If you're like most Americans, you probably spent part of your childhood playing Jenga, the simple game that requires you to remove wooden pieces from a tower of stacked blocks and place them on the top without knocking the whole thing over.
It was hard then. Add beer and it gets much more difficult -- and a lot more fun.
The Rock and Roll Hotel has turned Jenga into a drinking game with three rules: If you move a piece to the top, you make another player drink. If you use two hands to remove a piece, you drink. If you knock the tower over, you have to finish your beer, preferably by chugging.
Drunken Jenga is the brainchild of bartender and managing partner Fritz Wood, who dubbed himself "Jengis Khan." He was looking for a way to drum up business on slow nights and figured that Jenga, paired with $2 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, would be just the thing.
I stopped by with friends a few weeks ago to find most of the eight Jenga games occupied, though the bar's second level was less than half-full. We quickly learned that concentration is key: During one game, I tried to delicately remove a piece when I was startled by a loud clatter on the other side of the room, followed by laughter and shouting. Wood swiveled toward the noise. "I heard that!" he shouted. "You better drink."
DJ Ben Breier, who goes by Mr. Disco, provides a steady stream of indie rock and Britpop hits to keep the crowd entertained, though he's occasionally drowned out by the crash of wooden blocks.
-- Fritz Hahn (February 15, 2008)