The Recession Affects Free Booze In Houston, Unfortunately

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. Tips appreciated. 

- Cathy Matusow

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