One Man, Ten Days, 80 Free Drinks

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.


Free booze


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


What: Opening at the Art Car Museum, 140 Heights Boulevard
How: Thank you,
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
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


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.


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


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 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.


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


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


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

What: Opening at Barbara Davis Gallery, 4411 Montrose
How: Got there right before the gallery closed
Score: One beer
Worth it? Barely

What: Met some friends at Char Bar, 305 Travis
How: Told my friend's drunken buddy I'd buy the next round
Score: One Scotch on the rocks
Worth it? Yeah, but the guy was a little pissed when we left

What: Friend of a friend's birthday party at Crome, 2815 South Shepherd
How: Hadn't seen my friend in a while, so he bought the drinks
Score: One Scotch on the rocks, one beer
Worth it? Sure

What: Continuing the party at Tribeca Lounge, 2707 Fountain View
How: Asked my friend for a couple more drinks
Score: One Scotch on the rocks, one beer
Worth it? Yes, but mooching off your buddies isn't sustainable over the long term


What: Tour of Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2522 Fairway Park Drive
How: Got four tokens for myself and used one of my friend's
Score: Two and a half beers (five eight-ounce cups)
Worth it? See you there next weekend

What: In-store performance at Cactus Music & Video, 2930 South Shepherd
How: Checked out the avant-garde, improvisational, prog-jazz stylings of Drop Trio
Score: Two beers
Worth it? For sure

What: Customer appreciation day at Sound Exchange, 1846 Richmond
How: Saw it on the Hands Up Houston message board
Score: Two beers
Worth it? Damn, this was shaping up to be a good day

What: Party at Eric's house, Mayfield Lane
How: Found on
Score: One beer, three cups of jungle juice
Worth it? Nice job, Eric

What: Hipster party, near Southmore House
How: A friend told me about it
Score: Two beers
Worth it? The perfect nightcap


What: Tailgating for the Houston Texans, Reliant Park
How: Parked and went in
Score: Four beers, two vodka Red Bulls, two shots of Jäger
Worth it? Yep, but it was time to atone for my sins

What: Communion at St. Anne's Catholic Church, 2140 Westheimer
How: Went for the body and blood even though I'm not Catholic
Score: Zero (got the wafer but no wine)
Worth it? Worth a try


What: Ten days of scoring as many free drinks as possible
How: Lots of research, a little moxie
Score: Forty-seven and a half beers, 15 mixed drinks, seven and a half glasses of wine, seven shots and three cups of jungle juice
Worth it? I'll let you know when I get that quote for a new liver


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >