At the Quaff, everyone's a player.

First Down, Many More to Go 

At the Quaff, everyone's a player.

Can fall be the best season of the year? That was a rhetorical question, for the answer is yes. The weather is perfect -- we can break out the kneesocks-and-skirt look -- and Halloween, our favorite holiday, is upon us. But the main reason fall rocks can be summed up in one word: football. NFL, that is. Finally! The wilderness months since the Stanley Cup Championship are over!

To celebrate, we're trying to come up with a list of stipulations for a little thing we like to call the Football Drinking Game. The rules are simple: Players are to take a drink whenever, say, they see Bill Cowher's flying spittle, or when a reverse is mistakenly dubbed a double reverse by overexcited announcers, or if a commercial features battling supermodels or talking animals. Showboating and taunting -- which need to happen more -- also should warrant drinking. More unlikely events merit chugging -- say, if Bill Romanowski spits on an opponent or punches someone out (preferably a teammate). That was what we were hoping for during the Raiders-Broncos Monday Night Football game, which we watched at the Quaff (10th Street and Broadway). But, alas, Bill was subdued in the thug department.

The Quaff's MNF atmosphere, though, was anything but. Frat-house festivities abounded at this 55-year-old drinking establishment. Normally a laid-back, almost divelike place, it was definitely ready for some football. Waitresses wearing babydoll Trent Green jerseys and short, white cheerleader miniskirts gave out raffle tickets with every drink for a drawing at the end of the third quarter. (One prize was the privilege of sitting on the couches in front of the wide-screen TV.) Joe, the owner, conducted a sports-trivia contest during halftime, and after each touchdown, the loudspeakers blared "The William Tell Overture" (aka the Lone Ranger theme) practically in its entirety.

"That's like breaking into the second verse of CEThe Star-Spangled Banner' -- the shit no one sings," said Research Assistant John. Apparently, it was also the cue for Mini Quaff -- a little person wearing a Chiefs shirt with a "1/2" on the back -- to run around the bar, high-five patrons and generally spread good cheer by dancing in place. We wondered if Mini Quaff was being exploited, but John wasn't concerned about that. "Oh no, no. I know it's exploitation," he said. "The question is, am I offended?"

That was also rhetorical, so we turned our attention to beer ($1.50 Coors and Coors Light specials, though we stuck to Boulevard Wheat) and the game. We lost interest after the first quarter, though, with the Broncos leading 21-0. Then, during the halftime trivia contest, a pack of guys gathered around the front bar and shouted out answers. The testosterone emanating from the trivia herd was so thick that we were slightly alarmed. When Joe read the final question -- "Who got laid last night?" -- the guys went nuts. We stood there, rigor mortised, when Joe pointed our way. "That little girl did!" Someone flung a T-shirt our way, but since we aren't fans of the oversized shirt, we foisted it on John.

After that excitement, we wandered around and chatted up Jimmy and Bryan, who lauded the "fun atmosphere" and "nice-looking women."

"It reminds me of college," Jimmy said. "[The Quaff] creates a fraternity of city people. Whoever lives downtown comes here. I see the same faces every time. It's the best place I've ever been, even in college." He also praised the presence of Mini Quaff: "No one else has that." We beg to differ, though; Chad Alpers -- slot technician at Ameristar Casino by day, Mini Quaff by night -- told us he also works at bachelor parties as well as at another bar. But on Mondays, he said, his job is to get the crowd into the game, keep morale going and have a good time with the people.

That was probably an effort during that suckfest of a game. When it was finally and mercifully over, we stuck around and drank some more. Then we were distracted again by the tomahawk-chop theme song, which was being played over the speakers. A Boomer Esiason lookalike started doing the chop and chanting, "Chiefs and Chopper!"

"I know where I am," John said. "That's what I hate about this town. The game had nothing to do with the Chiefs at all." But he conceded that, even though the whole atmosphere of the night was "goofy as shit," it wasn't bad at all.

"Prizes, cheap beer and football bring out a different, interesting type of crowd," said Amy, our waitress. Perhaps we should add "dork crowd moves" to the drinking game? We'll drink to that. -- Jen Chen

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