The Cheapest of the Cheap
Don’t want to spend time shopping around and taking in the ambiance at these liquor stores? The Bar Bro’s got you covered with his list of the cheapest options for every class of drinker.
The frat star: Buy a 30-rack of Natural Light at Columbia Plaza. At $12.99, it’s the cheapest on campus.
The (sketchy) frat star: Jungle Juice is a one-stop shopping experience at Columbia Plaza, with a handle of Everclear ($31.99) and a number of mixers – 64-ounce fruit punch and orange juice ($3.99 each) and two-liter Sprite ($2.64).
The Biddie: Columbia Plaza also has the cheapest bottom-shelf vodka. Pick your poison with Zelco or Velicoff (both $12.99).
The Mix-and-matcher: Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's offer a selection of single beers (ranging from $1.49 to $2.99). Pay a la carte and assemble your perfect six-pack.
The Oenophile: Three Wishes is $3 at Whole Foods Market. The Merlot is the tastiest.
The Bum Wine-o-phile: I can’t stress the virtues of Mad Dog enough. Go to Columbia Plaza.
The Keg Stander: If you absolutely must, Riverside Liquors is the only store that sells kegs – for a wallet-denting $70.
The Mini Keg-Stander: For the diminutive kegger, FoBoGro sells a five-liter keg of Rogue Yellow Snow beer for $29.99.
The Allergic: Whole Foods Market offers a comprehensive gluten-free section that includes hard ciders like Jack’s ($8.99 for a six pack) and gluten-free beers like Omission ($9.99 for a six pack).
The Thurstonite: 20th and I might be nearby, but there is no other reason to go there. Walk the extra blocks, save some money and burn off some of that freshman 15.
At one point or another, you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach.
You get dressed up, do a few shots at the pregame, find out where everyone’s going and you think to yourself: I can’t afford to drink with these people.
We all know that girl who exclusively buys Grey Goose Vodka, or that kid who banks on bottle service at the club. And they’re fun to party with.
But if you’re like me, you wake up the next morning with a hangover – and an empty wallet.
I’m here to help.
You’re not always going to be able to drag your friends to, say, a grimy pool hall in Columbia Heights. In these cases, a pregame becomes crucial.
A successful – and by that, I mean cheap, yet effective – pregame depends largely on your liquor store shopping habits. Luckily, I’ve done your homework for you.
Below is the Bar Bro’s guide to Foggy Bottom liquor stores and their most cost-effective products.
I urge you to drink responsibly. And remember, don’t be classless – just low class.
506 23rd St.
The lowdown: The Market at Columbia Plaza is the most popular student spot due to its extensive collection of wine and spirits and its proximity to upperclassman dorms. It offers a full spectrum of cheap beer, from your typical fraternity fare – its 30-racks of Keystone and Natty are the cheapest on campus – to local delicacy Natty Boh.
For the truly degenerate: Columbia Plaza is the only liquor store on campus that offers MD 20/20. Affectionately dubbed “Mad Dog” by devotees, this fortified wine packs a serious wallop. Forget Four Loko – one bottle of Mad Dog will have you set for the night at just over $4. Try the “Orange Jubilee” flavor, reminiscent of Tang that was left out in the sun for about a week. Serve cold.
“20th and I”
1926 I St.
The lowdown: Officially called Pan Mar Liquor, this liquor store remains the go-to for those living on the eastern side of campus. For those of you who haven’t been there in a few years: It's gotten nicer on the inside, and the staff is still as friendly as ever.
For the true degenerate: Nothing here is particularly cheap. A bottle of Odesse Vodka is reasonable at $13.99, and the selection of high school-favorite Burnett’s is offered at an impressive $14.99 a bottle. For the truly brave, a bottle of Everclear is $15.99. Combined with powdered Gatorade, it should make enough “Everlade” to satisfy an entire party.
2123 E St.
The lowdown: With its red neon signs and its location next to the 24-hour CVS, Riverside Liquors certainly looks like the seediest liquor store on campus. But don’t let that fool you – this is a classy joint. The staff is knowledgeable about the store’s selection of fine wines, and as I learned, many visitors pay their fine wine prices. However, I cannot be seen at a store that charges $70 for a keg of Keystone Light.
For the true degenerate: No Foggy Bottom liquor vendor sells 40s. It has been one of the great tragedies of my collegiate drinking career. Riverside has the next closest thing. Pick up a two-pack of 24-ounce bottles of Icehouse beer ($4).
FoBoGro & Whole Foods Market
2140 F St. & 2221 I St.
The lowdown: It’s no secret that the grocery stores on campus are offensively expensive, but that doesn’t mean they don’t serve their purpose if you’re willing to shell out. They are the only places where you can buy beer or wine on Sunday – an important distinction for those of us planning to enjoy the upcoming football season.
Plus, FoBoGro is the only source of booze on campus past 10 p.m. – it's open until midnight. Bring cash or credit though – you can’t buy alcohol using your GWorld.
For the true degenerate: Skip FoBoGro’s “5 Buck Tizzy,” and opt for a bottle of Three Wishes at Whole Foods. Not only is Three Wishes offered in a greater variety of grapes, but it is also $2 cheaper and doesn’t taste like Manischewitz mixed with Kool Aid.