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The Buyback Project: Special Wintry Mix Edition

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We're underway on the Buyback Project, Eater's investigation into the integrity of buyback programs at various NYC bars of note. One sentence primer: a buyback is a free round of drinks offered to a patron after he or she has purchased several rounds prior. Some bars are extremely generous with their buybacks, others are not. Hence, the Buyback Project. For more background, or before the indignant comments pile up, see Buyback Project Feedback and How To Get a Buyback. Then, let us know where you're getting bought back—and where you're not—with an email to

2007_03_buyback.jpgFor newcomers to this little undertaking, the Buyback Rating is defined as the number of free rounds divided by the number of paid-for rounds. A buyback on the fourth round, for instance, earns a venue a .33 Buyback Rating.

Blue Hill
Buyback Rating: 1
Color: "Ate at the bar at Blue Hill this week. I had two glasses of a Chateau Neuf du Pape and the bartender poured me two more. And oh, the ravioli."

Murphy's Pub
Buyback Rating: .33/.5
Color: "Recently, some new acquaintances and I were not drinking and randomly ended up at Murphy's Pub and Restaurant on 2nd Ave between 51st and 52nd. I'd never actually heard of the standard 4th drink on the house until I read about it on Eater, but the six of us definitely experienced some serious buybacking. I'm not sure if it was our third round or our fourth that was on the house, but we got hooked up at this place by an awesome Irish bartender who pours the best Guinness in town. Not only did she offer up a couple of rounds of beer, she wasn't afraid to throw in two or three rounds of Kamikaze shots on the house either. I wish I could remember her name as she was so cool and pounded some shots with us, but, well, we were drinking at her bar from roughly noon until 6, so my memory is (understandably) fuzzy."

Buyback Rating: .33
Color: "Minibar on Court Street across from Frankie's Spuntino in Carroll a bona fide buyback last weekend after 3 drinks."

Buyback Rating: 0
Color: "I got really drunk at 151 on Rivington Street recently. Something like six martinis. And no buybacks. Plus you really need to fight to get the attention of the bartender who looks like a hot Hell's Angel because he's always playing with his iPod. I really like the bar though."

Buyback Rating: 0
Color: "Spent much of last Saturday night at this joint deep on the LES on Canal Street. Love the place, but no buybacks for a crowd of us who spent some real money. I'll let them off the hook for the Saturday factor and see how they fare some Tuesday or Wednesday."

Buyback Rating: 0
Color: "Barna (rooftop of the Giraffe Hotel) had a birthday party there for a friend.. ~10-15 ppl.... spent $568, paid for every single drink, not one buy-back. and our waitress was, um... less than intelligent."

As ever, nominations for the Buyback Project being accepted now, via the tipline, svp; additional thoughts on buyback culture earn extra brownie points—and, who knows, maybe a free round.

Blue Hill

75 Washington Place, Manhattan, NY 10011 (212) 539-1776 Visit Website