Field report: Wed night 25-cent beer at Pat O’Brien’s

About 7:00 last night I hit 25-cent beer night at Pat O’Brien’s, and it was pretty fun. Beer was served at the small bar (they call it the locals’ bar) to the left when you first walk in, and you can either drink it there or take it to the piano room (where they had 2 players) or the fountain room. Kennedy and Q107.5 were there promoting. Crowd was about 50 people and was pretty diverse, I’d estimate 1/3 Downtowners, 1/3 from other parts of the city, and 1/3 tourists. The college crowd didn’t seem to have a lot of representation – guess that’s too early for them to go out.

The draft beer was Bud Light. They were very efficient handing it out – unless they were in the process of changing a keg, it usually took no more than 1 minute to get a fresh beer. Like most bars, they set their clock ahead so that their 8:00 (and the end of cheap beer) came at what appeared to be 7:50 to everyone else.

Before hitting Pat O’s I stopped at the Saucer, and asked one of the waitresses for advice on tipping on 25-cent beer: Is it enough to hand the bartender a dollar and say, “Keep the change”? Her reply: “I’d still be pissed.” She advised tipping on the full price of the beer rather than the discounted price. Hmmm. Guessing that Bud Light draft is probably around 3 bucks at regular prices, 75 cents is still a 25% tip, not bad. She thought I should tip $2 on each 25-cent beer. That seems a little excessive. I get the feeling her advice really had little to do with tipping at Pat O’s, and was actually a hint that I should tip her more than the 30% I’ve been leaving her at the Saucer.

Anyway, I ran into some of the Sleep Out Louie’s refugees and we worked out a system. One guy stood at the bar, and left a generous tip (I didn’t see it but I think it was $10) on the first round. Because of that tip we were guaranteed prompt service the rest of the time. He continued to stand at the bar, and we’d stand behind him in our group, near the bar but not at it. Every few minutes he’d buy a new 25-cent beer and then use it to refill our cups.

I hear that they’re doing this to try and build a regular crowd during the week – the place is busy weekends but has been pretty dead Sunday-Thursday. They’re hoping people stick around after 8 (or, really, 7:50) and order full-price drinks and food. I get the feeling this promotion will continue for the short term but won’t be permanent.

Fun night. Even if Pat O’s is not normally your place, it’s worth getting a posse together and showing up on a future Wednesday.