General Tips for Drinking Cheaply
This originally appeared in my book Young, Broke & Beautiful: Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply
Below are a few tips for getting your drink on cheaply. Feel free to give your own advice in the comments section:
Buybacks: A buyback is when, after you buy a few rounds, the bartender buys the next one. While it doesn’t always happen, if it does, it’s after the third or fourth round. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help make sure you get one. Here’s some tips:
1. Try to order from the same bartender all night long.
2. Tip extra well on the first drink and at least a buck a drink after that.
3. If it’s not too busy try to chat a little with the barkeep.
4. Keep your orders simple and try to order the same things all night long.
5. Offer to buy the bartender a drink. Even if they accept, they probably won’t charge you.
If you do all these things, you are almost guaranteed to win the bartender’s favor and at least one free drink. If it doesn’t happen, this usually means one of three things:
1. The bar has super strict pouring rules. You probably shouldn’t have been drinking there in the first place.
2. The bartender is as dick. Try not to give him/her your business again.
3. The bartender remembers last time you were there and you got 86’d for whatever the hell it was you got 86’d for.
Buy a Flask: It’s the eternal dilemma: your friends call you an alcoholic if you drink by yourself, but you can’t afford to drink at a bar. So what do you do? That’s easy! Bring your own booze to the bar. Why else would god have invented flasks? Now all you need to do is pony up the cash for a mixer and pour your own drink on the sly. Just don’t get caught or they might not let you come back…ever.
As for the cost of the flask: if you wanna be fancy about your drinking you can get a billion different flask variations (like this badass one). But since I know you’re not worried about how people perceive you (you’re sneaking a flask into a bar for fuck’s sake), you can always just get a plastic flask for between $5 and $10. This way you can also get by any metal detectors.
Industry Night: Landing somewhere between Sunday and Tuesday, Industry Night is when bars lower their prices in order to attract a service industry crowd. This benefits everyone: service industry people often have those nights off and want to go out. Those same nights are generally slow for most bars. As you can see it’s a match made in some kind of Dionysian heaven. So while you may not be an industry person yourself, you can certainly still go out and drink on industry nights. Ask around and find out which bars do it. Plus it’s a great way to meet servers and bartenders, people who may be inclined to hook you up some how at their place of employment. The tricky part is hoping they remember who you are. Industry people can party pretty hard.
Ladies Night: Avoid Ladies Night like you would a homeless guy with his johnson hanging out. These events are always a awful occasions ripe with the potential for violence, and the truth is, nobody ever really has fun. Sure the drinks are cheap, but there’s usually only one chick for every four dudes. Calling it “Ladies Night”is the biggest misnomer ever. This is bad for the fellas because the competition gets extra fierce, and it’s bad for the ladies because that many horny guys competing with each other just makes the whole vibe fell kinda rapey. Just don’t go.
Dress Codes: Any place that has a dress code is not gonna be cheap. Don’t even bother. Plus, generally speaking, the dress codes are meant to keep out the thuggish riffraff who get drunk and get into fights. I’m willing to bet that just about every night club where someone gets shot has a dress code. People who spend all their time in places with fancy dress codes are just trying too hard anyways.
Drink in Gay Bars: I don’t give a fuck if you’re gay or not. Gay bars have something for everyone. If you’re gay or lesbian duh, you’re here anyways. If you’re a straight girl it’s all the dancing you want without any of the weird grabby dudes. If you’re a straight guy, you’re the only available meat for a bunch of fruit flies who’ve spent all night dancing with attractive men who are absolutely unattainable. I have certainly met girls in gay bars before.
But here’s the rub (actually that happens in the bathroom), drinks are usually way cheaper than at non gay bars. For example, there used to be a bar in San Francisco called Bar on Church that sold 80 cent drinks during their Monday 80’s night. Yeah, you read that right, 80 cent drinks! At that price they should hand out a condom with every third drink. But actually they don’t have to because every gay bar I’ve ever been in has jars of free condoms anyways. Cheap drinks, free condoms, and shitty dance music. Hey, at least two out of three ain’t bad.