The Strangest Places to Get Free Wine
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Guest post by Benjamin Steele
I tumbled down a rabbit hole. Dentists are serving wine now. I have mixed feelings. I mean, that’s a pretty strong reason for me not to hate going to the dentist’s any more. But should I be worried about people putting sharp and various whirring objects in my mouth when there’s open alcohol around the place?
After careful risk assessment, I decided it would probably be worth the risk.
Further research revealed that a law was passed at the start of the year that allowed salons and barbers in California to serve alcohol to their customers, as long as it’s free.
Wait a minute. Salons and barbers?
The whole thing got me thinking. I wonder where else industrious, cheap, greedy buggers like me could get a few free drinks.
Turns out, pretty much everywhere in the Bay Area, if you know how to look. Sometimes, you might need to spend on other services first.
1: Oddly Enough, Wineries
I wouldn’t have thought that, since their entire business is alcohol, wineries would be a good bet. Colour me surprised.
California has a lot of wine country (duh), but there are a few hotspots for freebies, mostly North of SF:
- Napa Valley
- Sonoma, Guerneville, Geyserville
- The occasional spirit shop in the city
- And in-city tasting rooms
- Even Treasure Island
- Here’s a handy list for Sonoma county
2: Pedis and Spas
As a dude, I’ve never set foot in a pedicure place or a spa. But a quick search for pedicures and wine on Yelp reveals a whole world that I never knew existed. I’m not ashamed to say I love a good mimosa, so …
You might have to pay a little extra for the spa service, but if you find the right place, like LuxSF, you could be in luck. I don’t know what makes a good spa, but the reviews of the drinks are pretty stellar, at least.
And there’s always the ever-popular Drybar.
3: Art Walks
Art walks are pretty long-standing traditions in SF, so if you haven’t check any of them out yet, you’re in for a treat. There are a few, but the San Francisco Art Walk around Union Square is regularly supported by local galleries and restaurants. They happen on the first Thursday of the month, and there’s likely to always be something new to see and taste.
Then there’s the less regular Lower Haight Art Walk. It’s a good idea to follow their Facebook page; they post about cool stuff happening, like comedy and $1 beers. That’s next to free!
4: A Plant Nursery?!
OK, this is getting a little silly.
Plant Nursery is, by all accounts, a very helpful and friendly place to pick up a plant and snag a quick drink.
These fine folks were recently involved in a frustrating situation and were forced to move, so throw some business their way if you can.
5: Switching Focus to Beers!
This is a bit of a rag-tag section. I couldn’t ignore the fact that SF has a great craft beer scene.
It’s a good idea to follow the San Francisco Brewer’s Guild. Even when their events aren’t free, they tend to be cheap and totally worth it. From nature walks to runs that finish up at a bar, to craft beers on the bay, you’re bound to meet plenty of people in the brewing and local bar business.
We also have Writers With Drinks, which, while not free, deserves an honourable mention for being hilarious and awesome.
Of course, you could always book your next dental appointment.
Remember folks, drink responsibly, and always organize alternative transport. Don’t drink and drive!