We started off our night at Carmine's, a swanky restaurant just a block or so from The Arch. The food was delicious, the service was top notch, and the wine list offered bottles just a tad under half our monthly mortgage payment. Munchkin, Drunk Driver, and I split a bottle of (cheap) Pinot Grigio and watching Drunk Driver's reactions as our server offered her a sample sip was in my top three highlights of the entire weekend right behind Munchkin's look of pure fear when asked how she wanted her pork chops cooked. "What are my options?" Hilarious.
Following the meal we headed north to the lively Laclede's Landing, the premiere spot for St. Louis night life. It's a stone's throw from the Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams as well as one of the local casinos. We had planned all along to spend Saturday night at the highly recommended Big Bang, the local piano bar, and luckily we were able to score the last seat in the house. The General joined us a bit later in the evening after leaving us at the restaurant to attend to some, ahem, digestion issues. Big Bad also left the scene a little earlier than the rest of us. Apparently the insanely loud music and 500 bachelorette salutes were too much for him to handle.
I had high expectations for Big Bang. My first and last taste of a dueling piano bar was a night that was going to be hard to match in terms of fun. Big Bang did not disappoint. Munchkin was in her element, singing along to nearly every song. All of us at the table were even treated to a "Humpty Dance" sing-a-long with Doug, Munchkin, and The General leading the charge. Mitch and Tina, you've been witness to The General's mad Humpty Dance skills (with me as backup of course) so you can appreciate the spectacularness of seeing this times three.
One thing that proved to be quite annoying, however, was the insane number of bachelorettes in attendance. We counted no less than 15 that night, and each one was treated to her own unique version of well known songs. One bride to be, for example, was treated to a lovely rendition of the theme song to Aladdin, as Disney classic. Let's just say that the next time I watch the movie and hear Jasmine and Aladdin sing, "A Whole New
Hole World" I'll never be able to find the moment quite so sweet and innocent. Even the send-off for each bride was a bit questionable, with a crowd pleasing chant of less than kind sentiments. It didn't stop me from shouting out too, of course. What can I say. I'm a follower.
Speaking of followers...
Munchkin grew tired of being left out of the on-stage attention, so on a return trip from the bathroom she brought back some (unused, I presume) toilet paper and whipped together her own makeshift veil. I promised I wasn't leaving the bar until I saw her get up on stage for her own serenade, but alas she chickened out.
We also discovered at one point that our trip to Big Bang marked the first time all five siblings and their significant others had been in a bar together. A touching moment worthy of a picture, no doubt about it.
- Watching a drunk guy try to imitate a 6'8" bartender's leap onto the bar as they got up to do their staff dance. Let's just say this 5'9" patron had a very intimate moment with the back of the cooler. All signs pointed toward broken ankle.
- Group shots. AL and Mrs. MC chickened out, and although I held strong that I absolutely without a doubt in no way and you can't make me was not going to join in I took one for the team and slammed theirs for them. Okay, I slammed AL's. Mrs. MC's not so much. Acid is hard to drink down smoothly, especially when you're laughing. I'm gagging just thinking about that second shot, and Mrs. MC I'll hold a grudge against you forever for not warning me of its nastiness.
- Illinois winning the state bragging rights. Big props to drunk bride number 7 for donating $40 to the cause, allowing us to sing Illinois Loyalty over and over again (and kick some Texas behind in the process). I-L-L-I-N-I, baby!
- Slash made a special appearance and brought the house DOWN.
- Although the majority of us missed it, Doug was invited on stage to play drums with the piano players for his Beastie Boys request. He played two songs then was asked back up for one more song which Doug, The General, and Munchkin can not collectively remember for the life of them. The rest of our party headed home to bed, leaving the three party animals behind, so we missed out on all the action.
One final bit of cool from our trip to The Big Bang:
Last week The General and two friends went to Bloomington to see his all-time favorite band, Stone Temple Pilot, at the Judy Dome. He had purchased a "Bang This" shirt from our trip to Big Bang and decided to wear it that night. Good call, for as he was returning to his seat during the concert a duo called out to him and waved him over. Turns out these guys noticed his shirt and asked if he had been there and then told him that they were actually general managers of the St. Louis bar. They were there the same night as us and remember Doug going on stage. The General happened to cross paths with them again at one of the downtown (uptown?) bars after the concert and as a sign of appreciation for his advertising they gave him an industry pass which is good for $3 and no cover charge for The General and his entire party to any of the nationwide Big Bangs. Holla! The General was so excited he called me at midnight to tell me the good news and promptly had the card laminated for safe keeping the next day.
Overall, an excellent evening. Good music, cold drinks, great company, and everyone went home with their own underwear. You can't ask for much more than that!