.

Speaking of stereotypes, have you played the Sports Champions game for Playstation move?  The amount of racial profiling in that game is a bit over the top.  First of all, the white guy’s name is Dallas, he has huge muscles and wears a tanktop with sunglasses.  The black guy’s name is Jackson, he wears a do-rag, a basketball jersey and has a big gold chain.  One of the more subtle stereotypes is that the Asian guy is always the hardest character to beat in ping pong.  Ridiculous.

I had a hard time rating the quality of service category because I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum.  Nine times out of ten there are two hostesses opening the front doors for customers going in and out, which is always nice and adds a unique touch of class.  On the other hand, there have been a few times when I’m sitting at the bar and it takes the bartender 10 minutes to even notice me.  Some days are hit or miss but overall the service is better than average.

I recently joined the All-Star Brew Club which is Fox and Hound’s rewards program for all the frequent beer drinkers (aka alcoholics), which I must say is worth it.  Even though you can’t get more than 4 points per visit, once you reach 50 points overall you get half off wings for life!  Can’t beat that. Plus you get $5 loaded on the card just for signing up. 

They have several HDTV’s scattered throughout the restaurant, so you’re never in a seat with a bad view when it comes to watching sporting events.  Perfect place to be for NFL Sundays.  On top of that, they have a board with a list of everything that’s going to be on each TV throughout the night.  As we say in the biz, they’re on top of their shit.

Overall, the Fox and Hound is one of my favorite establishments in Erie.  If you haven’t been there, go for dinner some night and try it out.  The food is pretty good and the atmosphere is always lively.

Feb 24, 2011


People from Erie love to drink, it’s in our blood.  Nobody is going to disagree with me there.  While the recession has been putting companies out of business in most major industries throughout northwest Pennsylvania, the bar and restaurant industries are thriving.  Besides, what else is there to do in a town whose number one attraction is a polluted lake with a few “beaches.” Seriously, Presque Isle beaches are so shitty that the makers of the movie ‘The Road’ (a depressing film about a man and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world) decided to film part of the movie on the shores of Lake Erie.  I can just imagine how that conversation went,

Producer – “Where should we film the scene where they get to the shore line?”

Director – “I don’t know but its gotta be a real shit hole.  Remember, this place has to look like its been through a nuclear fallout.”

Producer – “Ever been to Erie, Pennsylvania?”

The next best thing is our three semi-pro sports teams, and when you go to those games its almost a requirement to get drunk.  Combine this with the growing number of college students in the area and you can see why bars are always packed on weekends.  Studies show that the average blood alcohol content of any man, woman, or child walking down State Street on a Friday night is 0.20.  It’s a fact.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, so I’ll get to the point.  I decided to start this blog for one reason: a couple of my friends are developing a website called Erie Barz that posts and updates weekly specials at popular restaurants and bars throughout the Erie area.  I loved the idea and thought it would be cool to have reviews written for each establishment.  I figured it might help bring hits to the site.  Also, this is a perfect opportunity for me to showcase two of my favorite hobbies: drinking and criticizing.

Next question, am I even qualified to do this?  The answer is not really, but its my blog so back off bitch.  I have no experience as a writer but I’ve held a few jobs in the restaurant business including bartender, server, and cook. Chances are I’ll spend half of the time critiquing each place with a completely subjective and bias attitude, and the other half rambling.
If you know me then you know that humor and socializing are big parts of my life.  I work during the week, but I still party like a college kid on weekends…and the occasional Thursday night.  I go out with friends and drink as much as possible until 2am with no regard for my health or well being.  I know what you’re thinking: “But Ryan, you’re one of the most intelligent, charming, and just downright handsome men in Erie, shouldn’t you be trying to settle down with a girl?”  Yea, probably, but until I meet that girl I’ll just continue to socially binge drink and waste my money every weekend.  In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t be looking for love on a barstool at 2am in the back of the Plymouth, but that’s beside the point. 

My first review will be for the Fox and Hound, I hope to have it posted by the weekend.