Capital Region birthday freebies

Bombers Birthday Margarita .jpg

Bombers big birthday margarita

By Arielle Trimm

You say it's your birthday! Great! Time to milk it for all it's worth. And as it turns out, it's worth a lot.

Lots of Capital Region businesses offer birthday specials, but some of those specials take the proverbial cake. Here's a list of Capital Region birthday freebies to check before you head out to celebrate your b-day.

Bombers
Birthday Special:
Free burrito at the takeout counter and free margarita when you grab a table.

Why:
Bombers offers you more on your birthday than Moe's burritos and don't make you pre-register online to get it.

Requirements:
Photo ID with your birth date.

Ben & Jerrys

Birthday Special:
Free small ice cream

Why:
Free ice cream and you have to ask why? The one in Albany is right down the street from Bombers -- so it's easy to stop here after your free burrito or margarita. And B&J doesn't ask you to register in advance like Cold Stone Creamery.

Requirements:
Photo ID with your birth date.

The Barnsider

Birthday Special:
Half off of a second dinner entree

Why:
You can treat your friends to a Barnsider steak and their never ending salad and still have money for cake.

Requirements:
Photo ID with your birth date.

Hollywood Video

Birthday Special:
Free rental

Why:
Because Netfllix takes a few days to ship and doesn't offer video games.

Requirements:
Membership

Wolff's Biergarten

Birthday Special:
2 liter beer served in a giant glass boot.

Why:
Because it's fun, it's delicious, and you can throw peanut shells on the floor. Just don't be a jerk and break the boot. Then your free beer will cost you $40.

Requirements:
Photo ID with your birth date.

Mahar's Public Bar

Birthday Special:
One free beer

Why:
If you have an appreciation for good beer and want to expand your palate, this is the place is for you. The variety they offer is the best in the city and the atmosphere is classy.

Requirements:
Stop in, buy a beer and give them your name before your birthday and they will set up your free account. This account lets you earn rewards, keeps track of what beers you still need to sample -- and grant you a free beer on your birthday.

Belleayre Mountain

Birthday Special:
Ski free on your birthday (if your birthday falls in the off season, they'll assign you a free day).

Why:
8 lifts and 47 trails take you through the 171 acres of the "forever wild" Catskill Forest Preserve.

Requirements:
Photo ID with your birth date. Off-season birthday info can be found here.

Macaroni Grill/Houlihan's/PF Changs/Olive Garden/TGI Fridays/Albany
Pump Station/Buca Di Beppo/Red Lobster/Cheesecake Factory/Koto
Japaneese Steakhouse/The Standard

Birthday Special:
Free piece of cake, cupcake or scoop of ice cream with the purchase of any entree. The bigger chains will have the staff serenade you with what can only be described as a birthday song. That's because the actual song "Happy Birthday" is copyrighted. Yes, really.

Why:
You know exactly what to expect from these places, and their locations are usually very convenient.

Requirements:
Photo ID with your birthday, but very often they'll take you at your word.


Know of any other good birthday specials? Please share.

Photo: Kim Dunham

Comments

Ahhh, what a great post. I've been meaning to do something like this, but in the chain sense. I like how this is local. What a great idea. Thanks.

Cool, about 21 days too late for me, but something to keep in mind for next year. :)

Elissa Halloran has a, "birthday book," too. I'm not sure what the special is but you'll probably get a nice discount.

Sweet, this gives me about 4 months to properly plan my birthday to maximize the free stuff!

Note to self: go skiing BEFORE hitting all the places with free booze.

I'm planning to do at least one of these, maybe two, on my birthday this Tuesday (the booze ones, of course).

Note to self: Alcohol and ice cream don't mix very well, especially at the end of the night. Oh, and you're lactose intolerant.

If you're looking for some retail birthday love, if you're a member of Sephora's Beauty Insider program, it will send you a coupon for a free sample for your birthday (this year, I got 4 small lip glosses). Also, Different Drummer's Kitchen and Pearl Grant Richmans will send you a coupon for some percentage off purchase during your birthday month if you're on their mailing lists.


Just a tip: Bomber's will refuse you a margarita if your birthday is 'tomorrow' but you arrive after midnight - at which point it IS technically your birthday. I was disappointed to find this out.

Of course this gets posted 4 days after my birthday! I did get some sweet freebies from a few of my favorite bartenders in the area though! Love those guys : )

@Leigh: Elissa sent me a nice postcard for $5 off any purchase in her "little store". I love how she does cute stuff like this!

And I have been told at Bombers that we are required to order food to get the birthday margarita. Beers aren't enough business for them to do it.

And be prepared for the lovely sulfur smell of the sparkler in your drink! It stinks, but it sure is festive!

