Economy driving NYers to go out less, drink at cheaper spots
The economy may have given New Yorkers more reason to drink, but many are imbibing less often at bars and lounges, according to a new Zagat nightlife survey.
More than half of the 6,000 New Yorkers surveyed say they go out less often because of the still-sinking economy.
I'm drinking more at home, said Tom Haze, 25, a Union Square resident who buys two liters of tequila for $11 to save money. I miss not thinking about what's in my wallet and not being able to tip as much.
Even those who still have cash to blow are thriftier when they party by going to less expensive nightspots, paying more attention to drink prices and ordering fewer drinks, according to Zagat, which released its latest nightlife guide today. Chris Clemens and two of his unemployed friends still go out as often, but not in the pricey nightclubs they used to frequent.Even though [my friends are] broke, they always have enough money to go out, said Chris Clemens, 28, of Brooklyn, who said they opt for karaoke bars nowadays. Karaoke is free, which isn't a problem.
Nightlife experts say that many New Yorkers are still partying as hard as ever, just at cheaper spots. The Patriot Saloon, a Chambers Street bar that touts $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon cans and $6 pitchers, has seen a boon in patrons compared to high-priced neighbors.
We're seeing a lot more Wall Street type people in here, a lot more suits and ties, said Annie Fhelan, who works at the saloon. We're seeing a lot more pitchers of beer for groups where before people bought bottles of beer. Old favorites like PBR are flying out of here.
Drinkers also are scouring Web sites that post drinking specials and reverting to their college-day habits like pre-gaming, said Justine Goodman, a senior editor at Citysearch.com.
I do think there are more house parties at least before going out to the bars, Goodman said. People are doing a lot more pre-gaming at cheaper places before going to the main event at a more expensive place.
New York nightspots are also trying to adapt to drinkers' changing habits by offering more free or cheap snacks and open bars. The strategy may be working: the Zagat survey noted the number of new nightspots opening up versus those that have closed remained on par with the last survey's tally.
Tough times have even benefited some New York drinkers.
In general, bars are even cheaper now because of the hard times, said Nicole Roberts, 21, of Brooklyn, who cashes in on one-dollar beer specials at her favorite bar. They have recession specials.
Anastasia Economides contributed this story