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Suffer the Tequila and Pickle Juice


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The Sufferin Bastard, or the Sufferin B, as it's listed in the phone book, is a small tavern out by Peterson Air Force Base that holds about 50 to 60 patrons, max. It is also the name of a shot that involves pickle juice and tequila, the specialty shot of the house -- and the main reason I convinced my co-workers, Scott and Owen, to take a trip out there with me.

The Sufferin B is small and clean. Its wood-paneled walls are adorned with pictures of Harleys and placards with sayings. A couple of rows of wooden tables are pushed together, forming two long rows of family-style seating down the middle of the room, with a few smaller tables against the far wall. There are two pool tables off to the side and -- most impressively -- a big ol' wooden bar, spacious and inviting, with lots of bottles of alcohol behind it.

At first it appears to be just your basic hole-in-the-wall, well-established, well-worn tavern. And by all accounts, it is a local's local bar, steeped in the collective personalities of its regular patrons. You don't really appreciate that until you've been sitting in there a while, though.

Things reveal themselves slowly, like the Hanoi Jane Urinal Stickers in the men's room. Or the Copulation Compilation, Vols. I & II, on the jukebox. Or the beer taps behind the bar with Harleys for handles. And the stall in the women's room whose walls are several feet above the toilet, thereby serving no real purpose. And last but not least, the menu ...

While it does offer wings, burgers, barbecue beef, popcorn and burritos, in hindsight you realize that you shouldn't go to Sufferin Bastard for food. I won't go into detail, but let's put it this way: A guy sitting at the edge of the bar suggested we order from Domino's next door. I thought he was just messing with us, but, in fact, just as our food arrived at the table, the Domino's guy came bursting through the door with a couple of pizzas for some folks at the bar. Though we had three baskets of wings and a barbecue beef sandwich in front of us, we were envious of the guys with the pizza. You live and learn. We haven't yet died from the still-frozen chicken wings...

By about 7:30 p.m. the place was beginning to clear out. We'd had a couple pitchers of beer and eaten "dinner." The clientele had warmed up to us and we'd bonded with the bartender/cook via the mishap in our meal. Finally, a round of shots was in order.

But when I asked about their house specialty, the bartender listed our choices as Apple Schnapps or Butter Babies. When we pressed further, she continued in the schnapps vein.

"Don't you have anything with tequila?" we asked.

A big smile spread across her face. "Tequila? Oh, yes. I just thought ..."

She'd taken us for schnapps drinkers. I was insulted. Scott blamed it on my red sweater. It could just as easily have been Owen's purple polar fleece.

Turns out, the Sufferin Bastard -- the drink -- is a shot of tequila chased by a shot of pickle juice -- homemade pickle juice with a splash of jalapeo, the owner's "secret" recipe.

The pickle juice chaser is much better than any lime and salt combination I've ever had, and it's a perfect complement to the tequila. You really don't want to do more than two of these, though. Owen summed up the aftermath of the shot with the simple words, "I think it's coming out my ears."

Happy, content and reveling in a pickle-juice-and-tequila stupor, the evening was winding down. Three dollars somehow got us 21 songs in the jukebox. And, actually, Vol. I of the Copulation Compilation wasn't too bad.



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