Pub-crawl on a budget

Some of my friends in the budget pub-crawl on a mission to save money.

Story and Photos by Andrew Jason

MSUM Journalism

The itinerary was set. The shoes were laced. Everybody was looking his or her best. Eight friends and I gathered together to see if it’s possible to go pub-crawling to six bars in six hours for 25 dollars.  Solely for journalistic purposes, I spent a grueling night of barhopping with my friends to do research on how to save you money on a Saturday night. I learned that not only is it possible to save money but watching your budget when you go out is a lot of fun.

It’s one of eternal problems for college students. Your friends invite you out on a Saturday to go barhopping. You want to join your friends for a good time, but you don’t have money to waste.

Fortunately enough, drinking on a budget is a great idea for several different reasons. There’s the obvious money saving objective, but one of biggest perks is that it keeps you from drinking to excess. Binge drinking is dangerous. There is a fine line between having a few drinks with friends and drinking excessively. When you are watching your budget you’re also watching your pace as well.

Planning the night out

We made a detailed list of where to go and what to get in order to save money.

We made a detailed list of where to go and what to get in order to save money.

We decided to create an itinerary so that we could plan out the specials. Many bars have specials that go to a certain time so a little planning can save lots of money in the long run.

“Bar hopping is awesome as long as you know the specials,” says pub-crawler, Kirsten Gunderson. “Otherwise it can get really expensive.”

The most important planning you can do for a night out is making sure you have a ride to and from the bars. Nothing will ruin your night faster than a $250 fine and 91-day suspension of your license with a DUI.

The Bomb Shelter has partnered with Lucky 7 Taxi service to offer seven-dollar taxi rides to and from the Bomb Shelter. The Sports Bar has transportation that will bring you anywhere for ten dollars. If you want to go the cheap route like we did, find a friend who is willing to come pick you up when you’re ready.

We begin the night


View Pub-crawl in a larger map

I’m about to tell you the route we took but creating an itinerary with your friends is half the fun.

7:30 p.m.: We got to the Sports Bar to take three dollar Chuck Norris’. Here we really got what we paid for. The drinks are very large and can hardly be considered a shot.

8:30 p.m: After a good hour we walked over to Fort Noks. The drinks here were too expensive for me so I held off ordering any. Not buying any drinks at certain bars really helped me pace myself.

8:55 p.m: We ran to the Sports Zone at the Old Broadway before nine because we needed to catch two-dollar Long Island Teas that ended at 9 p.m. They were  good sized and actually tasted good so I bought two. This put me at eight dollars for the night with four hours left. I was right on track.

9:45 p.m: Rooters was our next stop for their $1.50 12oz draws. Four more dollars down the drain leaving me at 12 for the night.

Let me pause to address one of the major cons of being on a budget; tipping. When you don’t have a lot of money tipping becomes a difficult subject. I realize servers don’t get paid much and they rely on tips so I solved this by tipping every other server. I hope that the good karma from the grateful servers will overwhelm all the bad karma wished on me by the neglected servers.

10:15 p.m: Our itinerary led us to the VFW where we got a small eight-ounce drink which was overly strong for three dollars. 18 dollars down and three hours to go and I start to wonder if I might not be able to follow my budget.

10:35 p.m: Empire has the unfortunate nickname of the Dirty “E’ but I think it’s a nice bar with friendly people. Due to my budget I don’t order anything.

11:15 p.m: We made it to the last stop of the night, the Bomb Shelter, which also turns out to be the most fun because of a shot wheel. For five dollars you can buy a delicious shot that allows you to spin a wheel giving you the chance to win one of several different prizes, such as a $50 bar tab or a shot from the bar. I do a little quick math, which seems to get harder the later into the night it gets, and realize I had spent $26 dollars. I think I can live with one dollar over my budget.

Warning: friends may cause alcoholism

Our ride comes around 1 a.m. and delivers us all home safe. I laid in my bed I realized that spending six hours at six different bars is grounds for alcoholism. However, I consoled myself with the fact that the bars were just the setting and the drinks were the props for the bigger play that is time with your friends. Coming up with the itinerary, traveling from bar to bar, doing math along the way by adding how much you spent together over a drink is just another way to spend time with the people who matter in your life.

Tell me what you think

Where are your favorite places to go? Where are the best specials? Share with everybody so we all know the best places to go.

(Edited by Grant Nelson, MSUM journalism major)


Favorite bar downtown 

1 ) Sports Bar
2 ) Old Broadway
3 ) Fort Noks
4 ) Hodo
5 ) Rooter’s
6 ) VFW
7 ) Dempsey’s
8 ) Empire

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