Here's something awesome: The Mercury is only like 60 feet away from Club 21 (2035 NE Glisan, 235-5690), making it the ideal spot for my after-work boozing. After ducking out of work a bit early and hitting the Club, I was reminded why I'm there so regularly: friendly waitstaff, pretty good beer on tap (sure, there's Miller High Life, but there's also Mirror Pond), great fries, and two TVs, sensibly located at either end of the bar—so whichever way you're facing, you can pretend to listen to whomever you're drinking with, nodding and smiling during their boring-ass anecdotes, while you're really keeping an eye on The World Series of Poker. Also, there's a lot you can learn from the Club's diverse clientele—though those with the most to teach are the old dudes who dress in Hawaiian shirts and try to pick up twentysomething women. Sometimes they'll do this by implying that said women are prostitutes. There's a lot you can learn from the elderly.
But Club 21's smoke-clogged air isn't good for long-term inhalation. Cross NE Sandy, and you'll run into the Blue Diamond (2016 NE Sandy, 230-9590), whose bartenders are the sweetest, sexiest 50-year-old ladies you'll ever meet. Don't let the depressing décor (stuffed animals, plaques featuring golf-centric aphorisms, drunk people spilling their drinks as they lose at video poker) put you off—the Diamond is an oasis of kindness and cheese fries in an otherwise hostile world. Similarly, don't be bothered by the fact that the median age at the Diamond is 75: These bluehairs keep to themselves, and they don't voice their snide thoughts when you order a gardenburger—even though you can tell they're thinking, "What a pansy-ass generation. I am ashamed of my grandchildren's compatriots—they are vegetarians, and therefore, communists. I need another whiskey sour, right now."
Taciturn oldsters aside, a few blocks down the street lies the Sandy Hut (1430 NE Sandy, 235-7972), which boasts friendly bartenders, comfy booths, and a shuffleboard table. After tagging along with me to both the Club and the Diamond, my two drinking partners deserted me here, leaving me with no other choice but to play shuffleboard with three coeds, one of whom was pretty hot. They were very impressed with my mad shuffleboard skillz—especially the hot one. Closing my tab, I briefly considered buying my girlfriend one of the thongs that the Sandy Hut has for sale, which are printed with the classy line "Handy Slut." I decided against it. Then I considered buying one for the hot coed. Then I realized I was pretty drunk.
One after-work drink having mushroomed into a sizable number, I stumbled back to the Mercury offices, to write this, for you. Luckily, the office fridge contained a few cans of Liquid Charge, which led to the current situation: Me, finishing off a Liquid Charge as I type, fondly remembering my journey along Sandy.