Okay, so this year's Super Bowl probably isn't going to be as exciting for Houstonians as last year's. No bands, no streamers, no celebrities. But hell, in some ways, downtown is still buzzing from the Mardi Gras-esque treatment it got last January. And by the time February 6 rolls around, there will have been a string of parties leading up to the big game. The folks at the Ruby Room are throwing a bash before Super Bowl weekend arrives, giving you a nice head start on the festivities. Their Media Mania Tailgate Party, a get-together with a tailgating theme, is a tribute to the Media Mania parties that took place here in the mid-'90s. Once just for the local TV, radio and print elite, the networking event is now open to everyone. Oh, and don't let the N-word scare you: You don't have to bring your business card, says the Ruby Room's Kim Coyne. Just hop in straight after work for $1.75 well drinks, Golden Tee, pool and a drawing for Aeros tickets. Consider this your chance to sport your favorite team's jersey while mowing down the stadium-style buffet. Just remember the sports fashion rule: More Diddy, less dumb jock. Mix some sparkling ice and phat jeans with your Texans, Eagles or Patriots jersey. 7 p.m. Thursday, January 27. 509 Main. For information, call 713-222-1033 or visit www.slainteirishpub.com. Free. - Lance Scott Walker
The Original Wet Spot's Red Snapper
"What are you having?" I was seated near the front of the Original Wet Spot (160 West Gray, 713-523-7768), dumbfounded by the number of TVs around me. I didn't respond to the bartender's question, so she asked me again. I couldn't think of anything. "Name something," I said. "I don't care." She came back with what she called a red snapper, with enough Crown Royal at the bottom to take the hair off my knuckles. She introduced herself as Chrystal. It was almost one in the morning, but I felt like I'd just gotten out of bed. Even though there was no game on, it seemed every tube in the joint was tuned to a different ESPN-type station. There was even a flat screen right in front of me on the bar! I didn't have the energy to try to charm Chrystal, and she walked away to tend to some more lively customers. Pretty soon a tall, emaciated gentleman with a bad comb-over sat down next to me, even though practically every other seat in the place was open. He lit a cigarette and blew the smoke out of his nose. For five minutes neither of us said a word. I started to feel creeped out, and more than once I turned around to see if there was a black sedan waiting out front with the engine running. Nothing happened. I paid for my drink and went back home to bed.
2 ounces Crown Royal whiskey
1-1/4 ounces Boulaine amaretto
Splash of cranberry juice
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and measure out ingredients. Shake well and pour into a tall glass. -- J.W. Crooker
Start Your Engines
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Whether you're bored with the latest clothing trends or just plain sick of the Galleria, Engines of Elk will help you overcome your fashion-induced malaise. The company is inviting wannabe Tom Fords to submit their design ideas online and site visitors to vote for the hippest trends. Engines of Elk will then produce the actual threads and sell them. The group's hoping to release its first line of clothing this spring, but it needs some start-up cash first, hence Engage 2.0, a fund-raising party in Houston. Enjoy drink specials and a clothing sale, and scan the crowd for future runway models at 9 p.m. Friday, January 28. 6 Degrees Lounge, 911 Franklin. For information, call 214-335-3607 or visit www.enginesofelk.com. $5. -- Julia Ramey
By now, any mention of "milkshake" conjures up images of a jiggling Kelis talking about how hers "brings all the boys to the yard." But anyone who has chilled at the joint put on by Lisa Rogers, Russ Corley and Steve Rogers knows that "Milkshake" is a fresh weekly happening at the swanky M Bar. There's more than just a DJ spinning R&B, soul and reggae one week could bring a fashion show, the next a CD listening party and still another an NBA or NFL star or even a bona fide celeb. 9 p.m. Thursday, January 27. Continues every Thursday. 402 Main. For information, call 713-751-0040 or visit www.77002.com. $20. - Steven Devadanam