When I was in college, my friends and I went to bars all the time. Sports bars. Dive bars. Pool halls. Meat markets. Dance clubs. Whatever. And once we had a good solid buzz on, we'd leave the bar and do something completely stupid. Someone would climb down a manhole and everyone would follow. We'd break into the kitchen at our dorm. We figured out how to get into the bell tower of the capitol building, and made frequent trips to the nearby cemetery in the middle of the night. We went sledding on cafeteria trays and almost ended up in the river. Drinking was less about just getting drunk, and more of a jumping off point for an evening of causing havoc.
I have to say, I miss that. I miss valuing my drinking memories rather than regretting them, or just adding them to a collection of evenings spent sitting stagnant in a smoky bar. There's a solution to this problem, it just requires a little effort. Next time you feel like tossing back a couple cold ones, add a little creativity, or just use one of these helpful suggestions to get you off the barstool.
Ride the Tram
You can no longer consider yourself a true Portlander if you haven't ridden the tram. But then again, why the hell does anyone who isn't an anesthesiologist need to take the stupid tram? My thinking is that this $60 billion sci-fi transport vehicle belongs to everyone in Portland, so we should all have a chance to ride in its bulbous belly and admire the view from way up high. So next time you're looking to kill time, grab a few cocktails downtown, then take the streetcar south to the tram terminal. It runs until 10 pm weekdays, and 5 pm on Saturday. Round trip tickets are $4. And the great thing about the tram? Even if you're acting like an asshole, they can't kick you off.
Hang Out at Ground Kontrol
Located in Old Town at 511 NW Couch, Ground Kontrol is a wonderland of new and vintage pinball and videogames. It's also in walking distance of about 50 bars, and open until at least 2 am nightly. So the next time you find yourself at the Shanghai Tunnel wanting to smother your date, take action. Even if you two can't talk to each other, salvage the evening by taking turns hurling balls down the lane in World Class Bowling Deluxe, or navigating an inner tube down the Nile in a game of Toobin'. And if after all that fun-having you realize that you can actually stand each other, Ground Kontrol has a photo booth in which to record this fantastic memory.
Compete at Glowing Greens Mini-Golf Course
What better way to spice up a boring night out than with underground 3-D black-light mini-golf? I know. I can hardly believe something so thrilling exists. Too bad my days of dropping acid are over... but mini-golf actually goes better with cocktails than it does with psychedelics. What with the concentrating and all. So before you head into the basement of the Hilton for 18 holes, pop into loveable nearby super-dive, the Yamhill Pub (223 SW Yamhill), and slam some dirt-cheap drinks. Just don't have too many, because the point is to achieve that magical alcohol-induced level of skill, not to be a stumbling drunk swinging a metal stick. (Located at 509 SW Taylor, open Sun-Thurs noon-10 pm, Fri-Sat noon-midnight, $8.50)
Roller Skate at Oaks Park
Probably the most relaxing experience I've had over the last couple years was when I had drinks at the super-mellow Limelight (6708 SE Milwaukie), and then went roller-skating at Oaks Park. As an adult you just don't spend enough time with wheels strapped to your feet, gliding around the room singing along to Justin Timberlake. Again, this is quite obviously an activity you don't want to attempt when you're fall-down shitfaced, but is one that can easily be enhanced with the calming assistance of a couple vodka tonics. (Check oakspark.com for skate times.)
Play Skee-Ball at East Burn
Anyone who doesn't enjoy Skee-ball is insane. And anyone who doesn't enjoy Skee-ball while drinking a beer is even crazier. This place is like Chuck E. Cheese for adults. (East Burn is located at 1800 E Burnside)
A Short List of Fun Things Not to Do While Drunk
Do not: dance around a campfire naked. Drive in an ice storm to get more beer. Insist on sleeping in the hot tub. Take your friend's eight-foot boa constrictor out of the tank to play with him. Make out with your cab driver. Go swimming in anything other than a swimming pool. Climb to the top of the Steel Bridge. Tell your best friend "what her problem is." Break into your neighbor's apartment to steal booze. Ride an ATV through the woods. Call your parents.