It wasn’t so much of batchelor party in the sense that it wasn’t strictly a party held in one place, and second, the number of people who were batchelors were matched by those who were married. The British “Stag Do” didn’t quite fit either for the same reasons. It was also more than a bar crawl since it was the night to acknowlege my last outing as a single man, so henceforth I shall refer to it as a “Last Crawl”.
We started my Last Crawl at one of my favorite bars in New Orleans, the Sazerac bar at the Roosevelt Hotel. The hotel is one of those places where if you saw it in a movie about the baroque decadence and opulence of the roaring twenties, you’d assume that it was a set rather than a real place that actually exists and you can stay there. But it does. The bar at the hotel a single large oval room with a very long wooden bar. This was the bar where the eponymous cocktail was invented. A very elegant and swanky place.
I had also asked my soon to be brother in law Kazuma if he wanted to come, and I give him credit for happily coming along, given his discomfort and struggle speaking in English, so Tay and I grabbed him on our way out of the restaurant. Amazingly, we found a table free inside the bar and saved a few more seats. Tay and I ordered (what else?) Sazeracs, and Kazuma got a gin fizz.
One of my other groomsmen, Sal, soon joined us and we spend some time catching up with what was going on in his life. We were shortly joined also by Erica and Ryota. Erica was one of Saori’s best friends in high school in Japan, and works at a movie production company in Osaka where she lived with her husband. They came to visit Saori and I in Tempe, something like seven years ago, and I swapped Ryota my ASU tee shirt for a very stylish NorthFace hoodie. I think they were a bit confused about the “Bachelor Party” Last Crawl concept because they wanted to know why Saori wasn’t joining us. They had a drink too and joined the table.
A wedding or some kind of other event had just let out because the bar was suddenly full of girls in short colorful cocktail dresses, and late twentysomething “Brooks Bros” as Tay called them, and we cleared out since we could no longer hear each other speaking.
As a group, we rolled off the beaten path to the next bar. Pirates Alley does not perhaps have the same tone of The Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel but for me it hit the right notes of campiness, quiet, and surreal danger and charm of the French Quarter after midnight. It was nearly empty for one. Which on a nice Thursday night probably indicated why they had posted “BAR CLOSING” notices on the doors. I was actually a bit surprised- what has it come to when a pirate themed bar cannot survive in the French Quarter if it’s not on Bourbon Street?
The bar was known for it’s costumed bartenders, check, and also for the absynthe, also check. They served it dramatically with an icewater dripper over a sugar cube into the drink. It was potent. I drank it slowly. Kazuma, meanwhile, followed Ryota in ordering a “Rum boat” of several differnt types of Rum and was also thrilled to have the couple to speak to in Japanese. The pirate wench closed the bar and we had to leave after our drinks.
We pressed on to Frenchman street, crossing half of the French Quarter to get there. (Roosevelt is on the far edge, actually on the far side of Canal street, Pirate Alley is right outside of Jackson Square in the center, and Frenchman street is actually in Faubourg Marigny). By accident or design, we gave ourselves more time and gas-lit pavement between bars, probably for the better of all concerned.
Frenchman is an open secret, a street not far from the French Quarter which used to be a big bohemian artists and musicians community but now must be getting similar to the constitution of the French Quarter itself. They still have great live jazz and blues bars. Our target was The Spotted Cat. No cover on a Thursday night, and great music inside. A real sleazy, brazzy, upbeat New Orleans sound. We got a round of Abita beers and it would have been perfect if not for Ian.
We were enjoying the beers and the music when suddenly we hear “TAAAYYLOORRRR?!?!?!?!?” and it was Ian, a guy who looked vaugely familiar. Tay’s face flashed through incredulous to disgust to polite resignation faster than Ian, who was plastered, could register. Ian was one of Tay’s friends at ASU, a freshman buddy from whom Tay quickly drifted apart after the dorm days. Ian was, incidently, in town for a wedding, and it was funny to see how much the coincidence of running into Tay blew his mind. But he was really annoying, and eventually he left us alone.
We called it between 1 and 2 am, I believe, and staggered our way back to the hotel, a very long walk. Everyone had had a great time. Sal left to pick up the streetcar to his AirBnB over by Tulane and the rest of us went searching for a greasy spoon that the night clerk recommended. It was closed. So we went back, slightly irritated. Tay called them up and requested delivery. We both booze-napped until the knock at the door of our room. I can’t remember what Tay ordered, but my biscuits and gravy did actually kind of hit the spot. We drank lots of water, slogged our way through our meal, and slept until midmorning.