Bar Bargains tap weeknight crowd

Mitch Leclair

Mitch Leclair

It’s common knowledge that less-than-rich students pounce on a cheap price or any opportunity to save money. So when Brookings bars set drink specials on weeknights to attract more people to their establishments on slow nights, it’s just regular business – or is it?

Nearly every drinking establishment here in Brookings has a drink special occurring on every night of the week. It’s most certainly not a new concept. Bars such as Cubby’s have had specials on every night since they were granted a liquor license.

Jeremy Deutsch and Chris Stoletenberg, managers of Cubby’s and now co-owners of The 9 Bar, say it’s the first question people ask when they come in. Hearing “What’s tonight’s special?” is more common than seeing a faded Moss jersey during a Vikings game in Cubby’s.

The managers say bargains are essential to a successful business, whether it be a bar or not. They also confess that while college-age customers are a large part of their sales on weeknights, they try to avoid targeting any age group. Cubby’s regulars consist of a large range of ages, and the managers would like to keep it that way. To them, specials are just one way to appeal to returning customers.

Another aspect to consider is the regular price of drinks in the bars.

“No matter what the special may be, people can buy off-sale at liquor stores cheaper,” said Karl Steege, Skinner’s general manager.

“The real danger is off-sale,” said Steege, at least when weeknight drinking becomes a problem for students. He thinks students go to bars to primarily enjoy company and the atmosphere, not to get intoxicated.

In Steege’s opinion, specials, on any night of the week, have more to do with inventory rotation and stock than any particular target. He said Skinner’s doesn’t advertise a special with the intent of bringing a specific demographic into the bar. He said that no matter what the current deal at Skinner’s may be, only 10 to 30 percent of customers participate in specials.

SDSU students also concur in thinking weeknight specials are in no way negative. They are, as the owners of the bars have said, just a typical part of a business trying to make a profit.

Ryan Norman is a typical of-age student here at SDSU. He likes to have a good time downtown and maybe save a few Washingtons when possible.

“With drinks that cheap, you almost think you need to get your money’s worth,” Norman said. “If you are responsible, weeknight specials have no effect (on class work or attendance).”