I’m not going to Forecastle. For one thing, that’s where the cool kids go, and I’m just not that cool; hell, I bought my last pair of shoes at Target, for chrissakes. For another, I can’t afford the tickets. And for yet another, I’m not a fan of those kinds of crowds. Hey, I’m old. I’ll probably stay home and make sure those damn neighbor kids don’t tip over my garbage cans again this weekend.
But I digress. My colleagues Dave and Melissa this week wrote their Top 5 picks for Forecastle. Melissa asked me if I wanted to write one as well, but I felt inauthentic writing a Top 5 acts to check out at Forecastle when I knew I wouldn’t even be going.
As such, I decided to write my Top 5 things to do if you’re like me and have no intention of going to the hipster-fest on the waterfront. So, here is my Top 5 for those of you who are tragically unhip, like me. (And since I mentioned my plans for the neighbor kids already, I’ll leave them off the list.)
5. After-Forecastle Concert at New Vintage.
A few years ago, I saw the first iteration of the Singles at a festival in Nashville, and loved them. Of course, at that time they were a power-pop trio in Beatle suits fronted by Harry Potter look-alike Vince Frederick. They were fast and loud and fresh.
These days, it’s just Vince – who relocated west without his band mates a few years after I saw their show – and his partner in crime, Nicky Veltman. Their music is different from the early version, yet not so different. One description of the Singles is “Buddy Holly on a bender.” Sounds right up my alley.
Of course, there won’t be scores of scantily-clad 20-something girls like at Forecastle, but let’s face it: When they saw my old-man Target shoes, they would just head in the other direction anyway.
4. Drinking with the Dead Haunted History Tour
Drinking with the Dead sounds like either a lost Black Sabbath album or something hippies did in the early 1970s because they didn’t have jobs. But this one is far more interesting – it’s a tour of historic downtown New Albany and all its haunted hot spots.
Seriously, New Albany is one haunted-ass place. The tour begins Saturday at 7 p.m. at Hugh E. Bir’s bar at 324 E. Market Street and is a two-and-a-half to three-hour walk into some seriously historic and potentially spooky buildings downtown. Spirits are said to abound.
Speaking of spirits, you can grab a beer or a shot at Hugh E.’s while you’re there, as well as at several other stops on the tour, and it will only cost you a couple bucks a crack. Try doing that at Forecastle.
3. Blue Stallion Brewing Anniversary Party
Lexington’s Blue Stallion Brewing will be celebrating its first birthday Thursday through Saturday, July 17-19. Lexington is a pretty easy jaunt down I-64, and if you haven’t tried this Kentucky brewery’s beers, it’s a great chance to do so.
On Thursday, it’s the kick-off of the official one-year anniversary party, complete with a food truck, 16 (!) Blue Stallion beers on tap, including the return of doppelbock, and commemorative pint glasses free to the first 50 through the door. The fun continues on Friday with more pint glasses, food truck goodness with the Gastro Gnomes and a bourbon-barrel doppelbock release. It’s a big’un, aged in Buffalo Trace barrels and clocking in at 13 percent ABV.
On Saturday, it’s a tapping of several special test batches. You get to try the experimental stuff that is brewed with the eyelash of a virgin and the soul of a righteous man. OK, maybe not, but the point is you can’t try these beers at Forecastle or anywhere else. Also, there’s food by Rolling Oven and even a photo booth. The tap room opens at 4 p.m. on Thursday and noon on Friday and Saturday.
2. Walk to Jeffersonville
Yeah, parking at the Big Four Bridge might be tricky because of that music thing going on, but what a great opportunity to walk across the bridge on a sunny day and visit a foreign land. This mystical place known as Jeffersonville, which to most Louisvillians is mere legend like Atlantis or Cleveland, actually exists, and you’d be surprised to find that it has buildings and everything.
In fact, there are some pretty good restaurants, like Big Four Burgers + Beer, Come Back Inn and others, places to gather outdoors and enjoy the weather, and several spots with impressive beer selections (Red Yeti Brewing comes to mind, as well as Buckhead’s). And if you’re into that country thang, you can let out a yee-haw when Jeffersonville’s Riverstage goes country Friday and Saturday nights with live country bands, including headliner Tracy Lawrence on Saturday.
What is a Riverstage, you ask? I forgot, to most, this Jeffersonville place is a fairy tale village. Well, Riverstage is a barge that has been turned into a floating stage. There is amphitheater seating on the bank of the Ohio with concessions and the whole works, and the whole deal is free to attend. (Once again, that word “free” is something that does not apply to Forecastle. Just saying.)
1. Just Freaking Hang Out at Sergio’s, Because Christ …
Who are we kidding? Forecastle is going to be an absolute nutfarm, and when the place lets out around 11:00, the waterfront and downtown are going to be crawling with drunken hipsters who didn’t buy their shoes at Target. Do you really want to risk being caught in that staggering zombie horde or compromise the integrity of your garbage cans for that mess? Yeah, me neither.
Hell, I may just freaking hang out at Sergio’s World Beers, because the 75,000 out-of-towners will have no idea it even exists. And even if they somehow wander into Butchertown, they’re going to shamble right past it, because there’s no sign on the door to even let them know it’s there. And you and I can be all cozy and safe inside the ultimate beer bunker – roughly 1,500 beers in stock – as the herd makes its way to Fourth Street Live to wreak its unholy havoc.
Besides, if you’re going to pay $7 a pop all night for beer, shouldn’t it be for something that’s actually good? Christ, Sergio’s certainly has that covered. And the ceviche is cheap and fantastic.
Bottom line, I’m not knocking Forecastle – not at all. It has become a Louisville signature and has put us on the map with a different crowd than the Kentucky Derby once-a-year types and bourbon geeks. It helps to make us a music city, and I’m all for that.
All I’m saying is that if you’re not going, you’ll need something to do, right? I won’t have to go shoe shopping again for another four or five years if these babies hold up, which means I’m free this weekend, so I figured I’d offer up some alternatives for those of you who are in the same boat.
Happy Forecastle, everyone.