One Man, Ten Days, 80 Free Drinks

The blow-by-blow

 This is a sidebar to this week's feature, "Free Booze"

Americans drop $166 billion a year on alcohol. I definitely do my part, tossing in at least 60 bucks a week. But sometimes I quit waiting for the gods to deliver and start planting seeds, looking for free drinks wherever they're to be found. Last month was one of those times.

Here's a day-by-day account of ten days of free boozing.

FRIDAY

What: Drink promotions at Spec's, 2410 Smith
How: Walked in, grabbed a basket
Score: One shot (four minis)
Worth it? Ubetcha

What: Opening at Eastman Gallery, 7026 Old Katy Road
How: Ordered away
Score: Two strong whiskey-and-waters
Worth it? Definitely, so long as you don't mind the drive

What: Opening at the Glassell School, 5101 Montrose
How: Found it on the Web site
Score: One beer
Worth it? Yep, and it was a lot easier than the next stop

What: Opening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet, where a ticket system was in place
How: Flirted with a gay caterer
Score: One bourbon and cola
Worth it? Depends on how you feel about flirting

What: Dynamite Lounge at the Rhythm Room, 1815 Washington Avenue
How: Knew a guy in a band
Score: Two beers
Worth it? Call me a groupie

SATURDAY

What: Opening at the Art Car Museum, 140 Heights Boulevard
How: Thank you, Glasstire.com
Score: Four beers
Worth it? Best opening all week

What: Envy launch party at Hue, 202 Tuam, where you were expected to buy overpriced drinks to get a free magazine
How: MySpace.com
Score: Zero (or minus one, if you count the drink I bought)
Worth it? Nope

What: Pirate Party at Copa Cabana Latin Lounge, 114 Main
How: Knew the doorman, got several free doubloons and used a Sharpie to alter a few more
Score: Four whiskey-and-waters, two beers
Worth it? The B list at its best

SUNDAY

What: Tasting at Haak Vineyards & Winery, 6310 Avenue T, Santa Fe
How: Did the tour and tasting, chugged someone's leftovers
Score: Two and a half glasses of wine
Worth it? Yeah, but there's nothing like a 45-minute drive to ruin a buzz

What: Watching the Astros game at my buddy's house
How: Showed up right after we won, drank an extra victory shot when a woman declined hers
Score: Two vodka tonics, two shots
Worth it? The drinks? Yes. The eventual hometown heartbreak? No.

MONDAY

What: Art opening at JPMorgan Chase, 600 Travis, where an exhibition of Latina art was (unintentionally?) surrounded by portraits of Alamo heroes
How: Walked in and asked for a name tag
Score: Five cups of white wine
Worth it?

What: Full Moon Party in the Fifth Ward
How: A buddy knew about it
Score: Six beers
Worth it? Yeah, although my hand was sore from playing the bongos

TUESDAY

What: Lecture at the Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross
How: Found out there were no drinks and accidentally fell asleep
Score: Zero
Worth it? Well, I was pretty tired

What: Industry Night at Joia, 2511 Bissonnet
How: RSVPed on MySpace.com for a freebie
Score: One whiskey-and-water
Worth it? Definitely

What: The Dirt Bar, 222 Yale
How: Tuesday nights you can flip a coin to see whether you have to pay for your drink
Score: Two free beers, although I had to pay for one
Worth it? For a Tuesday? Heck, yeah.

WEDNESDAY

What: Robert Pinsky signing at Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet
How: Sometimes there's free wine at Brazos, and sometimes there's not
Score: Zero
Worth it? Left two minutes after arriving

What: A random wake at Brookside Funeral Chapel, 13401 Eastex Freeway
How: Thought there might be free wine, was wrong
Score: Zero
Worth it? Nope, and I'm probably going to hell

What: Drink promotion at the Wet Spot, 160 West Gray
How: A buddy saw a giant Jägermeister van parked outside
Score: One shot
Worth it? Sure

What: Opening at the Museum of Natural Science, One Hermann Circle Drive
How: Strolled past the gatekeepers
Score: Four beers
Worth it? Certainly

What: Flirting for drinks at JR.'s Bar & Grill, 808 Pacific, and the Montrose Mining Company, 807 Pacific
How: Walked around, trying to scam drinks from older men
Score: Zero
Worth it? Talk about a blow to the confidence

THURSDAY

What: Opening at Willow Street Pump Station, 811 North San Jacinto
How: Asked for a name tag, stood near Cheech Marin
Score: Four beers
Worth it? No doubt

What: Welcome reception for the Dixie Cup Homebrew Competition at the Orange Show, 2401 Munger
How: Heard about it from an acquaintance
Score: Five beers, one shot of whiskey
Worth it? In the words of one brewer, "The worst homebrew's still better than the best mass-produced one."

What: Hanging out with homeless people, near the intersection of Congress and Hamilton
How: Asked a guy if he knew where I could get a swig, was told there's a convenience store around the corner
Score: Zero
Worth it? Not unless you're really lonely

FRIDAY

What: Happy hour at Wild West, 6101 Richmond
How: Crashed it with Michael Ayers
Score: One free beer, but ended up buying two for myself and two for Ayers
Worth it? You do the math

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