Sunday, August 30, 2009

NA 1 Night Stand asks the question, and the answer is: YES.

Yesterday was the occasion of NA 1 Night Stand, downtown New Albany's first ever "beer walk" not to be associated with the annual autumn festival that always hates to have its name attached to such concepts. Rather, this one was the brainchild of Main Street resident Jala Miller, who put her formidable powers of marketing and social networking onto the task of filling downtown with people on an otherwise "normal" August evening.

To say it was a success is an understatement of epic dimension.

The fun started at 3:00 p.m., and the following photo shows the lamentable aftermath of Bank Street Brewhouse's first two red-clad, beer "walking," Bud Light-ordering customers, who couldn't bring themselves to finish their Kaisers, abruptly departing to drive off to continue their beer walk.

It got better after that, though, and in reality I always cherish opportunities to leverage NABC's Lite Free Zones into educational presentations, even on nights where crowds are large. Exposure is exposure. Resolving to glimpse the action along the circuit, I walked to the new Steinert's on the corner of Main and 4th, and caught the scene there for the first time.

There are two large rooms, one with the bar (above) and the other with a bandstand. In response to those asking previously, the new Steinert's is entirely smoking, without a non-smoking area in evidence. Alpha King was on tap, and that's a positive, too.

Next, I accompanied noted local mouthpiece Richard Rush and his posse to the Market Street establishments listed for the beer walk: Pastime Grill & Pub (above) and Hitching Post Tavern (below). Samuel Adams Summer Ale was on tap at the former, and at the latter, with nothing remotely resembling real beer, I opted to play my once yearly "When in Middle America" card and think back to previous lives.

Unfortunately, Richard caught the moment on film.

Whatever. I took one for the team.

Next came Studio's Grille and Pub, where the joint was jumping and bottled Sierra Nevada Pale Ale helped restore my palate for the evening ahead.

Back at BSB, there was a huge crowd. Clint Ackerman was playing, and soon after the incredible jazz trio The Outfit began their set. Fortunately, we were able to borrow front patio furniture last week, which helped to seat a crowd of probably two hundred. As at the other participating pubs, our staff was swamped but plugging along as best they could; thanks to all the servers, bartenders and kitchen employees all across the walk route.

Happily, even those establishments not officially participating also seemed to be having good evenings. The Windsor was catering for a 250-strong wedding party at the Grand, and Connor's Place reportedly ran out of beer. Not to excuse them for failing to climb on board this time ...

The point in all this is simple: For the second weekend in a row, and with numerous other events taking place, downtown was on the regional map, and hundreds of people who probably would have been somewhere else were in downtown New Albany, instead, whether at last night's beer walk or last week's Celtic Fest.

These throngs translate into key visits from Louisvillians and other folks who don't live here, an important and youthful area demographic, and more than a few residents, some newcomers, other longstanding, who seem quite happy to finally have a local option.

Good stuff in just about every sense. Momentum is a good thing. Now, we must keep it moving -- forward, not backward.


Highwayman said...

Sadly,even though I began this trek at 4PM, I only made it to two of the five participants ( those being Studio's & Bank Street).

However, in drive bys both early on and late in the evening, all including the non-participants seem to be doing a brisk business.

One of the most enlightening observations I made throughout was the broad range of age groups present.

Young and young at heart alike were enjoying good food, good beer, good music, and most of all good conversation on subjects ranging from newly weds, to grandchildren to politics.

And all ( with the exception of the two Lite Lite beer drinkers) appeared to be enjoying the evening.

But wait!! Did anyone spot a city councilmen or administration offical anywhere??

More--more--give us more!!!

Ceece said...

A and I ventured down around 6pm kicking off the evening at BSB, while we waited for friends to join us. (I even convinced my full-time working full-time nursing student sister to meet us for the evening and she brought her mr and a friend!)

We ventured to all the stops and while I chose to head home after the final stop at Pastime, A and co headed back to BSB, where he said it was packed still.

We were so happy to see all the people downtown and enjoying everything. Hopefully NEXT YEAR there will be more establishments participate (oy my liver!) and more business's with great looking displays to entice people back!

Well done everyone involved!

edward parish said...

The photo of RAB with a High Life should be placed next to him with a Pabst that is at "The Public House". Priceless

The New Albanian said...

Once a year, Ed. Once a year ... and yes, the Pabst photo is one of my favorites!

The Bookseller said...

Frankly, the crowds intimidated me, and with our critical business obligations and financial pressures, we did not feel inclined to join the throngs. But I'm VERY happy that so many of my friends, not to mention strangers, enjoyed the New Albany twilight-plus.

Confidentially, until I became educated (yes, Dan, that's an advance over the alternative), Miller High Life was my beer. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that, when faced with the inconcievable, my beer mentor chose the High Life.

Ann and I are so glad everyone had such a good time. We'd rather have beer with three or four good friends than weather the crowds. So glad you didn't need our dollars on Saturday night. Like Lloyd, we would probably, if we could have gotten in, have hit Studio's and BSB. Instead, we grabbed a growler on Friday, snarfed pizza, and later, Hing Wang, and veg-ed out at the homestead.

Jala: Next year, we'd love to provide java and designated drivers.

The Bookseller said...

May I note that I'm most impressed at Ceece's enthusiastic appreciation. You go, girl.

Anonymous said...

Bookseller: I am very excited that you guys would like to be on board. Contact me to talk details!

Roger: Thanks again for all of your support of the event!

To everyone else who participated - a huge thanks to you for making it such a success, and for patronizing the fantastic establishments NA has to offer.

Ceece said...

@TheBookseller LOL, I figured I'd save my one drinking day a year for this big event. The 4 beers (and 2 shots of jager shhhhhhh) will hold me over until next years event! haha

Iamhoosier said...

Glad to read that it was a success. Like Book, this kind of thing is really not my style but it takes all kinds of events to make a successful downtown.

Kudos to everyone involved.

Daniel S said...

Just another reason why I don't like you Hoosier, you used the word Kudos. I hate that, loathe entirely.

I think everywhere was packed Saturday. I never seen that many people at a bats game and a few people called me from downtown NA and said there was quite a crowd. The weather unquestionably playing a large role in this. I would have come down, but there were likely too many bikers around for my taste and I was busy getting my heiney handed to me in cards along Green Valley. Plus Evan phoned and said he was going, and I don't like being around Evan, either.

Daniel S said...

I, I've, sorry Randy, don't shoot me.

Iamhoosier said...

Hm, thought you might like "kudos" since it sounds so much like "dittos".

Tough. There's another blogger that gets a nice big laugh every time I use the word.., wait.., wait.., here it comes, "despicable"

(hope that you didn't spit out any beer, Roger)

Matt said...

I would love to think that Daniel has a padlocked closet in dark and dingy basement just loaded with these

Daniel S said...

Ha, I remember those, my mom used to feed them to me when I was bad. Hence the hatred

Bernard said...

I just wanted to say that I came over from Louisville. My gf and I met a bunch of friends at Steinerts and we made it to atleast three of the five establishments on the list. Thanks for setting this up!