21 and terrific
With a slew of worthy bars to start your first night of legal drinking, there are worse places to turn 21
The typical college student waits well into their junior year for the moment when the clock strikes midnight and they can, at last, legally consume alcohol. No more MIPs, fake IDs or running from the cops as they break up parties. Your 21st birthday is a one-time occurrence, and getting it right is an art. Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure that your 21st birthday is one you probably won’t remember.
Every 21st birthday must begin with a power hour — the time before midnight when you are still 20, and preparing for your first night navigating the bars of Tucson. In order to have a successful power hour, you need to have really cool friends who are not afraid to “Ice” you.
Being “Iced” involves a friend hiding bottles of Smirnoff Ice in various locations throughout the house during the power hour. Examples include, but are not limited to, on the toilet, in the shower and in a bed. When the soon-to-be 21-year-old discovers the Smirnoff Ice, they are obliged to get down on one knee and chug it as fast as possible. Be sure to take plenty of photos so you all can reminisce later how awesomely hilarious your power hour was. You won’t recall any of it otherwise.
The next step is to tackle the “Harry Potter Shot” at the Auld Dubliner on University Boulevard. This specialty of the Dub has been a long-standing tradition for UA students on their 21st birthdays. The shot consists of a lot of alcohol topped with lemon and cinnamon, which is then lit on fire, leading to the spectacular finale, an explosion of fireworks that erupts from the alcohol.
Amy Phelps / The Daily Wildcat Clint Barnes makes The Harry Potter shot at the Auld Dubliner on Wednesday.
At $16, the flaming Harry Potter Shot runs a bit steep, and you’re typically coaxed into ordering at least one more. But the shot itself is said to go down easy, so start your night of shenanigans here and use the exploding shot to warm up your liver. It wouldn’t be a 21st in Tucson without this magical concoction.
Once you are sufficiently intoxicated, head to The Wreck on Fourth Avenue for another opportunity that is only acceptable on the night of your 21st. Hopefully, by this point, you’ll be feeling ambitious enough to hop on the bar and show off what you probably assume is the best dancing innovation since the ’70s.
At The Wreck, when a lady jumps on the bar, they are required to take off their bra, which is then hung from the bar to be displayed for everyone to see. Before you tell yourself that you are too classy to commit such an act, remember you are only 21 once.
At this point, you should hopefully be finding it difficult to walk without assistance from your friends, so it’s the perfect time to head over to perhaps the most recognized symbol of young adulthood for UA students: Dirtbag’s Bar and Grill. This shabby college bar prides itself on being “a part of growing up.” The bar itself is nothing remarkable, but it is necessary to experience the sticky floors, bad lighting and alcohol-saturated — but charming — atmosphere that it offers.
Dirtbag’s mostly hosts Greek students, so if that’s not your scene, you might not return after this one night — but that’s OK. Make sure you take a photo with the bouncer holding up your ID. It’s a cheesy but obligatory tradition to prove you have been to the greasy symbol of drunken youth that is Dirtbag’s.After you have successfully conquered Dirtbag’s, the last step is getting you home in one piece. But if you have followed the steps correctly, you are probably craving Taco Bell right about now. As it’s conveniently located next to Dirtbag’s, stumble on over and satisfy your drunken craving in what will arguably be the best part of your night.
When you’re satisfied and ready to go home, call a cab or your designated driver, and make sure you have a reliable friend to help you find your bed. Hopefully, they will set up a hangover station of Advil, water and crackers for the following morning. Then fall into a beautiful drunken slumber, forget the lapses in judgment and dignity that you have surely committed and be thankful you live in a college town where the perfect 21st birthday can become a reality.
Follow Erin DeSoto @ErinDeSoto