Drinking doesn't just need to happen in a dank, joyless bar with your head hunched over the counter and a tear in your beer. It's best done socially, with friends, enemies, strangers and everyone between.
But other than watch sports, complain to the bartender and go clubbing, what are some of the best activities to actually do while you're downing your adult beverage of choice, especially here in L.A., where it's next to impossible to enjo y alcohol-fueled functions without risking a DUI?
The truth is, your choices include everything from board games and nail salons to drawing parties and watching burlesque. But whatever it is you wind up doing while you're getting drunk, remember to figure out a safe way to get home: that quirky nude drawing you made or that perfect pedicure you have won't be easily appreciated if you're behind bars.
Here's our list of things you can do L.A. while getting drunk:
An erstwhile storage area in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the Spare Room is a bar that recalls the golden days of old Hollywood, only with classic games and a two-lane bowling alley. Here, patrons can play on custom-built backgammon tables or bowl in specially-made rental shoes. Games include Battleship, checkers, chess, Connect Four, Cribbage, dominoes, Jenga, Mahjong, Mancala, Monopoly, Scrabble and Yahtzee. Part of the experience includes a “games hostess” who takes care of all your gaming needs. House-made liqueurs include such unique flavors as sage lavender, boysenberry fig and wild fennel, and table-side absinthe service features Pernod Ricard Absinthe Superieure. With 27-year-old Yael Vengroff as the Spare Room's new beverage director, you can expect many more interesting cocktails to keep you in the gaming mood. The Spare Room, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 769-7296, spareroomhollywood.com.
Get a Mani/Pedi
When it comes to pampering clients with extras, most nail salons just offer tea, coffee or water, if that. But Mr. Nail Lounge is not most nail salons. Not only does it cater to men, but it also serves up a sleek vibe with big-screen TVs and, perhaps most importantly, stiff drinks. Mr. Nail Lounge doesn't just work on nails, either: Its menu includes things such as a traditional straight-razor shave and beard trims. Most services come with a complimentary (alcoholic) beverage, and the idea has become so popular that Mr. Nail Lounge has begun partnering with various liquor brands to feature a different exclusive beverage each month. Mr. Nail Lounge, 9005 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. (424) 302-0070, mrnaillounge.com.
Attend an Opera
Long before Broadway, people watched operas. Somewhere along the line it got snooty, falling out of favor with everyone except those who could tell you everything about the likes of Rossini, Verdi, Puccini and Bizet. Opera on Tap has 16 chapters across the United States, and each group of classical music pros want to bring opera back to the people by staging performances in places such as clubs and bars. Opera on Tap Los Angeles “managing divo” Damien Elwood says, “The best thing is, the more you drink the better we sound!” Watch for Opera on Tap L.A.'s upcoming St. Patrick's Day and Mother's Day shows at Room 5 Lounge in Hollywood. operaontap.org/losangeles.
See also: Our story on Opera on Tap
While at an artists' residency in Michigan in 2011, Jamie Gaul and Rachael Morrison decided they were tired of just hanging out in the woods and resolved to pick up magazines, scissors and glue to make collages with buddies. Today, they host beer-fueled collage parties in NYC and in L.A., usually at Thank You For Coming in Atwater Village. The pair tries to supply dynamic, eclectic images, but there are no rules or themes when it comes to what people make. That said, “Sex, food, and rock 'n' roll (or some combination of the three) are pretty consistent themes that crop up in the collages,” Morrison observes. “If you think about it, this kind of makes sense when people are drinking.” drinkollage.tumblr.com/about
Susan Sarandon is one of the masterminds behind SPiN, a Ping-Pong social club and drinking establishment in one of L.A.'s most painfully hip hotels, the Standard's downtown location. Complete with cushioned floors, 12 custom Ping-Pong tables and three full bars, SPiN also has a restaurant with fare from executive chef Micah Fields and a rotating lineup of DJs. You might think beer would be the most appropriate libation to pair with the (now) Olympic caliber sport of table tennis, but consider SPiN's specialty cocktails: the Drop Shot with vodka, elderflower liqueur and lychee, or the Spinlini with Prosecco, grapefruit, St Germain, and vodka. Ping-Pong was never this glamorous. SPiN Standard at The Standard, Downtown L.A., 550 S. Flower St., downtown. (213) 439-3065, spinstandard.com.
Many of the world's greatest minds likely had some sort of vice, and when it comes to visual artists, a lot of the greats loved booze. Exploring the relationship between alcohol and creativity, the Drink and Draw Social Club meets regularly at Casey's Irish Pub, while Drink'n'Draw is another regular event that features talks by drinkers as artists draw. And while it's illegal to serve alcoholic beverages inside all-nude strip clubs in California, if the nekkid people are models, it seems firewater is OK. Private Drawing Parties at ArtWorks Studios feature both male and female nude models, adeptly bringing together hooch and cooch.
Look at Art
To a lot of people, it's not really an art opening if there's not some form of booze involved, especially if it's free. From cheap red wine to brand-sponsored liquor, it seems art and alcohol often go hand in hand. L.A. has its fair share of great art galleries for partying, but whether it's inside a pop-up gallery or revered, longstanding brick-and-mortar institution, the art itself is almost always better after a drink (or two).
See a Movie
Once upon a time, people could smoke cigarettes in movie theaters, yet drinking was off limits. Now, in many theaters across Los Angeles, the reverse is true. Maybe it's because they've figured out that a lot of people would prefer to watch the movies at home, on demand, with a succession of beers in hand, or maybe it's just another way for theaters to make money besides charging a ridiculous amount for popcorn. Either way, there's something special about seeing a film on the big screen, and it's even more fun watching it with a drink.
Watch Burlesque Bawdy, retro-themed entertainment like burlesque practically cries out for classic drinks such as a Tom Collins, Sidecar or Gimlet. Indeed, bump-and-grind begs for booze and has become an integral ingredient in the variety-show revival, which in itself is rife with cheeky striptease. It's not easy to yell out “Take it off!” without a little help from the hard stuff. Fortunately, L.A. has its fair share of burlesque acts in which we can all raise a glass to the days when ad execs had bars in their offices and alcohol was the ultimate social lubricant.
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