The Cactus is located downtown on Main Street, right next to the hot spot that is Mac And Charlies. Years ago, in those early twenties, the Cactus was a small bar that for the most part was frequented by sad, old men looking to drink the night away. It could have been easily considered the Jim's Alibi of downtown (see my last post about Jim's Alibi.) A few other groups would pop in and out, but it was a quaint little place to hang your hat if you just wanted to chill out for awhile with your friends and listen to the jukebox for a few hours.
It was here a group of my friends took me for my 22nd birthday. On a side note, my 21st birthday had been good, but less than spectacular. I was just beginning to make friends in Boise and my birthday was spent at a cast party for the play King Stag. My first experience buying beer was across the street at the 7/11, in which I wasn't even carded. I did take my first shot of tequila that night. And by shot, I mean tequila was poured into a juice glass that was as tall as a shot glass, but much, much wider. I did manage to drink it all, with no chaser, and later that evening visited the toilet over and over again.
Okay, back to the 22nd birthday. My friends and I had enjoyed quite the evening at the Cactus. For much of the evening, we compiled the main population of the bar, excluding a few regulars and pop-ins. The drinks flowed quickly and often. Hardly a moment went by where my hand was empty of a glass. It was what I considered my true 21st, as I don't recall paying for a drink that night. And the Cactus helped to provide that fun with it's low key settings and inexpensive drinks. As I drifted into oblivion, my friend insisted on one more shot. Despite my pleadings of no, he walked to the bar and returned with a dark colored shot. He placed it down in front of me and told me that I couldn't refuse a free shot. I put on my brave face and slammed the shot down. To my joy, the shot was composed of Pepsi and Pepsi alone. The same little trick had been played on him (Or he had seen it done. Memory is a little fuzzy on that one.) Either way, as I stumbled out the front door with the aid of my friends, I realized my night was complete.
Except it wasn't. Two of my friends, both underage, were waiting back at my apartment drinking forties and playing NBA Live on the Nintendo 64. They had waited to take me to breakfast, which we went and the unfortunate spit incident occurred (an entirely different story for another time.)
So, as it is, the years passed and the Cactus grew in popularity. It's a rarity that on the weekend the Cactus will not be packed. They've even gone as far as to open the back patio, which has heaters and a canopy. The drinks are still cheap and it's a nice place to hang out with friends. Too many people, though, from next door at Gusto's stop in and clog up the place. Though the smell of axe can't quite replace the smell of vomit that has somehow inhabited the place. Personally, I think the two are related but I haven't scientifically proven that yet. Aside from that, grab your friends, get a table, and enjoy the night of memories that the Cactus will likely create.
"I'm shadowboxing in a match the shadow is always going to win."- JFK