Everyone knows to hit up Starbucks on their birthday for the free drink of their choice—heck, one awful human even made 365 accounts with different birthdays to score a free drink every day of the year. But a cup of java isn’t the only complimentary treat you can snag on your special day: Many bars offer free booze to the birthday boy or girl—and sometimes free drinks for their friends too. While simply telling a bartender it’s your birthday may land you a drink on the house anywhere, these bars in New York City are known for consistently offering a birthday deal. Pro tip: Visit multiple locations in one day for the ultimate gratis birthday crawl.
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This Manhattan sports bar and lounge is the perfect place to host a birthday party, since it comes with an arcade, board games, Giant Jenga and sometimes live entertainment to boot. Celebrating your birthday at Pioneers Bar also means you can have free well drinks, beer and wine all night, as well as all-you-can-eat popcorn and a pizza. Just be sure to make a reservation ahead of time; the killer deal isn’t exactly secret, and space fills up fast.
Syracuse fans and those looking for an authentic taste of Buffalo’s signature wings will feel right at home in this Irish-American bar and restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Not only does the spot feature 20 different flavors of chicken wings, Buffalo tater tots and Irish Nachos, but you can also get a free drink on your birthday by showing your ID. What’s more, if you host 10 friends for a party at the bar, you can even drink for free all night. Talk about birthday wishes come true.
This cozy, upscale Irish pub is entrenched in literary references, with cocktails named The Secret Garden and Tender Is the Night, as well as a seasonal drink menu that the bar refers to as the “Reading List.” While the Upper West Side bar will let your drink for free on your birthday, there’s one major catch: You must share a birthday with a famous author, so be sure to do a Google search beforehand if your literary trivia is rusty.
At The Skinny, the only thing required to keep the free drinks flowing for the birthday guest of honor is a solid group of friends. The East Village bar and lounge, which offers craft beer, cocktails and pub grub, along with DJ sets and the occasional art show, only gives out a night’s worth of complimentary birthday drinks if you book a party with at least 15 guests.
Keybar bills itself as “the ultimate party place” for a reason: Your whole group of friends can join in on the birthday fun. The Manhattan bar is known for its signature shots, like their secret recipe “Rolo” chocolate shots, and if you order a round for everyone in your party, the bar will match that with a second round of shots (of equal or lesser value, of course). Better yet, the bar gives you a seven-day grace period in case your birthday falls on a Monday and no one is ready to rage yet.
This Korean-inspired Manhattan dive not only has a constant rotation of DJs spinning hip-hop tracks, but it’s also open super late for anyone looking to make the most of their birthday celebrations. While it doesn’t offer an official birthday deal, mentioning it’s your birthday almost always lands you a free round of shots for you and your friends—the bartender may even join you for one.
Unofficially, telling the bartender it’s your birthday will probably land you a free Pickleback shot at the Whiskey Tavern. But if you officially book a birthday party at this laid-back saloon, expect the bar to go all out. In the past, this Manhattan bar has been known to print out a birthday banner, gift a free t-shirt and naughtily Photoshopped birthday card (if you give them a photo ahead of time and have a good sense of humor), and give out a round of free shots. The fanfare makes it an especially great venue to host a surprise birthday party.
There are no strings attached to this Brooklyn dive’s birthday deal—just free well drinks and beer for the birthday king or queen all night. In addition to copious amounts of booze—the bar has a Jägermeister machine and a huge draft selection—you’ll also get to shoot a game of pool, watch the big game, hang out in the arcade and chill on the patio out back.
The Bushwick Country Club is neither in Bushwick, nor a country club, but it did allegedly invent the Pickleback shot, so it holds a special place in our hearts. Book a party with 15 people ahead of time (11 if you are a member of the club), and you’ll drink for free all night. The Brooklyn bar also boasts a photo booth and a six-hole mini golf course—and, if you are able to bring 30 guests, they’ll even supply free hot dogs from the grill.
Like its name suggests, the shots are always cheap at this Queens dive—and it doesn’t get cheaper than nothing, which is what it’ll cost you to drink on your birthday. No need to come with a party in tow—Cheap Shots will give you free shots all night even if you’re partying solo.