The mark-ups on beer, wine, and liquor at bars are enough to sober up anyone. A typical $1 bottle of domestic ale costs $4, and a $2 glass of wine fetches $8. And that’s before you tip. Consumer news flash: whenever you buy drinks out, you’re getting soaked and heavily so. Pour over these strategies before you hit the bars.
14.1 Drink Out Less
□ 14.1.1 Stay Away From Bars
Socialize at less expensive venues: coffee shops, museums on free days, high school sporting events, etc.
□ 14.1.2 Drink After Work at Work
In Boston Legal, every episode ended with Messrs. Shatner and Spader enjoying their after work drinks at the office. Those guys were savvy savers. If permitted, hoist the Friday libations at work.
□ 14.1.3 Drink at Home
Invite friends over for pizza and beers. Split the costs.
□ 14.1.4 Carry Flasks
The trusty flask hasn’t gone the way of raccoon coats and flivvers. But don’t be a bad cheapskate who sneaks pours at bars. Do, however, tell friends to meet you somewhere for sodas with supplements—and it’s your treat.
□ 14.1.5 Drink Sodas Only
Just because you’re at a bar doesn’t mean you must have alcohol. Drink cokes instead. Your cost for a couple of hours, with tips, drops from $10-$20 to $4-$5.
□ 14.1.6 Pursue Better Drinking through Nursing
Drink slow. Take one sip of alcohol and then one sip of water.
□ 14.1.7 Place Limits
If you can give yourself hard-line rules and follow them faithfully, commit never to consume more than one drink per night.
14.2 Shop Around
There’s beer pong, there’s quarters, and then there’s the pauper of drinking games—finding the best deals on alcohol.
□ 14.2.2 Find Discount Bars
If bar banners promote $2 draws, meet buddies there instead of places that sell the same beer for $4.
□ 14.2.3 Tour Breweries and Wineries
And try the FREE samples.
□ 14.2.4 Clip Coupons
Buy a local entertainment coupon book and use it. Check the internet for deals before you head out the door.
□ 14.2.5 Order Specials
Monday it’s Guinness, Tuesday it’s Coors. Make it a habit: always ask “what’s on special?”
□ 14.2.6 Call in Relief Pitchers
Beer by the pitcher costs less than individual glasses.
□ 14.2.7 Go Small
Order twelve ounces instead of full pints.
□ 14.2.8 Try Samplers
If you’re about to imbibe in something new, ask for a sample first.
□ 14.2.9 Hunt Down Promos
Certain bars always seem to host liquor companies that dispense hats, tee-shirts and other freebies. Search their websites for events.
14.3 Avoid Driving While Influenced
A drunk driving charge hits the pocketbook hard, with tow trucks, impoundments, attorneys, fines, and auto premium hikes. You also risk injury to yourself and others. It’s easy to keep the possible consequences in mind as you read this, but it’s difficult after three drinks. Resolve never get into the driver’s seat if you’ve had more than one. Keep your resolution by having a solid exit strategy in place before you ever enter the bar.
□ 14.3.1 Drink Locally
Pick bars within easy walking distance of where you live.
□ 14.3.2 Designate a Driver
Drink with a trusted teetotaler who can get you home safely.
□ 14.3.3 Take a Cab
Know in advance which nearby hotels have cabstands; program your cell with phone numbers for taxis. Consider the on-demand car service Uber.com.
□ 14.3.4 Know Bus and Subway Schedules
Public transportation is better than the drunk tank.
□ 14.3.5 Accept Ride Vouchers
In many cities, innovative programs offer FREE rides on the big drinking nights: New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, July Fourth, and Halloween.
□ 14.3.6 Invest in Alcohol Breath Analyzers
A recent search for these on Amazon yielded 174 results. When shopping, follow the system in Appendix 1.
□ 14.3.7 Get a Room
Hotels are expensive, but they cost much less than a charge of drunk driving.