Wasted Potential

Giligin's in Scottsdale has good old-fashioned entertainment all figured out, and all of us lemmings will eventually jump into owner Mike Field's arms -- it's just a matter of time.

Giligin's Wheel of Fear Factor game on Wednesday nights is one of the best-kept secrets in the greater Phoenix area. Contestants from all over the Valley willingly sign up to play this game every week, and you never know what you're going to see. More on that later . . .

The premise is this: The game is played like Wheel of Fortune, with contestants spinning a wheel. If they land on a "Crazy Pete's Fear Factor" spot, they have to either take a dare for points or walk away while the entire bar hoots and hollers about their mothers and whatnot. What these contestants are trying to win is (surprise, surprise) beer.

At one point during our visit, Field leans over and slyly remarks, "It's amazing what people will do for beer." He then laughs and walks away. We spend all evening realizing how right he is. If contestants reach 10,000 points, they get a keg of beer courtesy of Giligin's.

Now, back to the dares. For men, they usually run in the area of food products. We saw men eat eggs with almost fully developed chicken embryos in them (they were decorated like Easter eggs), cockroaches, silkworms, dog food and lard doughnuts. These dares are the main reason for the large trash can placed next to the podium. If you're squeamish about seeing strangers lose their lunch, we suggest finding a seat closer to the rear of the bar.

Dares for women run in the area of mammary exposure. Yeah, they flash their boobs. Or at least they're asked to. With the help of several drinks from the bar, most comply. One night, a particular female patron is so eager to play that she just decides to walk around the bar with her shirt up and give free lap dances to anyone unfortunate enough not to get up before she arrived.

In terms of atmosphere, the crowd is a great mix of older and younger folk, and the running commentary provided by "Chuey the Rock 'n' Roll Midget" is priceless. It's Chuey's job to turn the letters on the board when someone actually gets that far, and then to chastise anyone within shouting distance. There's also a fantastic array of bar signs on the ceiling and a bar swing at the end of the bar.

As people head out the door on a steamy Wednesday night, Field shakes visitors' hands, then throws up his arms and says, "Hey, we're all about fun!" He then offers to give anyone too drunk to drive a ride home in the back of his truck. This simple act of generosity seems strange after such a night. But that's why Giligin's stands out -- it's fun, it's run by some solid folks, and they have a midget.