Students open bottles, close wallets

(U-WIRE) – The bad news: Going out in Florida, isn’t free. The good news: It can be pretty darn cheap. Florida has been able to maintain relatively low costs for students who go out, especially those who know how to save. Let’s say a downtown club makes between $2,000 and $7,000 a night from alcoholic beverages and an additional $1,500 to $2,000 for cover — a reasonable figure, according to some downtown club owners. With an average capacity of 250 people and average liquor sales of $5,000, that comes out to $20 a person for one night. The fact that Florida has college towns keeps the cover prices pretty standard — usually at $5-$7 a person, although special events such Homecoming weekend are often cause for inflated prices. Many clubs offer decent drink specials, such as free ladies’ drinks, which keep things cheap and thus keep the crowds coming. Javier Ferreiro, a 21-year-old accounting major who goes out two to three times a week, said he spends more than $20 a night in Florida only when it’s a special occasion, such as when he’s entertaining out-of-towners. For the most part, he tries to save. “I am an accounting major, after all,” he said. When he’s in Miami, though, Ferreiro said he will usually spend more than $40 to go out. This includes parking, cover and maybe a couple of drinks, he said. Although alcohol can be the most expensive aspect of a night out, there are other areas where it’s easy to cut back. Andrea Sollie, a 20-year-old criminology major, has another suggestion. “I try not to take cabs all the time because it really adds up,” she said. Sollie always tries to either carpool with a bunch of friends or share a cab with as many people as possible when she’s heading out. On occasion, she’ll even take the bus. By and large, pre-drinking is where most partiers save money, said 21-year-old club promoter Peter Gonzalez. “This state is obsessed with pre-drinking,” he said. “It seems the crowds keep getting later and later.” Justin Greenfield, a 21-year-old psychology major, prefers partying at home or at friends’ houses to going out to clubs and bars. He usually spends $20 as well, but for an entire weekend. Greenfield usually buys a bottle of Iceberg vodka for about $15, which lasts him at least two to three days. If and when he goes out to bars or clubs, he tries to keep his wallet closed. “I don’t have a problem buying a couple of drinks at the club, but it doesn’t make sense to me,” he said. Once the numbers are figured out, pre-gaming really is a better, cheaper alternative to drinking out. For example, a standard bottle of liquor contains 750 milliliters, approximately 25 1-ounce shots, and can usually be bought for under $20. At a bar, a normal drink contains one shot of alcohol and costs between $4 and $5. So instead of the 80 cents a shot would cost if a bottle were purchased, a clubber might shell out $5 or more. This may be a lot of math for a drunk person, but the empty wallet at the end of a bar-hopping crusade speaks for itself. And, if that doesn’t work, think of what else the money could be used for. “I’d rather spend the money on a big keg party with my friends,” Greenfield said.

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