Bar Belle: Get outta town

Some days this city feels like you threw a birthday party and the only people who showed up are the ones you didn’t invite. You pinch yourself, poke yourself and pound your head into a wall to make sure you’re not dreaming. Unfortunately, you’re not. When this city feels about the size of El Mundo during happy hour, it’s probably a good time to get out of town, which is what I did Memorial Day weekend. Some friends and I headed south to Destin, Fla., where the sand is white, the water is blue and the sunburn is red.

The rules were simple: There was to be no stress. No plans. No activity that didn’t involve sitting or laying or beer. No worrying about deadlines, alarm clocks or fat rolls. If a beer was cracked before 9 a.m., that was a good day. If we ended the night in the ocean (clothing optional), that was a good day. We even rented a pontoon one afternoon and jet-setted around the rich-people neighborhoods — calling dibs on dream houses and chasing a few dolphins. For some reason, they weren’t as playful as the stingrays or jellyfish.

We dropped anchor at Crab Island and were commissioned to join an investigation for a lost wedding ring. I dutifully donned my snorkel mask and began the search, dodging debris in the strong current. When I came up for air and inquired why all my boatmates were on board, they pointed to the school of jellyfish surrounding me, which I had mistaken for trash, or, more specifically, used condoms. I managed to get me and my beer to safety.

We cornholed with the locals and were knocked off our feet by native drinks like The Bushwacker and Pooch Hooch. I can appreciate a culture that tops just about everything with Bacardi 151. All in all, it was a successful trip. The ocean has a way of washing away worries and regrets.

Oh-Shit Moment
Oprah has her A-Ha Moments, I have my Oh-Shit ones — which I experienced Sunday at the Louisville Beer Store. I was plowing through my beer-tasting sheet, which was a little too stouty for my palate, when a young fellow shimmied up to the vacant spot next to me. He looked about 25, and the bartender asked for his ID — and then, BOOM! — it hit me. He didn’t ask for mine. “When’s the last time I was carded?” I thought. Panic ensued. “What if I never get carded again?” If the last time I got carded was my last, I would like to have known. I would have thrown a party and registered for gifts. I would have acknowledged it and come to terms with it. I’ve been legally drinking since Clinton was in office — am I old? I need a drink.

Bar of the Week
Finally a gay bar in the Highlands! Big Bar opened last month in the tiny vacant spot (formerly the Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot Highlands) next to the Wine Market at Bardstown Road and Lucia Avenue. I was worried how they’d squeeze a hangout spot into such cramped quarters, but it seems to be working for now. The patio is mostly packed every night of the week, and the bar stools are almost always occupied — at least every time I stop in to grab a beer and catch up with friends. Owner Kevin Bryan even did major renovations to the inside, adding a little swank, charm and chandelier action to the ambiance. My only complaint — with only one bathroom, there are sometimes long lines.

Big Bar hosts a happy hour every weekday from 4-8 p.m. featuring $3 wells and $2.50 domestic bottles. They also have a few decent beers on tap, including Sierra Nevada and Southern Tier 2x IPA (yum!), and Sunday specials on bloody marys ($5) and mimosas ($4). Big Bar is at 1202 Bardstown Road. Come say hello if you’re in the neighborhood! Chances are I’ll need a fresh beer.

Drunk Texts of the Week
• Cuz i took vow of till death do us party
• I will cuddle after a finger huddle
• They call me Mr. Coffee because I grind so fine.
• Thats funnier than shit in the face!

Send your drunk texts to [email protected]. My blog is at barbelle.leoweekly.com. Word.