Food & Drink » Dining Reviews

The Local Motive’s bus tours rely on intangibles to justify ticket costs

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All the finest threads Goodwill has to offer party participants. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • All the finest threads Goodwill has to offer party participants.
Lacie Richardson and Mike Preisler have a solid business model with The Local Motive, the party bus they started running in May of 2018. The couple bought an old school bus and refurbished it with lights that flash between primary colors; a sound system; bench-style seating and other accommodations for their intended bar-hopping passengers. They set up a theme and an itinerary for the evening, and they charge around $25 a head for a night to remember — or possibly regret.

What they do falls mostly outside of what we traditionally critique, so when we sign up for a recent bar crawl, we do so with an eye toward what value they add to justify the cost. The crawl we select is titled 1st Stop: A Thrift Shop. Its premise: Early in the evening, the bus would stop at a Goodwill, giving us half an hour to assemble an outfit or accessories for an evening of dive bar hopping.
GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
We began at Thunder & Buttons, the only stop the organizers announced in advance. Pre-event, we were encouraged by email to get dropped off at the starting point, and they offered a $10 discount code for zTrip for us to get home safely afterward. In the hour we’re given at T&B, my drinking buddy and I enjoy happy hour discounts on beer, and snack on soft, chewy pretzels served with rich cheese.
GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
Soon, a Local Motive employee herds us up for an orientation talk, and we board the sky-blue bus. We note several handles bolted to the seating, a safety feature that will prove invaluable as the dancing escalates over the course of the evening. We also spot a basket of bagged chips and a cooler of water bottles, also smart additions. When we arrive at the Goodwill on South Circle Drive, we’re told which color tags are half-off that day, and that our ticket includes no extra discount. We’re regular customers, if slightly tipsy and unusually fond of leopard print, and we’re provided plastic bags for our street clothes back on the bus.
GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
Our next stop: The Hatch Cover, a fine choice for its menu of novelty shots and all-around cheap drinks. After 45 minutes there, we’re rounded up for a group photo before moving to Legends Rock Bar & Grill, where the evening continues to a soundtrack of Primus and Metallica. We order Rocky Mountain oysters, here served sliced up and fried up with optional horseradish — a fine bar snack indeed. Once more, 45 minutes pass, and we make our way to Benny’s, where we’re promised live music — not counting the group “Bohemian Rhapsody” sing-along we’re told is traditional. After 45 minutes there, we head back to T&B.
GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
Beyond the ticket, the five-hour evening cost $100 for my alcohol, snacks and thrift store clothing alone. Our tickets don’t include any special offers or discounts, and it’s easy to rack up a bill, depending on one’s drinking habits. That $25 ticket does pay for a few luxuries: safe transport between bars, far cheaper than cabs or rideshares; the water and chips; curation of the itinerary; a friendly, comparatively benign party atmosphere with bumpin’ tunes; and a sense of camaraderie with a group of strangers. Whether or not that’s enough added value for a large commitment of disposable income is a matter of personal calculus. In any case, it was a different way to experience the Springs on a Saturday night.

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