It's Friday night, and you and your friends want to go have a drink or two, so you are looking for a place to go. There are some bars you should avoid altogether unless it's required by a friend's birthday, or a first-date decision by a girl you like. If that is her choice for a first-date location, then stand her up.
Buffalo Wild Wings
I know there are urgent fans, but Buffalo Wild Wings is a terrible bar. It's the McDonald's of bars. When I watch sports, I love sitting on a super tall stool with no backing. I love that. I love leaving the bar like I have been lifting 100-pound rocks all day. Oh, no specials? Get outta here! This is going to be fun! 5 dollar beers? Count me in. Oh, better beers are even more expensive? Fantastic! Give me one of those. But only after I can't find a parking spot because every "Brozif" in the city is going there with their hat cocked to the side, their collar popped and a wristband pulled up to their forearm. But, what about the waitresses? Fine, but watching douche bags hit on them is excruciating. You have wing sauce all over yourself, do you really think that chick is going to be like, "Forget my boyfriend, this guy wearing Ed Hardy gear is where I need to be. I want to hear all about his Fantasy football line-up and bang him in his roommate's Ford."
This place is a parody of itself. I went here when I was 14, and even in my puberty-hormone-infused mind, I realized this place was terrible. So many "bros" go to this place to stare at the waitresses who undoubtedly had bad home lives growing up. The waitresses should basically introduce themselves with, "Hi, I hate my father, can I take your order?" They also put a damper on how much beer you can order. You can't have two beers in front of you at the same time. I do this sometimes when I know the service is terrible. You are half done with a beer, and you order another one so by the time you're almost finished with your first beer your second one is waiting for you.
What about the wings? They're awful. You're blinded by the sights and don't register how bad they are. Imagine eating theater popcorn at a dining room table. The popcorn is disgusting, but you're watching a movie and not paying attention when you normally eat it. That's why you eat all the popcorn before the previews because you're not paying attention to it. Unless you went to see Playing For Keeps, because you'd have thrown your popcorn at your girlfriend for making you go see that trainwreck.
Jack Astor's (Canada)
I worked for a big car company a few years ago updating car software in Canada. At night, my co-workers and I would go out and get drinks. We chose this place as an option, and it ended up being the most horrifying experience in bar history. We were all eating, and suddenly all of the televisions started playing a Madonna concert. Even the game screens turned to Madonna. The lights dimmed to make it a more concert-like feel when Madonna gyrated on the stage like she wasn't a member of AARP. It was like the seven plagues of Egypt happened simultaneously in the bar. Maybe on another night this bar would have been enjoyable, but the fact that they did this made the bar a bad memory.
That Bar/Bowling Alley by Your House
You know that local bar by your house? It's awful. "But it's close enough to walk to!" You're an adult; take a taxi to a place that you won't regret. If you walk into a bar and there are people there that look like they gave up on their dreams, it probably means you should leave. If you walk in to a bar and immediately rethink how better you could have done in high school, leave that bar.
I have moved nearly 10 times in my lifetime, and every house, townhouse or condo I have lived in was located near a terrible bar. You can't escape them. Do your best. I believe in you!
Junk-on-Wall Restaurant Bars (Applebee's, TGIF'S, Red Robin, etc.)
These are more of restaurants than bars, but considering I tied one on at a mall TGIF during the holiday season, it counts. These places make absolutely no sense. It's like 10 people bought a building, had nowhere to put all the crap their wives told them to get rid of, so they hung it on the walls and drank in the middle. That is my thinking in how these places were developed.
Sadly, these types of bars are all over the place. The Simpsons even had an episode where bar owner Moe was going broke because his bar was "That Bar/Bowling Alley by Your House" as mentioned earlier. So, he put a bunch of crap all over the place and changed his name to, "Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag." It worked for a while, but then Moe freaked out on a kid. I'm with Moe. I don't enjoy drinking a beer and eating a steak while staring at a dead moose next to a road sign from Alabama pointing toward the local pharmacy mart.
Follow Jeff Sorensen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SorenJeff