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Black Wednesday lifts spirits before Thanksgiving

Before Thanksgiving's feast with family, there's Black Wednesday's festivities with friends. Drink it up.

November 16, 2012|By Matt Donnelly, Los Angeles Times

There are plenty of events in the calendar year that demand attention, planning and a patient liver. But only a few of these occasions duke it out for the title of "biggest party night" on the books.

Halloween becomes a drink-a-thon (and skimpy costume competition) when one reaches drinking age, yet it pales in comparison to the pressure brought on by New Year's Eve: the annual race to change everything about your character and have made said transformation by Jan. 2 (because you were a little hungover on the 1st).

But what if you were told that the biggest party night of the year was a subtle-but-booze-soaked romp hidden beneath a sacred American tradition?

Black Wednesday, as it's sometimes called, is Thanksgiving Eve. A time for embracing the food carnage to commence on Thursday. A time when the family is together again, which inevitably snowballs into boredom. Which leads to excessive drinking.

In all seriousness, hospitality types and twentysomethings take advantage of the fact that Thanksgiving Day is one devoid of responsibility — the only obligation is to eat turkey and perhaps watch football. This leaves Wednesday night wide open for seeing old friends and tying one on.

Black Wednesday is at its purest in no-fuss venues where, as a silent killer, an innocent drink in the neighborhood becomes a Facebook mobile upload with the caption "Hammered!"

Think Barney's Beanery in West Hollywood or Pasadena, where Picklebacks (a shot of whiskey chased with a shot of pickle juice) flow as bountifully as stuffing will the following day.

Whether you've long celebrated the occasion or want to give it a whirl, here's some solid advice: first things first, start early. Turkey feasts tend to begin mid-afternoon , so you'll decrease your hangover severity the earlier you hit the bed the night before. Also, it'll be harder for your family to judge your boozing excesses the earlier you rise from sleep.

Second, take a cab. Also, in regard to the aforementioned Facebook upload? Avoid social media. It will help you maintain a wholesome timeline of family activities and leave no record of the dozen empty bottles of pumpkin ale on your pub table.

The day before Thanksgiving, prepare a contribution to the celebration: buy some cupcakes, chop and store some veggies or simply ask your chef what you can do ahead of time. So no one can say you brought nothing to the table but your sunglasses and Advil.

Eat until your soul is restored, take a nap and then do it all over again. Black Wednesday is now behind you, and now that you've soldiered through that tryptophan you should probably help clean up. Be safe and grateful.

matt.donnelly@latimes.com

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