Culture vulture

Pub crawling
Google the term “pub crawl” and you’ll find yourself with, among other things, a list of Web sites guiding you around the beer and spirit dispensaries of several very attractive cities in the British Isles. My favorite was the Central London Pub Crawl on the Circle Line of the London Underground: “27 pubs in 12 hours.” Now that’s a day on the town. No mucking about in musty old museums or squinting up at giant clocks or trudging across bridges or riding colossal Ferris wheels; just one pub to the next for 12 hours straight soaking up the genuine essence and breathing in the genuine effluvium of London and its inhabitants. Inspired by the worthy efforts of the British Web site builders I decided to assemble a little pub crawler’s guide of my own for the benefit of anyone venturing into downtown Chico for some sociable brew quaffing. It will take several weeks of research to cover the entire town.

Buck pints
Visitors to Chico from larger metropolitan areas are often, and sometimes literally, bowled over by the absurdly low prices of what Alex Trebeck refers to as potent potables in Chico’s taverns. Many is the friend and relative whose eyes I have seen light up and then slowly glaze over in the environs of a pub offering buck pints. A week or so ago I decided to put my money where my mouth is and ventured into the Normal St. Bar between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to check out their all-day, buck pint happy hour. The bar offers a nice selection of Sierra Nevada Brewery’s finest along with two varieties of Anchor Steam and Mad River’s Steelhead Pale Ale. You could get seriously buzzed just trying to sample them all. Just don’t forget to tip a buck every other pint or so. And play a few vintage punk rock tunes on the bar’s juke box. Nothing livelies up the blood like hearing Social Distortion’s “Mommy’s Little Monster.” Just don’t expect to meet anybody that looks like the people in the bar’s cartoon ad campaign.

If it hits 5 o’clock and you’re still motivated and capable of perambulation, you can point yourself up Second Street and proceed to the Riff Raff Pizzeria and Pub, which keeps the buck pints flowing till 6 p.m., starting at 11 a.m., and also serves up a decent slice of pizza, just in case you need a little sumpin’ to soak up some of that brew you’ve got sloshin’ around in there.

Culture Vulture does not advocate or condemn drinking as a social activity. We do, however, warn that over-indulgence can have repercussions that should be considered before partaking. A trip through the legal system is without question very educational, but it’s an education that most of us can live very well without. Be careful, respectful and honest and few bad things will befall you that you can’t blame on somebody else.

Juke box gems
1. Southern Culture on the Skids, “Fried Chicken & Gasoline”

2. Ramones, “I Wanna be Sedated”

3. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood, “Summer Wine”

4. Nick Lowe, "I Knew the Bride"