Barb and I went out the other night with our next door neighbors visiting from Illinois. We went to a nice Italian restaurant in Carefree (that’s in Arizona if you are from out of the state or country). After feeling a nice little buzz from a couple glasses of Merlot, I found myself reminiscing about the many times Barb and I painted the town on a Saturday night back in Kansas City during our early years of marriage in the 1970s.
If you were too young to have enjoyed that era, you missed a lot of fun. We used to go at it one or two ways on Saturday night: Sometimes I would fire up the charcoal grill (no fancy gas grills for us) and grill a couple of thick steaks nice and rare. We would have those with a bottle of cold duck or sparkling burgundy while we watched “All in the family”, Mary Tyler Moore”, and “The Bob Newhart Show” on our 10” GE color television.
That would take us to about 9:30 and since we never wanted to waste the nice buzz from the wine, it would be time for a shower together (saving water) after which we would head over to Kansas City, Missouri from our home in Kansas to some clubs. After Missouri closed at 1:00 it was time to head back to the afterhours clubs in Kansas. Needless to say there was a lot of drinking and driving in those days but somehow we made it through without incident although I’ll never know how. "Shit faced" only begins to describe it.
The second way to go out was similar to the first only we went out to dinner and missed the TV shows. Tough luck in those days; no VCRs to record them. I hated to miss MTM, Mr. Grant, Rhoda and the still vibrant Betty White. After dinner it was off to the clubs again and another long night as mentioned above. We sure piled up the miles on our 1970 Ford Fairlane!
Eating and drinking out was a lot different then. There were no designated drivers; EVERYBODY drank and drank a lot. Beef was what it was all about in restaurants; fish got to live long lives. It was thick, rare steaks, baked potatoes, and the inevitable salad bar which I hated. If you wanted to see people “pig out”, salad bars were for you.
Another feature that drew people to the bars was happy hour. They still exist but are nothing like in the 70s where it was big time competition among bars to get people soused at 5:00 in the afternoon. Remember the Steak and Ale restaurants? They used to have 3 for 1 during happy hour and the drinks were strong. I almost fainted on 3 martinis one day but it felt great. “Now, just where did I leave my car? (hic!) Oh, yeah, there it is!” Vroooooom. I’ll never know how Barb drank 3 grasshoppers!
The 70s were a fun time and I’m glad I survived them.
Since you have probably been wondering for the last few minutes what cold duck was I’ll tell you. It was half champagne and half sparkling burgundy. Andre sold it for a buck a 5th.