Dear Random Columnist Lady,
I've been living in Boulder for years and finally grew into my very own big-kid ID. I now have the license to booze my way to oblivion in public, rather than in my dorm room or friend's living room. What should I do first?
Kid who probably isn't ready for the shit show that is Boulder nightlife
Well, let's see, my dear young'un.
What does a creak-riddled, almost-30-year-old lass tell someone so new to the world of bar hopping and brewery binging?
How about a story.
Long ago, there was a young journalist fresh out of college.
Note the word "journalist." This noun is key — it tells you she was already quite the alcohol aficionado before setting foot in town.
Anyway, she arrived in Boulder as fresh faced as a broke college grad can be.
"What do we have here?" she thought to herself, dodging a bagpipe player on Pearl Street only to stumble into a celebration for a street-side contortionist.
She decided to invite her friends to an investigatory night out. What could go wrong?
Well, nothing, unless tile prints on your face from sleeping around a toilet isn't a fashion statement nowadays.
(Lesson One: Always bring your buds. They'll keep you safe, give you laughs and help you home after you've literally danced till you dropped.)
She soon found out there was something for everyone.
For the furries, there's a bar with a mounted stuffed animal to mack on. For those under 5-foot-7, there was a low-ceiling basement bar with dangerously cheap shots. Brats with mommy's credit card could overspend on overpriced drinks while the little journalist's wallet wept just walking by. Kids still obsessed with Kool-Aid could find it mixed with absurd amounts of liquor — if they were sober enough to tackle the staircase leading to it.
(Lesson Two: Find what you like. Sure, your friends may love adult conversation over sophisticated cocktails. That doesn't mean you can't go down the road and play video games while slurping test-tube shots.)
And for the workaholic woman in love with craft beer, there were all sorts of wonderlands awaiting her and her hopped-up friends.
Thus the Beer Girl was born.
Four years later, you could see that same journalist "out on assignment" guzzling flights with a stupid sort of grin, insisting she was doing research as she tumbled from her stool. When she showed up to work in beer-soaked boots, they needn't worry — she wasn't drunk, she'd just doused herself in a pint the night before during a beer tour.
(Lesson Three: Breweries are awesome.)
So it went, pint after pitcher, pound after pant size.
She expanded her horizons — and her belt loops — until she packed her bags for China.
That was it. She'd escaped the chaos ... to a land of 23 million people where draft beers were even cheaper than they were back home and oh fuck.
Yes, I'm that girl. Now the Píjiu Nurén, I've survived the chaos and secret charm of Boulder's nightlife.
The final lesson: Be smart and be safe. Be precisely who you are, as long as that person isn't an asshole. You'll find your place, just as I found mine ... on a stool in every brewery in town.