My friends and I have long talked about the days when we would while away our last semester at college over drinks at The Tombs — joining the ranks of those before us who counted themselves amongst the 99 Days Club. Yet this summer, as I stood watching (with mingled excitement and horror) senior year barrel toward me with ever-growing momentum, I decided that the 99 Days club was not enough.
Somehow it did not seem like a big enough undertaking for us, for my friends, my veritable family for the past four years. I wanted to do something more; something to augment the already great tradition of the 99 Days Club (we are, after all, the kids running around donning the “Go Bro or Go Home” jerseys). Who knows where we will all be next year, and in light of that I wanted for us to have some kind of final project together. An adventure, so to speak, on the eve of our own unexplored frontier. And so the idea of 99 Bars in D.C. was born. The name kind of says it all, and while at first this may sound like some kind of elaborate (not to mention expensive) excuse for binge drinking, as the idea has taken shape — gratefully my friends, because they are my friends, were not quick to dismiss the idea — it is starting to become so much more than that.
Indeed I am starting to tack it up to a kind of catchall for our collegiate aspirations: fully embracing the excitement of our long-anticipated senior year, the fact that we are finally all 21, an excuse to get out and explore the corners of this city we have yet to visit, and perhaps most significantly, a way to leave a trail behind us — a way for us to carve our names into the proverbial booth of D.C. together. We will call it “The Farewell Tour: Around the District in 99 Bars,” or alternately, “We came, we saw, wedrank.”
My technologically savvy roommate took the idea and ran with it, creating a website where we will scatter all of the evidence of this journey, replete with amateur reviews of places we visit, funny tales of particular shenanigans and, naturally, embarrassing photos. The idea is to document the journey, and effectively, our senior year: to create a digital scrapbook, just for us, of this rather frivolous project. Hopefully this will yield, perhaps inexplicably, much more meaningful results.
Thus far, we have successfully visited approximately zero new locales, unless you count the bar at the Chili’s in Crystal City, but that is another issue entirely. But I am unfazed by this. There is plenty of time left in the year and quite frankly this whole project is less about the number of places we actually visit (though I would sincerely love to reach 99) so much as it is about spending quality time together — and giving us an excuse to make our last year of college count. I plan to use this pact as something to rally behind, something to fend off insouciance or the stress of job applications and facing the vast unknown of post-undergrad life. But most of all, this experience is going to be fun. Because I know this much is true: not going out with a bang? Well, that’s just no way to say goodbye.
Margaret Delaney is a senior in the college. THIS MUCH I KNOW IS TRUE appears every other Friday.