In my recent guide to airport drinking I joked about bar crawling an entire terminal. Readers laughed, but I felt like a fraud. I’d never actually done it before! This clearly needed to be rectified. Amazingly, Delta Air Lines and LaGuardia Airport agreed to my request to treat their terminals like a college dude treats a typical Friday night.
“You have no bag?” my driver asked as I hopped into his Town Car. I didn’t. While negotiating traffic on the BQE, he eyeballed me in the rearview as I took swigs from a whiskey nip. Having never bar crawled an airport, I wasn’t sure if I should pre-game. Until I realized getting from my apartment to LGA at 5 PM on a Tuesday would take a good hour. “But… you have a boarding pass, no?” he further inquired as we reached Terminal C drop-offs. Nope. I was certain his next stop was going to be tipping off Homeland Security to my suspicious behavior. What he didn’t know was that I didn’t need a bag because I wasn’t traveling anywhere. And I didn’t need a boarding pass because the only thing I was getting on was an automated tram to intoxication.
Unfortunately, I had to go through the same security B.S. as usual. No, I didn’t have a boarding pass, but I had been issued a “Security Checkpoint Clearance” which stated my “Reason for Authorization” as “Official Business.” Still, I had to remove my shoes and belt, empty my pockets, and even get a wand passed over my swimsuit area. I somehow convinced myself getting felt up by a bozo in a blue
button-up was not some breach of my dignity, but merely the cover charge to this exotic bar crawl!
Stop 1: THE BAR at Delta Sky Club
If you go on a bar crawl alone, I’m afraid that’s called a bender. So I’d brought a buddy to join me. Though, I’m not sure Delta was thrilled said buddy was David Covucci, an editor at the proudly puerile BroBible. I received a telling email upon asking to add him to my party: “[We] want to ensure that [we] are able to deliver on what you are looking for while also positioning Delta responsibly.”
Our crawl would responsibly start at the Sky Club, the private venue that just launched THE BAR (those words inexplicably in all-caps). Even though I fly quite often, I’d never once visited a members-only airline club. Let me tell the four of you out there who are as big of rubes as I am: amazing stuff goes on in the Sky Club. People are … quiet. Peacefully lounging in private booths, napping, even doing legitimate work. There wasn’t a single person loudly playing Minecraft without wearing headphones. It was weird.
More impressive was the robust alcohol menu. I spotted Laphroaig 18, Johnnie Walker Blue, and even Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year. There were four signature cocktails too: an Old Fashioned, a Margarita, a John Daly, and an “improved” John Daly. I’ve never felt John Daly needs to be improved in any way, but I ordered them all, nonetheless.
Stop 2: Wibar
After drinking much of four separate cocktails I was somewhat buzzed, now bombarding my two media handlers with ridiculous questions. (“Who exactly owns the airport?”) We had been joined by Chris Haarsgaard, the terminal director who was previously director of operations at the famed 21 Club. An expert in hospitality, he wanted to suggest the drinks for the rest of my crawl. I typically like to make my own imbibing choices, but having a well-dressed professional choose what exactly would get me shit-faced was pretty exciting.
Our next stop was Wibar, which boasts 101 wines by the glass, dispensed using something called the WineEmotion system. I’d always viewed this bar with a stink-eye on previous airport visits. Why? Because there’s no bartenders and you have to place your order via iPads placed in front of immovable stools. That always seemed like an unnecessary burden—I like to talk to service industry folks!—but since any order goes directly to the bar (or kitchen), delivery is guaranteed in under ten minutes. Why that’s better than Papa John’s!