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January 3, 2009

Live in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami & Honolulu? Free Beer! (and Wine, and Liquor) myopenbar.com

You know the economy’s going great when the NY Times is looking for fun, cheery stories about businesses doing well and all it can come up with is one that involves folks 1) drowning their sorrows 2) for free. Still, if I were in NYC I’d sign up for myopenbar.com today—and see you out there tonight. Excerpt:

 

On this night, it was the Drambuie Variety Show, which meant that all who got in the door were entitled to all the Drambuie they could drink, courtesy of the liqueur’s vendor. The Slipper Room was packed by 7:30 p.m., a long line snaking around the corner outside.

Myopenbar.com has been around since 2005 but is now attracting more listings, promotions and readers than ever, despite — or perhaps because of — the tanking economy and shrinking advertising dollars and liquor sales at bars. The site’s founders, Seva Granik and Jason Fried, said that more bars and restaurants are clamoring to get their events listed, eager to drive customers through the door. And, to no one’s surprise, demand for free drinks is skyrocketing. (Liquor sales are considered recession-proof, though one recent study by the Nielsen Company suggests that while sales at liquor stores have increased, people are going out to nightclubs and bars far less frequently.)

“The bad economy is doing nothing but helping us,” Mr. Granik wrote in an e-mail message. “We’re probably the only company we know of that’s doing very well because of the downturn.”

Myopenbar.com has 30,000 subscribers in New York, most of them in their 20s and 30s, the very demographic that liquor companies want to reach. The site also has listings for five other cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and Honolulu) that have attracted 19,000 subscribers, and it has 30 employees. Mr. Granik, 33, and Mr. Fried, 34, declined to say how much revenue the site generates, but they said it was profitable, both through advertising (Toyota Scion and American Apparel are among the sponsors) and the consulting fees that they collect for holding, marketing and promoting events. Those events are noted on the site; otherwise, bars and liquor companies do not have to pay to be listed…read the rest.

 

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