Jon Hartman is ready for SIA, and he will not be sorry for partying
SIA is fast approaching and that means that unless you own a company or are a buyer for a big shop (I guarantee you are neither) you are heading to the show to get hammered. Now lets talk rule #1, everyone is there to do business but you, I don’t care if you have a promo or whatever, no one cares, you have a much better shot of making a good impression by not harassing people, drinking beer and having a good time, hell it has always worked for me, which is why this is a guide to boozing at SIA.
Now lets get to the brass tax, the show itself. First off, Denver is not Vegas. I love Denver, it is my home city, it is great but it isn’t Vegas, so you can’t just be drinking wherever you want in the trade show, they are real Nazis about that. However with careful planning you can avoid the Stazi and get drunk all day. Lesson 1, at 4:00 business breaks down as people start to get their buzz on till late into the evening. It is a good bet to hang out over in the snowboard section around this time as the kegs will start appearing aplenty, bands set up and things are dumped out. This is not to say that there aren’t some good keggers on the ski side like Tomahawk and Moment for instance (in$$$$$$$entive), but for the most part the snowboard side is a good bet. Another option for the long span of the day is to sneak in booze, a tell tale sign for security is a non-convention center beer so do your studying the first day, generally they sell plastic bottle Budwiser in the convention center so roll up the street to the liquor store and pick yourself up a case*, throw it in your backpack and be slightly discrete and you will be boozing all day. You can also sneak in liquor just be discrete when taking pulls. Another lesson to remember is not to be afraid to be blackout in the trade show, no matter how drunk you are someone at the party will always be drunker.
* Beer is real cheap in Denver so as long as you aren’t in the trade show feel free to indulge, we have tons of micro brews and other good shit. A cube of PBR at the liquor store can run as low as $13.99.
An incoherent map of downtown Denver. Watch out for “Duche Bags”
So, now you are drunk and the trade show has winded down, whats next? Well the nights parties are still a few hours away (show up before 11 and you are a real pussy) and you are already buzzing so you need to do something to occupy your time. The convention center is in a pretty douchey part of town (see attached map) so try to avoid places around there with the exception of La Boheme (the strip club across the street, tell them Hot Possie sent ya), H burger and Illegal pets, all of those are good time killers. If I were you I would explore the greater Denver area, cruise down Colfax for some good food and bars, check the RiNo neighborhood where Hot Possie and the Level 1 store are located or cruise down SoBo and get some cheap good food and dive bar atmosphere. Or, you could nap as Dunfee suggests but then your chances of getting rowdy diminish greatly. Or, you could partake in Denver’s greatest new charm – legal weed, yes that’s right LEGAL weed. Now the government hasn’t set up the tax structure yet so you can’t just walk into our many medical shops (of which there are more than Starbucks within city limits) yet, but it is easy to acquire, legal to possess and generally of high quality. I won’t lecture you on how to spend your time in between show and party but just try to eat, keep getting fucked up and prepare for your night.
Night Life time. Now being a hipster as I am I try to stay off the beaten path, so while there are major events going on; DVS party at Summit Music Hall or the ink monster free for all party on Thursday night, Winter on the rocks on Friday night, and a whole mess of crap Saturday and frankly every night, unless you are rolling with a VIP pass to the event you can skip it. My reasoning being that unless you have said VIP pass* you will end up crowded into a corner with plenty of sweaty dudes, waiting in long lines for beer and generally not pleased with your night. What I suggest in the stead of the mega parties is the smaller company parties which have a much higher chance of open bar and cool people. Shag Lounge (which sucks the other 352 days of the year) is always a good bet for an industry party that will get absolutely fucking wild. Just keep your ear to the ground and be flexible, there will be great parties at places like Tooeys, lost lake, the match box, 3 kings and the like, they all are smaller, attract cooler crowds and will get you in and out of the bar much faster. Bars close in Denver at 2:00 am but during SIA there is one more option and that is the Diamond Cabaret and its night club Wish, as they are strip clubs they stay open till 4:00 am and will have an SIA party every night guaranteed.
For my money I would hit Armedas early for the Battle of the Brands Karaoke sing off then Shag late night on Thursday to kick it off, the Level 1 art show at Art Haus early Friday followed by the Jiberish party at the Gothic and let Saturday start off wild card and finish it out at the secret Hot Possie party.
* Now the one caveat to my earlier statements about mega parties are the VIP wrist bands. They are hard to come by but if you have the means or clout to get your hands on one go for it. I have spent many an SIA night totally black out, drinking on other people’s tabs due to these magical wrist bands. You will generally be segregated from the human trash that normally attend these parties (and surrounded by a much higher quality of industry trash) and will literally have free range. Want 10 free shots? Order em, they are fucking free. Want to smoke weed? light up, you are a god damn VIP. Looking to get laid? No better way then flashing your VIP wrist band and telling her how your recent stint in rehab kept you out of this years X-games.
Even Denver’s local crackheads are friendly!
Above all else though, just don’t be a fucking loser. SIA comes but once a year, everyone (even old buyers) party, and for the most part everyone is in a friendly and congenial mood. Go along for the adventure, get drunk and see what happens, Denver is a small city and you can cab anywhere for $15, so put on your big boy drinking shoes, sack it up and get fucking hammered for 3 days. *
If you are under 21 don’t even waste your fucking time.