Cooper Street weirdness: Ashtrays, asses and ‘American Pie’ | AspenTimes.com

Cooper Street weirdness: Ashtrays, asses and ‘American Pie’

Chad Abraham

Like most bars that have been around 32 years, Cooper Street Pier has had its wild nights.There was the time about eight years ago when a patron said he had been abducted by a UFO, a UFO that happened to look like the ashtray he was holding. He flung it across the room to demonstrate, said 17-year bartender Michael “Toast” Puariea.The ashtray shattered, and man was ejected. Outside, he began masturbating in front of Cooper Street’s large windows, in full view of customers – some amused, some horrified – trying to enjoy a football game.”What was particularly funny was how people reacted to seeing him doing his thing,” Toast said. “It was a Sunday night, we had a football game on TV, so the bar was packed.”Police arrived on the scene before “it became a stickier situation,” he said.Another time, during a party to celebrate the life of a Cooper Street bartender who drowned trying to save a dog’s life, more nudity ensued.”Every year his friends would come into town, and we’d have a party with live music,” Toast recalled. “Dan Sheridan was playing ‘American Pie,’ and this guy got up, took off all his clothes, climbed up on a table buck naked and stood there singing ‘American Pie’ with Dan. People went crazy. It was hilarious.”That patron was allowed to stay.”We all knew him. We let it be,” he laughed. “He was kind of known for that.”Toast knows intoxication. He’s been around barrooms since he was 16, he said.Asked how he got his nickname, he said that he “was the kid who could get the keg [or] the bottle for the party. So it was kinda like, ‘Cheers! Toast!’ And [the moniker] came out of it.”When Cooper Street closes next fall, such barroom stories will be, well, toast.But there’s about 5,475 hours until last call, give or take a few days or weeks. Plenty of time for more masturbating abductees and naked singalongs.

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