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Wallet-friendly Advice From Your Friendly El Rio Bartender

Updated: Jun 23, 2009 16:57
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As a general rule, I feel odd writing about events going on at my place of employment.  One because its redundant and two..well, best leave that one alone.

Most people that have lived in the city for more than five years or live in the Outer Mission/ Bernal/ Excelsior hoods know about the usual deals and steals to be had at El Río, but I’d thought it might be nice to share the info and tip you all off on additional ways to avoid being gouged on some of the more pricey affairs the bar hosts.

So the following is a detailed rundown on what is the best the bar has to offer.  I hardly work on any of these shifts, but do drop by as that my co-workers could use the extra plata.

Whenever the bar comes up, the first thing people usually remember is Monday night, which was cooler before, but ain’t nothing to sneeze at still.

Basically from when the bar opens at five until when my co-workers close up shop*, canned Pabst Blue Ribbon goes for $1 and well booze goes for $2. They both used to be a dollar, but try not to bring it up, as it’s a sore subject with the staff.  Let’s just say, we know, we know.  Do feel free to write a strongly worded letter to the owner, however, if you care that much.

Oh, and there’s no cover.

Next, we have Tuesday, which has the volatile $3.00 House Margaritas All Night Long.  I personally, find this toxic offering vile, but if you like our phosphorescent delights, than this your night for sure.  They’re baby sized in highball glasses, but I assure you the hand is a heavy one.

What’s more, is you get an eclectic floorshow booked by my co-worker, Lynne (of local music duo Tartufi), who bartends that night.  My personal recommendation would be the 2nd Tuesday of the month when a group that calls themselves Los Trainwreck takes over the bar.  It’s a bizarre group of session artists from the sixties, seventies, and eighties plus random literary luminaries who get together, get drunk, sing some of the old standards, and joke about how many times Phil Specter pulled a gun on them.  Ever wanted to see Ben Fong- Torres sing Don Ho’s Tiny Bubbles?

Happy Hours
Happy Hour wise, you’ll find the standard sort of thing you’re likely to find anywhere.  Tuesday- Friday, 5pm-9pm.  Wells and draughts are $3. Nothin’ special.
These are the hidden perks though..

On Friday, get there exactly at five because the bar gives away Tomales Bay Oysters for free.  There’s no limit- just tip the shucker, and make sure you get there before every employee of SFUSD shows up, gets shattered and starts ordering you around the playground.  Free bbq at 8.  No cover.

The other bonus is that we have a short version on Saturday and Sunday from 1-3, but that isn’t the best part'.

Saturday and Sunday
Many is the pissed off customer that toddles up to the door on a sunny weekend, only to be horrified by the sticker shock of oddly-priced fundraisers and/or events such as Mango and our weekly Sunday Salsa tea dance.  The trick is to get there before three, cuz that’s when the cover starts.  So come early and get toasty on discount booze.  Just don’t be a dumb ass and leave at five to three and expect to get back in without a stamp.  Wait '˜til ten after, get your stamp, and then get the all the crap you and your friends are ordering from Taqueria Cancun.

* Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday can be tricky when it comes to closing time.  It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but sometimes you’ll hear the bartender scream last call as early as 11:30.  I won’t even attempt to try and rationalize this, but instead suggest you continue the Pink Elephant walk over to the Phone Booth.  We’re friends with all those guys and they always close at two.  I wouldn’t reccomend Nap’s- bad things have happened there after a certain hour.

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Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen's early years were spent in a boxcar overlooking downtown Los Angeles. From there he moved around the state with his family before settling under the warm blanket of smog that covers suburban Southern California. Moving around led to his inability to stay in one place for very long, but San Francisco has been reeling him back in with its siren song since 1999.
By trade he pours booze, but likes to think he can write and does so occasionally for the SF Bay Guardian, Bold Italic and 7x7. He also likes to enjoy time spent in old eateries, bars and businesses that, by most standards, would have been condemned a long time ago.