Help your friends afford your birthday dinner by going to bars that offer freebie drinks that night. Yes, some of them are at pretty cheesy bars, but close your eyes (block out the girls dancing on tabletops, who may potentially ruin your birthday altogether) and embrace the free liquids. We didn't find too many outside Manhattan, so please chime in with ideas.
Bar 12: Bring a party of 15 to 20, and you'll score a wristband to drink for free all night. If you can't muster that many bodies, the bartender will buy you a pity/celebratory shot. 206 East 34th Street, Midtown (at Third Avenue; map); 212-545-9912; bar12.com
Southern Hospitality: Justin Timberlake-endorsed barbecue restaurant not only treats you with Southern hospitality, but will comp you drinks all night when a party of at least 10 joins you. Call ahead, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 1460 Second Avenue, Upper East Side (b/n 76th and 77th Streets; map); 212-249-1001; southernhospitalitybbq.com
Bushwick Country Club: Bring about 12 people (they're not too strict) for free drinks all night. When it's warm outside, they'll even let you grill in the backyard (buns and franks on them). 618 Grand Street, Bushwick Brooklyn (at Leonard; map) 718-388-2114; bushwickcountryclub.com
Porky's: The home of the fishbowl and scantily clad women offers free drinks every Saturday of your birthday month. Shoot, did they just say that?! Yes. You and up to 20 friends get free open bar from 10 to 11 p.m. Give them a heads-up first, then consult your Facebook friends rolodex. 55 West 21st Street, Chelsea (b/n 5th and 6th Avenues; map) 212-675-8007; porkysnyc.com
East End: It gets a little technical here. So with at least 15 people, you can call and arrange a party, but they do them in shifts (like 10 to midnight or 11 to 1 a.m.) Call and arrange first to get a drink-free wristband. Your pals can pay for 3-hour open bar packages ($25 for Bud Light and well drinks, $30 for all call drinks, and $35 for everything but the shots and top-shelf Red Bull). 1664 First Avenue, Upper East Side (b/n 86th and 87th Streets; map); 212-348-3783; theskinnybarlounge.com
The Skinny: Book a party of 15-plus at this accredited watering hole and you drink for free all night. Pretty standard. 174 Orchard Street, Lower East Side (at Stanton Street; map); 212-228-3668; theskinnybarlounge.com
Stanton Public: They promise you will forget how much fun you had on your birthday. Bring in 10 friends, they'll stamp you and let you swill anything sub-$10. But if they catch you handing off freebies, they'll kick yer booty out, birthday kid. 17 Stanton Street, Lower East Side (b/n Bowery and Chrystie Streets; map); 212-677-5555; stantonpublic.com
Cheap Shots: Plain and simple. If today's your birthday, you drink for free. You don't even need to have friends. 140 First Avenue, East Village (b/n St. Marks Place and 9th Street; map); 212-254-6631
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