We're in progress 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.
Today we present you with a handful of gems, bars that have a buyback rating of .20 or better. Buyback rating, of course, is defined as the number of free rounds divided by the number of paid-for rounds.
Brooklyn Ale House
Buyback Rating: .33
Color: "I'm a bartender at the Brooklyn Ale House, and am a huge advocate of buybacks. The owner encourages every fourth drink be given back to good patrons...we even have a buyback button on our register. Come by this Sunday from noon-9pm, and have a few. Your 4th one is on me:)"
Buyback Rating: .66
Color: "After the 2nd round, he bought us a 3rd. For our 4th round my friend then switched to a Jack on the rocks and I stayed with the beer. The bartender then bought us our 5th round. Can’t remember exactly the events after that but I’m almost positive we were given one more round at some point after that."
Buyback Rating: .20
Color: PJ Clarke's - hands down, most generous bartender in Midtown. My co-worker and I can be seen there at least once a week during lunch (not that I'm proud of this....it's anonymous, right??) and always get a buy-back."
Buyback Rating: .33
Color: "I go there early in the week when it's not crowded, and after two or three rounds, most of the bartenders will drop a shot or a beer my way. Granted, I'm a good tipper and tend to drink heavily."
Buyback Rating: .50
Color: "Last Thursday was my first ever trip to d.b.a. (I know, I know.) Which is to say, I'm not a regular. The first two rounds were happy hour buys, but the third round was still a buyback. A heavy tip was, of course, left."
· Introducing the Buyback Project [~E~]
We're just getting started. 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.