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The Buyback Project: Bars Rated .33 and Up

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.

2007_03_buyback.jpgToday, more Buyback ratings, some good, some downright dangerous. Before we get into the number crunching, just a friendly reminder that you can, to an extent, control your buybacks. Be nice, be a regular and drink heavily.

O'Flanagans
Buyback Rating: .50
Color: "My fiance and I live in UES and always go downtown to go out. However on the way home there is always the cry for "one more" (or four). Thus we go to O'Flanagans a block away. Rasa and Paul always hook us up on the 3rd round, usually the 5th round and if we stay beyond that the bill is often cut in half. We tip generously and go at least once a month (some months every week)."

Rhythm and Booze
Buyback Rating: .50
Color: "So far out of the way as to be completely useless for most of your readers, I’m sure, but it’s right around the corner from my apartment. I’m only a semi-regular there, but they are actually distressingly good with buybacks – generally every third round is on the house."

Buttermilk Bar
Buyback Rating: .33
Color: "It's on 5th ave in south slope is always generous with buybacks. even if i've never drank with the bartender i'll always get the third or fourth free."

Toad Hall
Buyback Rating: .33
Color: "I haven't done a specific study, but I would say that it has averaged out, over the course of 4 years and many many visits, to about every 4th drink being bought for me. This traces back to my days as a student at the French Culinary Institute, for whom Toad Hall was the end of the day spot for students and faculty alike."

Scruffy Duffy's
Buyback Rating: .33
Color: "I’ve gone there off and on for about five years now when I need to meet a friend to watch a game in Manhattan, and the staff has always been good about comping me."

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.

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