The Recession Affects Free Booze In Houston, Unfortunately

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Yesterday we were informed that it's official - the country is in a recession. And the lean times got us thinking -- can you still score a free drink in this town?

Keith Plocek got drunk for free for ten days straight back in December 2005 for the story "Free Booze," guzzling all the alcohol he could without opening his wallet. To gauge things today, we thought we'd see if the deals Plocek got three years ago are still on offer. We discovered:

-- Some venues he visited have since closed. The Rhythm Room is gone, as is Joia (it's now Touch). Eastman Gallery seems to have moved, then become something called Eastman Group. Given that Plocek enjoyed two hefty whiskeys when he visited the gallery three years ago, we wonder if it had to shut down due to an inefficient business model.

-- Plocek drank for free at St. Arnold's, but the brewery has since started charging $5 a head for its Saturday tours with beer samples. It's still a steal, though.

-- Luckily, there's still some free drinks to be had in this town - Spec's still offers samples, Haak Vineyards in Santa Fe still does daily tastings, the relocated Cactus still has beer on tap at in-store performances, Texans tailgating is still a treasure trove for the cheap and thirsty, galleries like Barbara Davis still offer wine at least, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science still has drinks (not to mention awesome food) at its openings (you need to RSVP, though).

Conclusion: We can still get loaded without (further) breaking that bank we keep hearing so much about. And there's more free booze out there, so we'll be letting you know of any deals we hear about in a new weekly feature over at the Houston Press Eating...Our Words blog. Tips appreciated.

- Cathy Matusow

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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