Happy Hour Scene: The Flying Saucer
705 Main St.
The Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 4-7 p.m.; Friday 4-8 p.m.
The Deals: Daily drink specials. Mondays, for example, feature $3 pints and on Wednesdays, you can get 23-ounce beers at pint prices.
The Scene: It was sometime during minute seven, or maybe eight, of standing at the bar and waiting for a beer at downtown's Flying Saucer that we noticed something strange was happening.
The bartenders, furiously working behind the bar, had stopped making eye contact with anyone wanting to buy a beer, and a huge crowd was gathering behind us.
About the time we started to worry, our drinking companion walked up and told us: "I found out in the bathroom that it's stein night. They start serving them after 7."
And that's when they started serving the steins.
People started pushing and yelling and climbing over each other to get to the bar and get one of the steins, which happened to contain Spaten Oktoberfest. Behind us, we heard frantic cries like, "They're going to run out," and "They're serving pre-orders only. Head outside!"
This happened on the tail-end of an already poor happy hour. We got to the Flying Saucer at about 6 p.m. and spent close to an hour trying to get one beer and a place to sit. We didn't succeed at finding a seat.
The Flying Saucer, a sprawling two-story bar downtown, at the corner of Main and Capitol streets, is no doubt a popular place. It was insanely packed, and just about everyone, sitting or standing, looked to be having a wonderful time.
The crowd on Wednesday was diverse. Everything from early 20s to late 60s, dressed like businessmen or possibly homeless. In fact, we met one rough-looking gentlemen, missing more than a few teeth, waiting for an Oktoberfest stein.
To make the wait bearable, he said, he wanted to tell us a joke, and it involved a dentist's office, Viagra, and having something to hold on to while a tooth was pulled. It was rather crude.
"Well at least it wasn't racist," we told him.
"Speaking of racist jokes, listen to this one," he responded. "So a penguin drives his car to a mechanic and says the car is about to break down. The mechanic says, 'This looks horrible and it could take awhile.'"
The man continued, "So the penguin tells the mechanic that he's going to wait across the street at the ice cream shop. A few hours later, the penguin comes back and the mechanic says, "Oh my god, this is bad, it looks like you've blown a seal.'"
Apparently, the penguin responded, "No, I just have a little ice cream on my chin."
After a few uncomfortable laughs, we said, "Wait, that wasn't racist."
And the man told us, "Well, you know, the penguin."