Apr 21, 2013

Scenes from a drunken bus pub crawl

I have to hand it to my friends Scott and Richelle – they sure know how to throw a party.  For the last few years, in fact, they've organized a rolling party of sorts for their annual pub crawl by bus to the famous Fast Eddie’s Bon Aire in Alton, Ill.  They call it the annual Fast Eddie’s Party Bus Trip, and if you’re fortunate enough to get an invite, for a mere $30 you can be cruising from bar to bar and back in style. 

It's no short bus.  

Most people bring a small cooler (no bottles, please), a flask or shots and snacks to pass around, and Scott and Richelle are always happy to provide some libations of their own. 

A full bus ...

Cheers, ladies!
If you’re one of my four faithful followers, you may recall when I wrote about last year’s trip, so I won’t bother giving a thorough rundown of the trip, as the stops were the same as the year before.  Instead, I’ll focus on some of the highlights (or lowlights), and what has changed or remained unchanged since the previous trip.  Our first stop … McGuire’s in Farmersville, Ill.

Yep, the bar looks pretty much the same.  Pardon the fuzziness of the picture.  Blame my photography skills and not my level of inebriation at this point.  We must not give McGuire’s a head-up when we’re coming because they never seem to be completely ready for a busload of people to stumble through their door.  However, with a spacious seating area/game room adjacent to the bar, there’s always plenty of room.  They were also more prepared for an occasional wine drinker, as my friend Aissa was served her wine (“we have two choices – white and red”) in a wine glass this year instead of a beer mug.    

Plenty of room for everyone

Host Scott is ready to take Erika to the next stop.
And if you’re daring, you can always try their free vittles.  As much as I was tempted by the wilted subs that were left, I opted to save room for drinking for the time being and wait for Fast Eddie’s.      

Thanks, but I think I'll pass this time.
Second stop … Weezy’s in Hamel, Ill.  Look, they still have the Christmas lights up.

As the sign shows, Weezy’s is a popular biker bar/restaurant on historic Route 66.  The walls inside are loaded with old Route 66 memorabilia.  They go for the full nostalgia look with the restaurant portion of the place as well.

Meet Crystal, one of the lovely and talented bartenders who took care of us at Weezy's
Me, Scott (the birthday boy) and Richelle at Weezy's
By the way, the wings here are always excellent, but since I’m never sure there’s enough time to eat here on our bus trip, I usually settle for samplings from the bowls of chips and party mix they have at the bar.  It’s a nice gesture to keep your patrons thirsty.

Quenching a thirst
Stop #3 – Roper’s Regal Beagle in Godfrey, Ill. 

As I mentioned last year, the Regal Beagle consists of a huge restaurant area and an equally huge enclosed beer garden (makes the smokers happy, no doubt).  But don’t let the phrase beer garden fool you – it contains a large, fully operational bar in the center of the “building.”  Having ordered food here last year, I chose to mill around in the beer garden this time.  I ordered a Hennessy and Coke and a smile.

Hennessy and Coke, please

All smiles at the Regal Beagle
Fourth and final stop – Fast Eddie’s Bon Aire.   And given the line that was already curled around the main bar area, I wasted no time getting in line for their famous burgers, fries and peel and eat shrimp.  If you've never been to Fast Eddie’s you might be amazed at the sheer volume of food orders they process each night, as well how quickly they do it.  Plus, the prices are hard to fathom – a half-pound burger is still only 99 cents, and huge jumbo shrimp still go for 29 cents each. 

This may take a minute ...

Getting closer ... what sounds good?

Food's up!
After picking up my order, I was happy to share a railing with some new-found friends from the bus and made quick work of a $6 Fast Eddie’s feast. 

Then, it was off to the Fast Eddie’s beer garden (aka metal shed they've installed on the side street that will hold several bars, a large stage and a buttload of people who want to see live music). 

The house bands at Fast Eddie’s always seem to keep the crowd energetic. And, as I like to say about music, it’s always better with horns. 

After several hours of drinking, dancing and mild debauchery, it was time for the bus to pick everyone up and head back home.  Yes, all good things must come to an eventual end.  It was only my second drunken bus pub crawl, but I’m already looking forward to next year’s version.  It’s always a great opportunity to hang out with good friends and meet a few new ones.    

Good friends

A new friend
And to Scott and Richelle, thanks again for the seat on the bus, and especially for the hospitality!

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