This weekend Katie and I had the pleasure and honor of celebrating someone ELSE’S wedding just a week before our own! The wedding was in Key West, Florida so we were excited to relax a little in the sun for the weekend.
We flew down on Friday and immediately removed our watches to enforce that we were now on “island time.” We settled into our little B&B on Truman Avenue and spent the afternoon just walking around Duval Street. We found a little hole in the wall called The Conch Shack where we had some excellent conch fritters. Friday night was rehearsal dinner at El Meson de Pepe (Cuban cuisine) and then we spent the rest of the night lounging around the pool and catching up with friends from Rice.
Saturday morning Katie and I woke up early to combine exercise with scenery. Katie walked around and explored some of the local parks while I went for a jog along the southern coast of the island. Lots of other people were out walking, running, biking, and roller blading around the island and everyone was very friendly.
We met up with our friends for brunch at Sarabeth’s, where we also began daydrinking with a carafe of mimosas. After that some of our party went kayaking but Katie and I and RT decided to take the daydrinking to the next level by playing a few holes of Pub Golf.
Pub Golf is a drinking sport that goes along with a Pub Crawl. Each bar/pub stop on the crawl is considered a hole of golf. Participants are scored based on their consumption: drinking a beer is Par (0), a shot is Birdie (-1), a beer and a shot is Eagle (-2), and two beers or two shots is Albatross (-3). Sounds pretty straight forward, right? There is some strategy involved too, though, because each time you go to the bathroom you are penalized with an additional stroke (+1). If you vomit you are penalized with +2 – but if you “puke and rally” it’s only +1.
This game was new to Katie and me but we were excited to play. We were both a bit nervous as our days of heavy drinking are pretty much behind us but it would be fun to see if we could stil hang. As the undefeated champion of the R7 Solutions “Shut Up And Drink” Challenge, I had a bit of pride at stake, but I also had more concern for my health and being in good shape for the wedding several hours later, so I would tap out if need be.
Our first hole was Fat Tuesday, a bar known for mixed frozen drinks. Katie started strong with their strongest drink, the 44 Magnum, for which she was awarded -2. She was also assigned a -2 handicap for her lower bodyweight. As with most competitions, my strategy was to come out swinging, so I ordered two shots (-3). Because I was in the islands, I chose two rums: Barcadi 8-year and Bacardi Reserva. The 8-year was OK but the Reserva was rich and complex with a refined finish – hardly appropriate for a debaucherous competition such as ours! RT decided to keep pace and took two shots of Goldschlager (-3). At the end of this hole, Katie had the lead with -4, followed closely by RT and me with -3 each.
Hole two took us to Irish Kevin’s, RT’s favorite bar on Duval St – and I can see why! It had many things to recommend it: Guinness on tap, a bartender who taunted patrons and drank along with them, a standing Guinness CHUGGING contest, and an awesome live singer/guitarist who sang Skynyrd, CCR, and Johnny Cash. Katie had a Smithwick’s (0) and RT and I opted to slow our scoring pace a bit to stick with the Irish theme; we each ordered a Guinness and a Jameson’s (-2).
We had an awesome time at this place, singing along at the tops of our lungs. A couple walked in wearing Redskins shirts too, so it was fun to chat/commisserate with them. Katie was already seriously feeling the effects of the first hole, though, so she neglected her beer and bogeyed. Not one to let a perfectly good beer go to waste, I finished it off to drop another stroke (-3). At the end of this hole, I had the lead with -6, RT was right behind me with -5, and Katie was a little further back at -3. Long story short: I never relinquished the lead so I’ll stop updating our scores from here on.
Our third hole was The Lazy Gecko, which happened to have an Irish bartender. As such, we continued the Guinness + Jameson’s combination. They also had a Nintendo Wii so we exercised something other than our livers with Wii Bowling and Homerun Derby. Re-energized by the Wii, Katie was back in the game.
The fourth and final hole was the Hog’s Breath, where we sat at the bar and just drank liquor. Katie had a sapphire martini, RT went back to Goldschlager, and I tried some other exotic rums plus vodka distilled from local oranges.
By the end of Hole Four it was clear that we needed something in our systems that was not alcohol. We found a restaurant that was creatively named “Cheeseburger.” RT ordered the eponymous menu item while Katie and I shared a fish sandwich, conch fritters, and sweet potato fries. By the time we left it was 2 PM and it was clearly time for all of us to nap. RT yak’ed on the way back (+2) but I had a pretty insurmountable lead by then anyway. All in all it was a very good time and I’m glad we gave it a try!
After a refreshing nap and shower we attended the actual wedding of our friends, which took place at the Key West Lighthouse, a really pretty location. The ceremony was officiated by another friend of ours who did a really good job of combining meaningful words with humor. It was a very nice little ceremony and we were pleased to share in the joy of our two newlywed friends.
Afterward the reception was upstairs at 915 Duval, which was a nice venue with good food and very friendly staff. There we ate, drank, chatted, caught up, and generally had a good time for several hours. When it came time to send off the bride and groom, though, we called it a night too. After all, we had had a pretty intense day and we’re not as young as we used to be!
Sunday we hopped on our plane back to Houston, very excited for the couple and we were honored to be included in the weekend’s festivities. Now the countdown has begun to our OWN nuptials, for which we depart on Tuesday!