Cheap Thrills: Happy Hour
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Cheap Thrills: Happy Hour

Cheap Thrills is a new bi-weekly column filling you in on fresh ways to get your kicks in the city and on the cheap.
Photo by phocrastinating from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
Booze-fuelled fun is pretty much the cheapest thrill in the book. It’ll make you giggle at cheap shots and cheap jokes, and maybe even make you laugh about a night with a cheap hooker. But “cheap” doesn’t necessarily mean “inexpensive.” That’s where we come in, armed with the cheapest ways to make your head hurt more than your bank account. Some say money shouldn’t go to waste on frivolous things like alcohol, and we agree―why waste the cash? Spend small, spend wisely, drink lots. While your pals are hiding out with a copy of the Financial Post and a cup of black Timmie’s, you can afford to head out, drink away your toonies, and worry about that thing (…uh, right, the recession) in the morning.

Disclaimer: We strongly recommend that you use this guide, as you should with most addictive substances, with moderation. Torontoist takes no responsibility for any 4 a.m. phone calls to your ex-ex, mysterious bruises, or puke on your new couch.
2008_10_05cheapdrinks2.jpgLet’s make one thing clear―the cheapest booze you purchase in this province will be at the LCBO. Whether it be two-dollars-or-less tallboys or shoddy sherry, getting your buzz on in advance is the wallet-friendly way to go. And as an added bonus, you’ll be racking up Air Miles as you ready your wine rack. Some may call it a matter of quantity over quality, but we prefer the phrase “substance over style.” And the savings aren’t yet over once you leave the party―rather than breaking the bank, you can use it to your own advantage―well, the snowbank, that is. Once the first flakes fall (which, like it or not, can’t be too far away), you can simply stash your flask in the nearest pile and make the easy transition from pre-drink to after-party, all without paying a cent for a fancy glass, swanky atmosphere, or service.
Now, it’s easy to pop back a few when you’ve got the pre-drink on your side, but what about when you’ve no time or place? No problem. Subtly suggest to your friends a place that happens to offer a nightly special, or somewhere that’s simply cheap all the time. But no need to scope out the cheapest haunts, for they’ve already been singled-out―with highly technological, carefully researched studies such as Cheap Alcohol TO and’s guide to cheap drinks. Bistro 422, sitting appropriately at 422 College Street, wins extra points for its Thursday night prize specials and subsequent free shots of Punker’s Puke… just don’t ask what’s in the mix. And while it’s not noted on the hit list, Baby Huey, located somewhere between hip West Queen West and even hipp(st)er Ossington/Dundas West, also pours pints of good ol’ PBR for $3.50, all the time. But don’t tell too many friends, ’cause we’ve seen the tap run dry on a few occasions.
There is, however, one small exception to the rule, where all of our previous advice can be disregarded with the introduction of two simple words. Open. Bar. Network, hunt, make up alibis, whatever it takes to get your name on the list and foot in the door―drinking at someone else’s expense is always more fun. If you’re on the road, check out―it’s a godsend for poor travellers with a party agenda in mind. And need we point out the obvious? Don’t bring more cash to the bar than you need. Sure, it may be handy for the cab ride home, but no one wants to blow their cab fare on that last, unnecessary glass of beer.
With careful attention to spending, and even more careful adherence to our guidelines, you can afford to live large, without whittling away your savings. So go, hit the streets instead of the sheets, and party like it’s 2009 (who doesn’t want to get ahead in life?). Our only plea? Don’t let your beer belly live large as well. Cheers!
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