This is awesome and I am filled with regret that I will be out of town on my upcoming birthday!

Last I checked, Washington Tavern will give you a free bottle of Champagne on your 21st Bday

That's pretty bull, Skye! My mother insists that I'm not really my new age until the actual time I was born. I thought that was the real, legal deal until I was about 12... And the older I get the more I'm thinking of reinstating that rule...

Washington Tavern gives you a free bottle of champagne on your birthday

@Kate, I'm a member of Sephora's beauty insider, and last year they sent me a sizeable bottle (much, much larger than a sample) of birthday cake scented body wash. I wonder what I'll get this year... :)

@Skye: The same thing happened to me! I went in for my birthday margarita in the evening with about 8 other food-buying and booze-drinking friends and was denied my birthday margarita, even though I asked for it after midnight. I had been so excited to get it, but they would not budge.

Arielle,

Great post - satisfies a curiousity everyone in the capital region has alaways had - "where do i get free @$%& on my birthday?"

I think Wolff's Biergarten has the best one of the list. Experiences with bombers have alway left our gang wanting.

BTW for those chains... I must have gotten my good pal Bozz a free cake and crap song once a month at Friday's for about two years running. Angry Bosnian + poor english + stupid birthday song = Top Notch Entertainment.

Daleyplanit, thanks and I so remember those birthday pranks with Bozz. Fun times! A lot of the chains told me that they still don't ask for ID, which is bizarre. You'd think they would have caught on by now that young folks love to prank each other & get free cake by pretending it's someones birthday. Oh well. Let the pranks continue I guess.

I love your timing. Thank you.

I got my free burrito from Bombers a month ago, but I asked in Ben & Jerry's whether they did some sort of free ice cream on your birthday thing and they said no.

You guys forgot Stewart's though. I went to Stewart's afterward to get my free ice cream.

The Pump Station might not do a freebie deal, but they give you 20% off your bill if its your birthday.

This is quite convenient. My 21st is coming up at the end of August. There's now a very good chance you'll catch me stumbling around the area with this page in tow.

@Lana,
Really? Because I called the Lark street Ben & Jerry's and they told me yes! Weird.

@Ellie
I called the Albany Pump Station & they said they give you free cake. They didn't say anything about the 20% off deal, but if that's true then great!

Saratoga isn't really Albany but Putnam Market will give you a discount equal to your age on your birthday. We found out quite by accident when my son turned 2 and we got a 2% discount. Apparently, lots of folks bring their grandmother in so they can get a 90% discount.

The food is good too. On Broadway.

Villa Valenti in Sand Lake: Good Italian place, great salad bar. Free entree with purchase of another. You have to sign up for their birthday club or whatever they call it. Then about a month before your bday they'll send you a postcard for the freebie. They say you have to use them within 30 days, but nobody's ever checked that I've noticed.

This is a great post. Sadly for me, none of these places are open on my birthday: 12/25. Bullocks.

Awesome... thanks to you all I got my Sephora lip gloss and plan to head to Lark street for some free food tomorrow. RIP Elvis.

The Ivy Spa in North Greenbush gives $20 off any service to all their clients during their bday month...very sweet

To get the margarita @ Bombers you just need to spend $15, it can be food or drink. I've gotten it at midnight of my birthday for two years, but those years were both midweek... Maybe they allowed because they weren't busy?

You guys never heard of slipping them a fiver? That makes it YOUR birthday at Bombers if they hedge...5 bucks to look the other way? Easy money

Pinto & Hobbs on Washington does a free fishbowl of long island iced tea!

Add the Olde English and Graney's Stout to the list... you get a free GIANT teacup full of hard cider or Foster's at the Olde English, and a giant jug (I forget the ounces...maybe 40) of beer at Graney's.

Hmm they are still doing free birthday burritos at the downstairs Bombers? Last year when I asked they said they had discontinued it.

I was able to get a free ice cream from Ben & Jerry's though. But it seemed they weren't really sure what their birthday policy was. Actually they didn't even ask for my ID!

Free fishbowl of beer mixed with lemonade at the Barrel Saloon on Broadway in Albany. They call it - dirty swamp water. Tasted like a shandy. I had to carefully dump out the approx. 5 scoops of ice because it was way too cold to chug.
Also, Junior's does a free bottle of champagne.

Browns gives a beer sampler!

I went out on my birthday using this list and from other sites that I saw (just the bars), and this is what I encountered.

Juniors- They claim to give a free bottle of champaign but when I inquired they said they were out of champaign and would not substitue with anyhting else. The manager looking type guy even looked mad at me for asking, so I left never to return.
Also the place was far too crowded in a small building for me at the time, but a lot of people like that.

