Going out for daily booze-ups is expensive. I have a solution.

FEATURE by Paul Dechene

I am a firm believer in the importance of “third spaces.” This is the idea that for society to work, people need to have more than just home (the first space) and work (the second space) in their lives. They need a third space where they can gather informally with other people. A church, a union hall, a sportsplex, community centre, theatre, rock bar or tavern: the third space is where community forms. Home provides security for the family and individual. Work is for the business of the economy. But the third space is where everything else worth doing happens.

And there’s a school of thought that says every great idea first took root in a third space — that without third spaces, society flies apart.

Now maybe you see some sense in all this. Or maybe you’ll call bullshit, say this is an elaborate house of cards built of urban planning buzzwords I’ve erected to justify my fondness for drinking beer in downtown pubs and talking nonsense with friends.

Ha! You’ve found me out! Let’s saddle up to the bar so I can buy you a pint. Of course, in doing so I’ll highlight an issue of grave concern that threatens to rip the fabric of our society apart: that my preferred third space is expensive to inhabit.

Being a regular in a Prairie tavern is expensive work in the 21st Century, what with our predilection for luxury taxes and over-tipping. And seeing as our Puritan-in-Chief Harper isn’t likely to bring forth a budget that includes a monthly universal booze benefit to help offset the rise in the cost of drunker living, looks like I’m going to have to scale back my downtown drinking dreams (a bit) and start tippling at home. There’s no way around it.

“But you could find a new preoccupation. Move to a more wholesome third space,” you protest. “Take up a sport. Run for office. Find religion.”

Shhhhh. This article (as assigned) is about finding ways to drink alcohol for cheap. Put down your bible and your ball. Here are some options for how to transform home — the first space — into a third space.

THE COCKTAIL PARTY When inviting people over to one’s home for a one-off drinking event it is important to choose the right adjective to precede the word “party.” Consider that you can only use “birthday” once a year and when you do you’ll be subjected to embarrassing songs, presents you may not want and the bumps. Also, putting “bush” or “house” before the word “party” implies a level of debauchery and environmental destruction you may not want to encourage. A cocktail party on the other hand carries with it an element of sophistication without downplaying the idea of alcohol consumption.

THE TASTING This is a really just an excuse for a powerful bender veiled behind a layer of pretence so snobbish as to be almost unbearable. “Oh no, we’re not getting drunk. We’re exploring the marvellous diversity of fermentory craft.” Pfooui. It’s a piss-up passing as critique. But whatever. Fill your boots. And keep in mind that while tastings are traditionally limited to classy splashes like wine or scotch, there are far more alcohols to be sampled and mused over than that. Beer, gin, rum, tequila, etcetera — if there are more than a couple brands available at your neighbourhood SLGA, you can find an excuse to have people over to cluck their tongues and discuss the cherry notes and the peaty undertones to the flavour profile. If that’s your thing.

THE GAMES NIGHT Booze plus board games. It really doesn’t require more explanation than that.

THE SALON Booze plus poetry readings. Because… people like that?

THE HOUSE SHOW Regina has lately seen an upsurge in the number of music venues around town. Leopold’s, The Capitol, and the Fat Badger are just a few of the new places local bands entertain crowds. But even with all these, there are always more bands itching to play for a crowd — no matter how small — than there are stages. And if Leopold’s can fit a country band, so can your living room.

THE SPEAKEASY Let’s say you’ve always wanted to run your own pub but don’t want to go through all the trouble of getting “permits” and “licenses.” There’s really nothing stopping you from turning your home bar into the neighbourhood gin joint except, you know, “the laws.” If you choose to go this route, consider instituting a password system and getting one of those doors with a peephole. That will maximize your Prohibition-era fun and minimize the odds you’ll get shut down by the local flatfoot.