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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