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Seven Golden Rules

The Three Guys Walk Into a Bar... guide to Thanksgiving drinking

Thanksgiving is a holiday that means at least one day off work, feasting on a massive banquet, and being subjected to the high-pressure situation of holiday shopping. In other words: What you need to go along with this is a drink, or possibly many.

In the interest of expediting Thanksgiving drinking, we’ve come up with a list of seven cardinal rules of drinking in Buffalo over this holiday. The aim here is that, through alcohol, you can take this long weekend to truly celebrate, give thanks, and maybe even be productive. At least as productive as you can be while buzzed.

The Usual Order, Unusual Place


They call the night before Thanksgiving “amateur night” for good reason. Every yahoo and his cousin make their way out to the same boring, overly packed drinking establishments. Do you really need to be a part of that mess? Look at it this way: You’re not going to go to Olive Garden or TGI Fridays for Thanksgiving dinner, right? So why go to the dull, milquetoast bar where that every other Gap-sweatered Jack and Jill are sardined into?

Start a new Thanksgiving tradition: make it a night to check out that little old corner joint or on-the-way-home place you’ve passed a thousand times but have never seen the inside of. Not only are you getting a new experience, but you’re giving thanks for Western New York’s rich, varied and historic tavern traditions.

At least, that’s how we’d justify it.

Highway to the Danger Zone


It shouldn’t even need to be said that it’s always essential to have a designated driver—that heroic sucker who can be conned into carting a drunken posse of pals around. Still, we’re talking about amateur night, and even with the most teetotaling, Andretti-on-the-Momo-worthy driver needs to watch out for those other jerks on the road. The stepped-up patrols and checkpoints from the guys and gals in blue are just another incentive not to drive if you’ve been drinking. Thanksgiving is no fun in jail, the emergency room, or, worse still, the morgue.

Too Blotto to Trot-o


One of the Queen City’s most beloved Thanksgiving events for more than 100 years has been the YMCA Turkey Trot run. For some reason, on this crisp November morning those fleet-footed fitness fanatics are out to make all of us hangover-havers look and feel worse than we already do. Props to them!

For those true Thanksgiving cross-trainers who will be both drinking all night and running the next morning, we suggest trying to sober up before the Trot’s 9am start time. It might not be the night to stay out until last call, because that is a long stretch of road to run. For the truly hardcore who plan to stay out until the morning light: Try not to pass out along the course, which runs up Delaware Avenue in North Buffalo into downtown, and ends on Court Street. Those 12,500 hearty souls do not need any extra hazards on the course.

AV presents...

The Happiest Hour

Our happy hour pick of the week

The Place

229 Lexington Ave.

When news spread that Buffalo’s venerable The Place was re-opening a couple years back, legions of local drinkers experienced a Pavlovian yearning for a Tom & Jerry. The hot booze season is upon is, and the Tom & Jerry cups are out at the Place, but this year the tavern at the corner of Lexinton and Ashland offers us a new tradition: a Black Friday breakfast sale.

From 9am until noon, mimosas and pints of PBR are $1, Bloodys Marys are $2, and the kitchen will prepare your stomach to accept these libations and the shopping mania ahead of you with $2 breakfast specials. Salute!

Properly Lubricate For Bird and Fixings


So you’ve got all the trimmings on the table and are ready to dig into the feast. What’s missing? You need the right drink to match.

This one all comes down to preferences but many wine experts will say that if you are into reds, go with a Beaujolais or pinot noir. A sweet and dry white like a chardonnay is the flip of that. And a bottle of champagne (or sparkling wine, prosecco, or whatever you have on hand) is never to be discouraged.

Much as the Three Guys Walk Into a Bar crew love the finer spirits, we also know that turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy pair just as well with a bottle of Boone’s Farm or Night Train. And for that late night sandwich comprising every leftover on the table mashed between some slices of bread? It’s gotta be a beer, and our best bets are the fitting seasonals Dogfish Head Punkin Ale or Harpoon Grateful Harvest Cranberry Ale.

Black Friday, Silver Flask


Oh you sadistic, bastards! How we respect your grit and vigor. You wait outside in the parking lot snaking through that freezing cold 4am line just to get 99-cent strands of Christmas lights, that stupid hot toy of the season, and maybe a shot at one of the miniscule stock of dirt-cheap flat-screen TVs that the megastore is offering. Why not stick a travel-sized friend—preferably something in a brown liquor—in your pocket? Not only will it help keep you warm, it just might offer the shot of courage you need to dart ahead of those other diehard shoppers as the doors to those first-grab bargains swing open!

How to Pour And Not End Up Poor


If you are like us and would rather sleep in on Black Friday, at least make it out at some point later…like when the liquor stores open. Your neighborhood retail wine and spirits provider is not immune to the mania. This is the time when being a smart and selective shopper pays off. There are plenty of sales going on, and it’s also the time of year that liquor companies usher out “gift packs.” That means same price for bigger bottles or extra tchotchkes like glasses, mugs, shakers, and other delights. It’s a great opportunity to cross some of the boozers off your gift list. Might as well pick something nice up for yourself, too, because you must remember: It’s Friday. That’s something to drink about!

Now I Wanna Be Yer Nog


Perhaps the best part of the beginning of the holiday season for us is eggnog. It’s all too short of a window in which we get to enjoy this viscous, yellow, 350-calorie-per-serving treat, so we try to make it count.

There are old-school adherents who will tell you that they make the best homemade eggnog. Maybe they do, but who really wants to worry about salmonella when it’s easier to just go buy in the carton? When we talk about “making” eggnog, we mean what you should add to the prefab stuff to make it a cocktail. The best we’ve come up with is a gentle balance of brandy and light rum with a touch of vanilla extract and nutmeg. Three of these and you will be fa-la-la-la-la-ing down the stairs. It’s official: The holidays are here.

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