Alcohol doesn’t have a reputation for making people smarter, but it is entirely possible to pick up a glass while also picking up some wisdom. Instead of sneaking a flask into your continuing education class, check out these lecture series and museum nights where you can fill your head with fascinating facts while you throw a few back.
Astronomy on Tap
Der Wolfskopf, 72 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena
Astronomers from Caltech urge you to “bring your thirst for beer and your thirst for knowledge” to this event, held one Monday a month. Experts from places like UCLA, The Planetary Society, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory give 10-15 minute informal talks relating to astronomy or astrophysics. Between talks the scientists hang out in the bar and answer questions from audience members. TV screens show trivia questions, and prizes include NASA paraphernalia.
Citizen Science + Suds
Angel City Brewery, 216 Alameda St.
The Natural History Museum has partnered with Angel City Brewery for a series of panel discussions on how citizen science is changing our city, state, and world. A recent talk on “SLIME,” which stands for Snails and slugs Living in Metropolitan Environments, explained how members of the public are contributing to research on local mollusks. Upcoming events happen on Feb. 9, March 9, and April 13, 2017.
First Fridays at the Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, 900 Exposition Blvd.
Cost: $18 (free for museum members)
First Fridays at the Natural History Museum are so popular the events often sell out. You can tour the museum after hours, attend a panel discussion, or grab a drink and check out the live music and DJ lounge. In 2016, First Friday discussions included “Mostly Dead Is Slightly Alive,” a look at the functionality of zombie brains in popular TV shows and films. The series starts up again on Feb. 3, 2017.
Nerd Nite Los Angeles
Busby’s East, 5364 Wilshire Blvd.
Nerd Nite’s name and tagline, “Be there and be square,” capture the event’s irreverent sense of humor. In this nationwide lecture series, scientists and experts of various disciplines give 20-minute presentations on subjects like “Pit Bulls: They’re Just Dogs” and “Rubik’s Math.” The audience imbibes throughout, and there’s a break between lectures so you can visit the bar. Happens monthly. The next event is Thurs., Jan. 12, 2017. Doors open at 7, and presentations start at 8. Get tickets here.
Shark Lagoon Nights
Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach
On Friday nights the Aquarium of the Pacific keeps its outdoor Shark Lagoon exhibit open late. (Well… until 9pm.) While most of the aquarium is closed during the event, the shark exhibit includes 150 sharks, as well as touch pools where guests can pet bamboo and epaulette sharks. Wine, beer, and snacks are available, and each event includes a live band. You can peek at the sharks via the Aquarium’s webcam anytime you want.
Skeptics Society Science Salon
The Skeptics Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes critical thinking on scientific topics, holds occasional science salons featuring prominent scientists and intellectuals in conversation. A recent event featured physicist and jazz saxophonist Dr. Stephon Alexander discussing the link between music and the structure of the universe. The steep ticket price includes an autographed copy of the guest’s book, as well as hors d’oeuvres and wine. (You can watch past lectures online for free.)