(Have I mentioned that my boss says she’s taking us on a cruise for our tenth anniversary? Only three more to go!)
We got to the Westin, dropped the car with the valet, and checked in early. Joe and Missy came to our room and we split a bottle of champagne, then went up to the 10th floor boardroom to meet everyone at 3pm. There we had drinks and snacks, and after a while my boss announced what our afternoon activity would be: a pub crawl/scavenger hunt. (I had been hoping it was a scavenger hunt, because we’re good at downtown.)
She split us into four teams, and gave us instructions. We’d have to figure out what bar the clue was pointing to, walk there, buy a drink (there was cash included for that purpose with every clue envelope), get a picture of the entire group there, sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to the bartender, buy whatever item was indicated on the clue, and then get our next clue from the staff. We all put on our outdoor gear and headed out to the street.
Our first clue was really hard, and Googling turned up nothing. We knew it was near Nicollet Mall, and that was it. We came across one of the Downtown Improvement District guys on a Segway, so we asked him about it. While we were talking to him, I finally turned up the answer on Google (it was Lyon’s Pub), so we rushed over there, with the guy on the Segway following us to take our picture.
Once we got there, we realized that the confusing quoted portion of the clue was actually the bar name scrambled, so that helped. We got drinks, sang to the bartender, bought a tshirt, and figured out that the next bar was Brit’s. When we arrived there it was completely packed with soccer fans, so we fought our way to the bar, got drinks, and asked the bartender if he had our clue. He had no idea what I was talking about, but the lady at the host stand did, so we serenaded her, bought the required mousepad, and headed out again. The next clue indicated we were going to Runyon’s, which was a hell of a long walk. We finally convinced a few people on our team to hop on the free ride bus to Washington while Matt, Mary and I walked it. We ended up arriving at the end of Nicollet at the same time, which was pretty impressive.
At Runyon’s, the staff tried to convince us we were an hour behind the last team (it had only been 45 minutes). They got our photo behind the bar, though, so that made up for it. At that point most of us were just doing shots, too, to minimize our time spent in any one place.
From there we went to the Ugly Mug, where we had to hang out way too long figuring out the next clue (it seemed really obvious that it was Brother’s, but the anagram was totally wrong). We finally decided that there was a misspelling, and went there instead. That was correct, and from there we were headed to Glueks. (Which made total sense as the last bar, since it’s my boss’ favorite.) As we crossed the street by the light rail, we saw another team headed that way. That resulted in a foot race across the parking lot, which the other team unfortunately won.
We sat around drinking and comparing notes while waiting for the other groups to show up. She’d split us all up amongst 12 different bars, and the total distance for everyone was about 2 miles. That was a pretty impressive amount of work on her part. I ate a pretzel stick, which was about the extent of the food I’d have for the rest of the day. (That’s always a mistake.)
We left Gluek’s and all headed back to the hotel to change. We met again in the lower level of the Westin at 7:30. When we went down there, they had our company logo projected on the floor from above, and a bunch of garage-style doors that were all closed. After standing around for a while speculating, we saw my boss coming down the stairs. The doors magically opened, and we all piled inside.
The first thing we saw was an ice bar with the company logo and ‘Viva Las Vegas’, where they were pouring a signature drink in martini glasses. There was a big central room with couches, and side rooms with a casino, Wii games, a buffet, and massages. There was also a vault containing a ton of electronics, gift cards, and even a pair of first-class tickets to anywhere. My boss handed out fake cash (the winning team began with the greatest amount, so that was the benefit to running between bars), and sent us off to increase our money so we could bid on prizes.
We played a ton of blackjack (with probably the sloppiest dealer in the world, but they weren’t exactly pros) and ended up with nowhere near enough cash for the plane tickets. Instead we got a Kindle Fire with $100 in Amazon gift cards. (We’ll keep the gift cards, but we’re going to sell the Kindle and put the money in our kayak fund instead. Neither of us has much interest in another nerd toy.) The annual bonus check is always pretty exciting, too!
We ended up leaving early, but I’ve heard stories about people going up to another room on the 11th floor where they stayed til they were kicked out after 3am, and one of my usually very quiet coworkers rapped “Baby Got Back” in its entirely. Supposedly Joe has video, so I can’t wait to see it.
And in usual work party fashion, we spent all of the next day on the couch recovering. Based on how quiet it is at the office today, I think we could’ve all used another day off.