Olde English- To get a free large (over half a basketball) sized mug of fairly good tasting hard cider, you have to first spend $20 and put a $40 cash only deposit on the mug.
The place had a nice cozey atmosphere in my opinion, and the bartender seemed fun and polite.

Graney's Stout- To get a free large (60 oz) glass of beer, you need to spend $15 first and I think there was again a $40 cash deposit on the glass.
Nice looking place, seemed clean, nobody was there when I showed up but I could see they were probably used to having a full house there

Wolff's Biergarten- To get a free big boot (I'd say nearing 80 oz) of beer, you have to spend $20 first and again put a $40 cash deposit on the glass, this place is entirely cash only actually, which kind of sucks but really isn't a problem.
Very fun atmosphere here, I could see myself bringing a large group of people on a special occasion, but warning to anyone with a severe peanut allergy, they throw peanut shells on the floor, LOTS of them.

Bomber's- To get a large (slightly watered down if you ask me) margarita, you have to first spend $15 dollars and they WILL NOT give it to you if your birthday starts at midnight, which I think is quite unreasonable.
Bomber's is an OK place I guess, but it's always too crowded, always a big hastle to walk to the bathroom, get a drink, hold a conversation with the person you're screaming into each other's ears with, it's just not cricket. The restaurant is much better than the bar if you ask me, and I would never go to Bomber's bar unless some friends made me.

Pinto & Hobbs- To get a free small fishbowl (about the size of your average coffee pot) of not very strong Long Island iced tea you have to do absolutely nothing, no minimum purchase first, no deposit, just the honor system that you will buy at least a couple more drinks after. Now the drink, as I stated, is not as strong as I like my Long Islands, and is half Ice, but it's still a free big drink just becuase it's your birthday with no questions asked. We ended up spending a bunch of money there anyway so it didn't really matter in comparison to the other places that make you spend a minimum first, but it was a much better feeling because I got my free birthday drink FIRST right at arrival, with no pressured feeling that I owed an amount of money that they had decided already.
NIce little place, with room to spare in the back, they don't have much: a dart board, a little Atari style multigame table (with a big crack in the glass, but it worked), and separate gender bathrooms, but we met some really fun people there, perfect amount of noise, and they have no juke box, they have a sound system that they will play your own music (for free) on CD and probably MP3 as well (I didn't check, sorry)... now how cool is that?

I would have pressed on and tried out more places that I heard give free drinks on your birthday (like Browns [appearently a free super beer sampler] in Troy and the Barrel Saloon [appearently a free fish bowl of lemonade and beer mix]) but I was pretty cashed out, wallet and liver, by the end of that trail, so happy birthday and have fun with the VD.

Also I heard of a few restaurants that give free entrees, but I don't know for sure because I didn't go. The Barnsider and The Dakota apparently. Also Moe's Southwest Grill will give you a free entree, chips and salsa when you sign up for their newsletter.

Of course you have to show ID proving that it's your birthday at these places.

This is great information! I have a few additions: These birthday specials do not require that you spend money. 1 - Daily Grind on Lark Street lunch, up to $10, is free on your birthday, 2 - Beer City Hall gives a Mystery Bucket for free -- which is a metal pale with ice cubes and it contains cans of beer: 2 premium beers, 2 non-premium beers and a small thin crust pizza (42 Howard Street, Albany), 3 - Sciotino's, which used to be the Miss Albany Diner (next to Wolf's Biergarten on Broadway, Albany) free slice of pizza of your chioice which they slice into six small pieces, enough to share with friends. I had the white, broccoli and it was delicious. Happy Birthday!!!

FYI: in April when I was there on my birthday, the City Beer Hall no longer gave out birthday buckets. Instead I was presented with a 40 of Olde English in a paper bag and told that that was the new thing. It didn't appear to be a joke.

My husband and I both had Saturday birthdays this year and decided to do Albany b-day drink crawls. Here's the list of bars in town that offer free b-day specials:

Olde English (Tea Cup)
Wolff's (Das Boot)
Graney's Stout (64 oz. Jug)
Barrel Saloon (Fish Bowl)
Madison Station (Fish bowl)
Professor M Barley (Barley's Beaker)
Washington Tavern (1/2 Yard)
Center Street Pub (Grenade)
Elda's (Megatini)
Bombers (Megarita or Boot)
Lark Tavern (Large Mug o' Beer)
City Beer Hall (Olde English 40)


Anna O'Keefe's (Drink or shot from bartender - Not standardized special)


Places that do NOT do drinks for b-day
-Lion Heart
-Justins
-Legends
-Cafe Hollywood
-New Madison Grille

Madison Station, right by Saint Rose campus, gives you a large fishbowl of alcohol complete with Swedish fish swimming in it. There is no minimum purchase for it and the bartenders are always super friendly

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