By gavincaganoff / July 21, 2022 /
Ultimate Guide to the Catalina Wine Mixer

The Ultimate Guide To The Catalina Wine Mixer

Hi, I’m James, one of the co-founders here at The BroBasket. Last September I had the rare opportunity to attend the very first real life Catalina Wine Mixer or - as it’s more properly called - The Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer!  Made famous by the classic aughts Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers, it was something I just couldn’t miss. I figured I would share my experience with you so that if you decide to go next year, you can do the Catalina Wine mixer properly!

Now I’m not necessarily going to say “do as I do” because what I did caught the eye of a couple of journos in attendance and landed me on the cover of a Vice article making me the de facto poster boy for everything wrong with the event in their eyes.  But hey, I had a great time. And when the article was trending on FaceBook a few days later, a lot of my friends thought I was “famous” for a day. So feel free to find your own path….OR follow my instructions and become a legend.

I am here to help properly prepare you for the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer, and not go in all nimbly bimbly like some newborn kitten. This is not just some boring wine mixer or typical Catalina bachelorette party.  I want you to be able to read this and go in there like it is Shark Week and you are a Great White (chomp)!  So sit back and pull out your notepad children, class is in sesh…

How To Do The Catalina Wine Mixer RIGHT!

Dress For The Occasion

Wear the funniest Step Brothers shirt or getup you can possibly get your hands on (or make in your mom’s basement, instead of doing karate). Everyone is there because they love the movie, so feel free to express yourself. As you can see by the picture atop this article, I chose a dashing getup of: Step Brother graphic tee from Urban Outfits my ex-GF got for me some years ago (joke’s on her), thrift store navy blazer with gold buttons emblazoned with anchors, khaki pants, and Sperry boat shoes. I topped it off with a faux sailor hat from Neff I bought on a lark at Buffalo Exchange (‘cause you know, boats and hoes). I saw a lot of white suits from the Boats ‘N Hoes music video from Step Brothers, cheap captain’s hats, Chewbacca masks, as well as lots of Step Brothers t-shirts. I’m not going to tell you how to dress, because I am not your mom, so use your best judgment and do what you feel is best my friend. The Catalina Wine Mixer is the unofficial event for Step Brothers fans everywhere (or at least for fans within driving distance of Long Beach). So come correct and show your Step Brothers love.

“Prepare” Yourself for the Event

I say prepare like you are going to get hit with a pillowcase full of bars of soap, but part of you is going to - your liver! There is a bit of food at the event, but let’s face it boozehound, you ain’t gonna have time for that so make sure you eat a solid meal as soon as you get on the island. This is going to sound contradictory to what I just said, but you are also going to want to pre-game a bit because once you get in the event the drinks are expensive. You can expect to spend somewhere in the $8-12 range depending on if you’re knocking back cocktails or tossing back beers.

The best place in my opinion to accomplish both tasks is Luau Larry’s - just be careful you don’t knock back too many Wicky Wackers or you aren’t even going to make it to the event. If you aren’t trying to go that hard, Avalon Grille and Bluewater Avalon are lovely restaurants, and Catalina Cantina has decent Mexican food if you want a nice thick base for all that booze you are about to ingest (or want an easy “throw up” meal for later).

Get There Early

I’m going to harp on this more later, but much like your wedding day, it’s good to get there early and enjoy it. There won’t be as many people, you’ll get a lay of the land, and if you followed my previous instructions, you should already have a good buzz going by now. Also by getting there early you’ll beat the lines for the wine tasting and can possibly make friends with the pourers, which you can then talk into pouring you a little extra. This leads me to my next point.

Actually Try Some Wine

Come to find out, they actually have wine (and beer) at the Catalina Wine Mixer - and it’s pretty good. The prices are a little higher than you might be used to spending and the pours are not as heavy as I would like, so make sure you buy some extra tasting tickets for $20. They do have an actual helicopter you can buy (or lease), so be sure not to have too many “tastes” of wine or you just might end up the proud new owner of a 24 month lease for a chopper. But hey, you make bank bro!

Ditch Your Friends For a Bit and Chat With Strangers

This may not fit everyone’s personality so take it with a grain of salt, but everyone is so liquored up at this event that everyone is in a good mood. Unless you’re the shy type, you might as well go around and chat some folks up. I’m tall (6’6”), friendly, and was dressed pretty ridiculously (as you can see), so a lot of people started chatting with me. If you are the type that struggles to start a conversation a funny tee shirt is always a great ice breaker.  There is also the tried and true peppering in of random Step Brothers quotes like introducing yourself by saying “You can call me Dragon.” Just take a look around you, those are some future friends out there brother!

For you single guys and gals out there, this is the perfect opportunity to bang one out next to a urinal in the bathroom. (It’s so slippery!) Just kidding, but it is nice to get off Tinder for a change and meet some real people in the real world that are somewhere doing what you already like doing. (AKA getting drunk). There’s no need to worry that his profile said he was “employed” or her bio said she “wasn’t married.”  Dress for success, have fun, and try to remember their name…is it Pam or was it Pan?! I can’t help you with your memory – that one’s on you.

If you are in luck one of those strangers just might be a celebrity.  One of our buddies, we’ll call him Luigi, ended up hanging out with Chuck Liddell. We all thought people from the movie were going to show up but it didn’t happen, so Chuck had to do.  Anyways, I’d like to think they are still friends to this day.

