Weekly Banjo #6: Where It All Went Wrong, And How Successful Drinkers Can Make It Right Again

If you don’t think mistakes can have long lasting effects, consider the 18th amendment to the constitution, which benched succesful drinkers from 1917 to 1933.

“Well, Banjo, we can drink now, so what the hell is the problem?!”

You and I don’t drink nearly as successfully now as the mustached patrons in saloons did at the turn of the last century. The chief tradition these folks enjoyed was the Free Lunch; offerings ranged from cold cut platters to ornate buffets, either and all available to successful drinkers who had simply bought a beer, which they were going to do in the first place!

After prohibition, a new fad started, with the Free Lunch fading fast from memory, obscured by the panic and fervor of World War Two: the fad was coined, “Happy Hour”, and it stuck like fly paper. Desperate drinkers fawned over the idea of discounted beverages, regardless of their quality, and rank appetizers, usually discounted by a small percentage.

Modern happy hours (now commonly advertised on vinyl billboards) now offer $2 macro-lager cocktails and $3 nachos. Any drinker who has taken the time to take a cursory glance at our history and traditions should be justifiably repulsed.

Some brewers and kitchen masters are quietly bringing the Free Lunch back, and it is incumbent on any self-respecting saloon patron to encourage its return. Sadly, if you do most of your drinking at sports bars, happy hour is likely to stay. If you drink regularly at an establishment that values its drink and patronage, talk to the owner about re-instituting the Free Lunch. We should never have let that tradition die in the first place, and it is now up to us to bring it back.

Pictured: successful drinkers at play.


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