What a Night: Toasting the Landing on Mars

by Adam Rothstein on Aug 6, 2012 in Culture for Apex Bar
What a Night: Toasting the Landing on Mars

The music is loud and the Olympics are on, and I’m seemingly even more antisocial than usual, with my laptop connected to the Wi-Fi and my headphones connected to my ears as I sit at the end of one of the long patio picnic tables. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not alone — it’s August 5, 2012, and I’m online with over 150,000 others watching the landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars, broadcast live. My beer is a New Beligium Biere de Mars, tapped appropriately for the event by Portland’s Apex Bar, and it is sweating condensation down its curved glass as I tap my anticipation out on Twitter with a few thousand of my best Internet friends.

It’s hot night, as hot as it gets in Portland. If I was anywhere but the Northwest, I would be drinking something gin-laden or overfull of ice cubes. But while the rest of the continent scorches under drought, Cascadians are still happy drinking hearty draft beers. I’ve ridden my bike down to the Southeast, and locked it in the expanding bike parking area on the edge of Division Street. (That’s a very Portland thing, too — see also the fact that Apex has several bike locks available for loan, stashed behind the bar somewhere amid their 50 taps of beer).

Even in idyllic Portland, 2012 is a year of being variously unhappy, troubled, and angry about world events, and it feels good that the Mars landing is finally something to be unreservedly excited over. My network and I make the most of it. Virtual though it may be, we’re just another small group like the others gathered around the tables here on the patio, at the bar, or hovering over the ample number of pinball tables in the side room of the establishment. We’re telling jokes about spacecraft and skycranes and enjoying the hair styles at Mission Control, and though I can’t see it on the Livestream, I have a feeling I’m not the only one with a cold beer close at hand.

I don’t even realize that the NASA broadcast is on the main TV in the bar until the cheer goes up — they’ve done it, Curiosity is on the surface, it’s a success! Suddenly the Internet explodes into real life. Everyone in the bar is hugging and clapping hands. This is Portland, so of course all the nerds have taken the excuse to get out of the house, to share a beer and enjoy the moment. I shut my laptop and shake hands with some screen names.

I watch the scientists and engineers continue their glee as I finish my beer, substituting “the human species” for “the United States” in the press conference in my head, prolonging the magic of togetherness as long as I can before returning to the real world of wars, economies, nation-states and all the rest. “Gold medals for everyone”, I think as I ride my bike home. They are few and far between, the events we stage that can have no losing team.

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Behind the Bar: Liana Oster of Dante

Behind the Bar: Liana Oster of Dante

For this exciting installment of Behind the Bar, we had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Liana Oster, the head bartender at Dante in New Yo...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jan 7, 2020
Pabst Blue Ribbon Launches Blue Ribbon Whiskey in Select US Markets

Pabst Blue Ribbon Launches Blue Ribbon Whiskey in Select US Markets

PBR has launched their own whiskey. Let's keep an open mind and see what is inside this bottle....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Sep 24, 2019
The Master Sommelier Scandal is Now the Subject of a New Investigative Series

The Master Sommelier Scandal is Now the Subject of a New Investigative Series

There's a new investigative series about one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the wine world....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Sep 13, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Scientists may have discovered a more environmentally friendly way to make one of the world's most popular spi...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 23, 2019
Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Negroni Week 2019 is June 24-30, so drink this classic cocktail for a good cause....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 19, 2019
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

This time on Behind the Bar, we spoke to Kat Corbo of The Study, who recently won Speed Rack 2019....read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2019
Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

In a huge move for the American craft beer community, Boston Beer and Dogfish Head have agreed to a merger valued at $300 million dollars. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 10, 2019
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon has debuted an entirely new label design, has expanded to more states...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 3, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close