There’s nothing wrong with meeting your buddies at the bar for some drinks after work, but that doesn’t have to be the only social outing in your arsenal. Guys are always asking me what they can do to blow off some steam and enjoy some wife-and-girlfriend-less male bonding that doesn’t involve the same old sports bar. And I like where your heads are at, because the world has a lot more to offer a platoon of pals than just drinking a pitcher at old wood tables with dusty team banners on the wall.
In need of a few ideas? Here are five great alternatives to bars:
Sporting Events: It sounds like a no-brainer, but when was the last time you and the boys got together to go see your team play? Too pricey for your wallet? Sure tickets to pro games get increasingly expensive at face value with every passing season (thanks to increasingly expensive athlete salaries), but group deals are common and seats are always being sold-off at last minute discounts. Grab some seats, and do a little pre-game warm up with a tailgate in the lot before the game.
Gun Range: Ever felt the raw power of round after high-caliber round exiting the business end of a rifle? It’s a rush like few others. And while just shooting can be a blast (pun intended), you can also make it more interesting with a couple of friendly wagers on your target accuracy. Ammunition costs are finally leveling off, which is good considering you and the guys will be going through your fair share. Additionally, weapons with a lot of punch are relatively inexpensive if you know where to look. This includes all the extras. For example, major AR 15 accessories supplier MSP also manufactures and sells the famous rifle itself at significant savings to you. Might be time to pull the trigger on that one.
Poker Nights: Getting the guys together a few nights out of the month to play some poker is a classic American experience. And if you’re not doing it regularly, you need to be. Rotate hosts, assign equally shifting beer and snack duties, and remember to have fun. (As much fun as you can taking your buddy’s mortgage payment.) Speaking of which, laws about games played for money vary state-to-state, even if they’re just “friendly” games, so check before putting an invite out there on Facebook. You don’t want some Eliot Ness wannabe breaking down your basement door.
Paintball: Paintball delivers the thrill of wielding an actual firearm and the adrenaline-filled excitement of a combat situation without having to worry about actually dying. Sure getting fragged with a large paint pellet fired from a pumped up air gun stings a little, as does the ego-crush of getting ghosted by some hyper-competitive weekend warrior, but there’s no better bonding experience than covering your buddy’s six while he advances on the “enemy.” Plus you can take your first-person-shooter skills to the next level.
Comedy Club: Yeah, I know your buddy is pretty good with a one-liner, and that guy at the bar that does that thing is f-ing hilarious, but nothing beats watching a line-up of professional jokers deliver their material. Sometimes delivering it at you or friends expense, but that’s all part of the game. And the fun. Plus, you can always “borrow” some the next time you need something to keep the crowd going at your next get-together.