After the tastings, and after we had schmoozed the reps, distillers, managers, and anyone else we could find to talk scotch with, the three of us headed over to Swig with a newfound friend named Doug.
I have to talk a bit about Doug here. He is quite an understated man of sorts and one wouldn’t immediately peg him as a serious scotch whiskey guy, even at first conversation. He does, however, hold a collection which exceeds 1000 bottles at last count. And while his collection is ever changing, it is only growing. He is a collector that not only collects, but drinks, sells and trades bottles which he has multiples of. He is one collector, who in my mind “gets it”. We enjoyed hanging out with Doug, and so we invited him out to Swig with us to continue the night….
We head up the block and find Swig a bit more crowded than normal. Apparently no one had warned them about the World of Whiskey attendees being two doors down…
So we stand around for a bit just ogling the bar’s extensive whiskey selections.
Since Raz was intent on eating, and I realized it was indeed a good idea to sit down and dine for a while, we all tried to decide where this would all occur. As with any big group of friends, this is never an easy task. Somehow, we were all able to agree that dinner at Foley’s Irish house was a fantastic idea, and so we headed in that direction after saying our goodbyes to Doug (who decided to grab the Bart back home and make it an early night).
Dinner was a hoot, even if the wait was a bit tiresome, and Fergus’ prime rib wasn’t up to par. The Bangers and Mash, however, were some of the best we all have had, so that made up for it. Two pints later, we find ourselves walking Evan, Pantalon, and Hairpinturn back to their car as they had another prior engagement which they needed to attend. TheJamez, however, was all ours for the rest of the night. Or should I say we were all his…
At James’ urging, we all headed into the Tenderloin district to hang at The Owl Tree bar, which is the most unique bar I have ever had drinks in. The place is a corner street door type bar which has all sorts of owl decorations inside. It is small, but cozy, with a crotchety ld bartender and another tender who seems like a quirky throwback to a 1950’s dive lounge, complete with the thick black rimmed glasses. I fell in love with the place and I know it is James’ favourite as well.
At this point things begin to get a bit more hazy…. for one, Raz and I had been up since 4am that day and were working on nothing more than 1 Redbull and a metric butt-load of excitement from what we had just experienced, as well as with what was to come. Somehow Raz and Fergus, who both looked like hammered shit at this point, actually decided to make their way home for an early night, but I was still going strong and decided to stay out. And I am glad I did. Not only did I have a blast with James just shooting the shit in this crazy dive, but I also got to meet one of his best friends Dave, who was just as fun as James himself. I had FABULOUS time, and finally made my way back to the hotel after a good while longer in the bar. I’m not too sure what time it was, but I do know it was late and I was exhausted.
I owe James a debt of gratitude for not only picking up the bar tab at the Owl Tree and the taxi ride back to the hotel, but for getting me home safe in a city I am still fairly unfamiliar with. I tell you this; I went to bed in an exquisite state of euphoria from the entirety of the days events. I was truly in heaven…
Next up…. early wakeups, drinking before 10am, instruments of war, and the heavens open upon us.