Get In The Water and Have Fun

While you are out exploring and meeting new people, make sure you take your shoes off and/or bring a bathing suit and hop into the water. Catalina gets hot and that water will feel a lot better than licking white dog shit.  It’s a tad rocky, but the water is a beautiful color of azure and by the time you jump in, you’ll probably have a solid buzz so those rocks will just feel like a deep massage. There are probably going to be some other revelers out there as well, so sit back and chat Step Brothers with them, plus there’s so much room for activities!

Enjoy the music and dance a little

When I went, their one and only musical guest was the Dan Band and who else do you really need at the event (I fuckin' need ya now more than eva!!)  Anyways, nowadays they have a full musical lineup so make sure you are in the front row, hammered drunk, wearing a tuxedo t-shirt.  Maybe even dance with some of those new friends you made. Don’t worry, if you didn’t make any just cozy back up with your buddies and tell them you got lost because you were blazing it up with Johnny Hopkins and Sloan Kettering.

Bonus Tip – Come early, Stay late

Catalina is a wonderful place, so don’t arrive late to the boat or leave early because your friend is blacked out drunk like some Long Beach street rat.  In our case we got a room for the night, came early enough to enjoy Catalina a bit, have a few drinks, and have breakfast in the morning. You do NOT want to make that boat ride hungover!  A lot of other folks had to make the choppy drunken puke-fueled boat ride back that night, which made the pricey hotel room we grabbed seem a lot cheaper. Some people, my friends included, went out after the event to a local “club” that I would suggest NOT going to if you value the ability to successfully take a boat ride back the next morning.

What NOT To Do At The Catalina Wine Mixer

Do Not Get Left Behind

I personally went with one of my biggest boozehound friends, (because who else are you going to go with?) and he invited an even bigger lush, Luigi (you know, Chuck’s homie). He was hungover from a night of drinking and was running a little late. To his credit he was invited at the last minute because one of our other “friends” flaked as we thought she would.  How late was Luigi?  Well the only way to get to Catalina island is via boat or helicopter, and he showed up just as the boat was leaving.  Of course it being the day of the Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer he couldn’t just wait for the next one out, and most of the normal helicopters were booked, so he had no choice other than to pony up $300 to get a sightseeing heilo that shows you dolphins and whales and stuff.  Normally this would be pretty badass, but he was the only person on the chopper and was running late as it was, so he had to tell the pilot to cut the sightseeing short because he was trying to fuck shit up. Oh Luigi, we love him anyway.

Do Not Publicly Makeout


You’re feeling great, you just met your new soul mate, and they just have a face you want to punch in the suck hole with your suck hole. Don’t do it right then and there my friend. Take it to a secluded spot and suck face. It’s an island bro, and there are plenty of places to do just that. I am guilty as charged for this one. Those days are behind me now, but maybe I could have saved some of my dignity by classing it up and finding a more private spot (middle of the dance floor seemed like a good idea at the time). It wasn’t.

Do Not Get Too Drunk

Man oh man…I could not count the number of totally annihilated people at the event, Luigi included.  All I could hear on the long stumble back to the docks and main drag of Catalina was a cacophony of slurred “The faaawwkin Cat-a-leen-a waaine miieexer!!!” most of which were people being held up by slightly less drunk friends.  Events are best remembered in their entirety, so pace yourself. If you are fortunate enough to meet a pretty girl or a cool guy, you won’t want to be completely wasted, otherwise you might not be able to escort them back to the dock and grab a kiss good night.  Also, don’t try to bang her in the bathroom - that was a joke! You are not some hillbilly, so try to carry yourself like a learned doctor god dammit!

If You Are Fall Down Drunk, Call It A Night

Once again I am going to use our good friend Luigi as an example here.  He was fairly blacked out, as I mentioned previously. At the end of the night we took him back to the hotel and after much back and forth (as well as a bit of trickery) we got him to go to bed.  That didn’t stop him - he somehow made it to the bar we ended up at. How he found the exact place on the island is still a mystery... but hey, you are not supposed to wake up a person sleep walking, so we didn’t. The lesson here is don’t be Luigi. Call it a night when you are supposed to.

Visiting the Catalina Wine Mixer Info

I want to leave you folks with some substance in case you actually came here for some solid information on the event and not just my bizarre story. So here’s what I got for ya:


  • Catalina Wine Mixer Info – All the information that you need to know about the event itself.
  • Descanso Beach Club – Where the event is held, they have a lot of fun stuff going on there if you are trying to make a solid weekend of it.
  • Catalina Express – The best and cheapest way to get there (outside of swimming) is taking a boat, and these guys are basically the only show around.  You can go there and back in a day or stay a few.
  • Catalina Helicopter Rides – Get there quick AF without the seasickness, albeit in a more expensive way, with a fancy helio ride.  If you are a baller on a budget you can chopper there and boat back.
  • Book a Room – Like I said, you can make it an epic single day event or have a lovely weekend, its kinda pricey but worth it in my eyes.
  • Pro Tip: Rent a Boat – If I could do it all over again I would rent (or borrow your dad's) sailboat and cruise out there on that bad boy then stay the night. Make sure you pack your nachos, lemonheads, and sangria and watch out for the rocks
  • Capital helicopters – If you’re really trying to walk out of there with a chopper, these guys have some great info on that