How to blag free drinks
Up your flirt game
Obviously, London is expensive. Food is expensive. Accommodation is expensive. Transport, should you ever want to leave the aforementioned accommodation in order to buy the aforementioned food, is expensive. And oh dear God, alcohol is expensive.
The price of calling London home doesn’t just include throwing away most of your salary on a single room smaller than the bathroom you shared in halls, or forking out the best part of a fiver for the privilege of eating a bowl of Cheerios in an overpriced cereal café. It also means paying an average of £3.92 for a pint, 36p more than the national average and 82p more than you’d pay for the cheapest pint in the country in Herefordshire. And that’s without mentioning that London is home to the “most expensive cocktail in the world”: “The Gigi” at Gigi’s in Mayfair contains 1990 vintage Cristal and 1888 Samalens Vieille Relique Vintage Bas Armagnac brandy, is topped off with “lashings” of gold leaf, angostura bitters and sugar, and costs a hefty £8,888.
But if, say, you don’t want to spend a year’s rent over the course of a year’s nights out, there are some solutions. This is how to drink in London…for free.
Crash a party
There’s nearly always something going on here and, in order to lure important people who have far better things to be doing into attending, those somethings nearly always feature free booze. The latter will generally be something along the lines of the champagne/wine/cocktails variety and, if you’re lucky, will be accompanied by a variety of different canapés, most of which contain bizarre ingredients that even the most zealous Waitrose Essentials customer wouldn’t recognise. To get in, act like it’s your divine right to be there and do your best to effortlessly glide past the door people. If that fails, pretend your name was missed off the guest-list, steal an invite, beg, break-in or resort to step two…
Pretend you are/ know someone important/ famous
Ok, so bellowing “Don’t you know who I am?” at an already overstretched doorperson or bartender probably isn’t going to win you any favours, but pretending to have friends in high places might do. If you don’t fancy becoming or pretending to be a Z-list reality TV star, google wherever you’re going and find the name of someone connected to it. That person is your friend. You’ve known them for years. You go way back. You are important and even if you can’t remember their age/ birthday/ middle name, they would still insist on your right to that free drink.
Do your research
If you’ve got enough time to research somewhere and pretend to be the long lost godchild of the owner or a random celebrity who drinks there from time to time, then, realistically, you’ve got time to research when and where you should go out in the first place. Infernos might seem like an excellent place to spend a Saturday night but it hardly needs to provide an incentive for London’s good, bad and ugly to come and savour the delights of its ABBA medley. Clubs like Mahiki and Bodos Schloss on the other hand, despite being full of Pippa Middleton wannabes, regularly offer free shots and drinks if you’re willing to submit yourself to whimsical terms and conditions that vary from remembering a “secret” password to bringing a pineapple with you for your own pina colada.
You could go to the trouble of blagging your way into a celebrity party, pretending to be someone no one’s ever really heard of or jumping through hoops to get into a club where everyone is more focussed on Instagram-ing their drinks than drinking them. Or you could just download Drinki, an app that gives you your first drink of any night on the house in return for you sharing on Facebook that you are gracing that bar with the honour of your presence. The app also offers you the chance to earn “tokens” by referring friends, redeemable in exchange for more free drinks, all of which come without the worry that the tall, blonde PR girl on the door is eventually going to realise that you weren’t on the guest-list, that you’re not Joey Essex and kick you out onto the wasteland-like streets of London where people actually have to pay for alcohol.
Learn how to flirt
Apparently it works.