A resident alcoholic?
A resident cheapskate?
But hey, after spending a fortune on books and course packets, a Yalie needs to get her budget priorities in order. So consider this article a community service announcement answering the important, yet much neglected question, “With Toad’s out of commission, where can of-age Yalies get good, cheap drinks?”
We’d better begin at the high end of the price spectrum with specialty drinks, or we may run out of money before we get to them.
While I typically use this space to plug C.O. Jones as having the best (kept secret) margaritas, even with their half-price margaritas on Mondays, the price of cab fare and the inconvenience of travel put the cost well above that offered by its nearer-to-campus counterparts.
For margaritas, Viva Zapata’s just beats out the competition for lowest-priced margaritas by the glass and the pitcher ($4.50 and $17 for frozen flavored margaritas, respectively).
Villa Del Sol comes in a close second with their happy hour special of $4.95 margaritas, which include a free appetizer of nachitos. Most popular are the Mango and Iguana margaritas, “perfect if you want a sweet drink,” said waitress Jennifer. Sweet.
El Amigo Felix rounds out the trio with its $2 tequila shots, the cheapest in New Haven by at least a dollar.
If you’re looking for Martinis, Hot Tomatoes is the place to go. With flavors ranging from Sour Apple and Watermelon to Jazzy Blue and Pearl Jam, you may be in for a rockin’ good time. But, as bartender Amanda confides, “In the fall, it’s all about the Espresso Martini.” Bet you wish you had brought that instead of Starbucks to that never-ending section on Thursday night. And for those of you thinking of inviting someone out to drinks, take note: Wednesdays are Martini Madness days, where these drinks are only $5 (instead of the usual $8.50).
So many bars, so little time–
As a rule, the prices of drinks at bars are more expensive than the at-home variety. Let it also be noted that the prices around New Haven — bars and liquor stores — are on the whole pretty reasonable. At all the places I conducted my research, owners and managers were eager to learn how they stacked up, where they fell short, and overwhelmingly friendly in explaining why their establishments were the best for Yalies.
So thanks to all those who want to keep legal Yalies happy, yet out of the poorhouse, and while there are presently some price discrepancies, we may see some increased competition for our meager dollars and cents in the future. That said, let’s try to find you some deals.
99 Bottles (and Pitchers)
When it comes to pints, Rudy’s can’t be beat. Offering as low as $2 for Shaeffer’s — watch what you say, my Dad drinks it religiously — $1.75 for selected domestic bottles, and an open buffet in the early evening (including their renowned Belgian frites). Rudy’s also proudly serves Belgium beers including Hoegaarden and Leffe Blonde.
T.J. Tuckers just barely misses the gold with $2 bottles of Miller (“That’s real Miller, not Lite,” assures bartender Joe), but more than makes up for that quarter with $6 pitchers on Thursdays, along with $1 Kamikaze shots and seasonal Sam Adams specials. Joe makes another important point, which may in fact give Tuckers an edge: “We pour well.”
Richter’s half-yards (that’s two pints, folks) of domestic beer are only $5 on Mondays, reduced from the regular low price of $7. Richter’s prides itself on its wide selection, while Kavanagh’s bartender Jason confidently asserts that it’s known for its “Stella Artois.”
BAR takes the prize for originality, with 4 microbrews, including the Damn Good Stout, being made on the premises and sold for $4 Thursday nights during happy hour. BAR’s happy hour prices bring us to our next field of drink–
Along with Rudy’s, BAR offers $2 well drinks during its happy hour, while T.J.’s offers $2 sour drinks and, like Kavanagh’s, $3 well drinks.
Cheapest call drinks (so called because you have to explicitly “call” out the name of a brand — cool, huh?) are found for $4 at Rudy’s, Kavanagh’s, and T.J. Tuckers, so take your pick. Or choose to stay away from bars altogether, and mix your own.
Dubra et al.
If you’re looking for the cheapest deal, one word says it all: Dubra. Broadway Liquor sells this delicacy cheaper than any of its competitors at $8.99 a liter. If you’re willing to splurge for real vodka, you can go pretty much anywhere, as prices for Smirnoff and Absolut vary less than 10 cents among College Wine, Zachary’s, Gag Jr.’s Liquor Shop, Broadway Liquor, and Chapel Wine Shop.
Zachary’s has the cheapest Jose Cuervo, at $21.65 (with tax) per liter, and the cheapest Bacardi, at $15.35 (tax included) per liter. Zachary’s is also the favorite for many party-throwers, selling kegs for a mere $50.
While all establishments have rotating beer specials, dark horse Chapel Wine takes the win with $12.99 30-packs.
I credit College Wine with two things: first, having the most expansive selection of wines in the area (over 200) and two, with disillusioning me as I will now disillusion you. Remember all those fabulous dates where you brought the food (sandwiches x 2 from ABP = $14) and he or she brought the wine? Well, if they brought Yellowtail, ask for your money back, as this gem costs only $7.99 a bottle at most stores, and only $6.99 at College Wine and Chapel Wine. Better yet, if they went to Broadway Liquor and bought L’Etoile ($3.99 a bottle), stick with them — they are cool.
Even with all our shopping around, we may still be broke at the end of the day. As one Zeta Psi brother, who appropriately advertised their party as “Free Beer!,” reminds us, if there’s a will, there’s a way.