Birthday Freebies in the Albany Area
I wanted to know the options for my own 31st birthday. By my count, there are at least 36 birthday deals in the area. Here's what I came up with:
Pinto & Hobbs Tavern (142 Washington Ave.) - a fish bowl of Long Island ice tea
Bombers Burrito Bar (258 Lark St. Albany, 447 State St. Schenectady, 2 King St. Troy) - huge margarita, must spend at least $20
Wolff's Biergarten (895 Broadway) - das boot, a huge glass boot of beer, must give $40 deposit and spend $20
The Olde English Pub ( 683 Broadway) - the tea cup, huge tea cup of beer or cider, must give $40 deposit and spend $20
Graney's Stout (904 Broadway)- growler of beer
Graney's Bar & Grill (275 New Scotland Ave.) - a yard of beer
City Beer Hall ( 42 Howard St.) - a 40oz bottle of Olde English and I hear they actually serve it to you with a paper bag
Sciortino's (893 Broadway) - pizza slice, and if you go here and Wolff's, Olde English and Bomber's you get a T-shirt
Lark Street Ben & Jerry's (250 Lark St. Albany, and at RPI in Troy) - kiddie cone
Denny's (120 Troy Rd. East Greenbush, 114 Wolf Rd. Colonie, 697 Troy-Schenectady Rd. Latham) - a grand slam breakfast. As far as I can tell, you don't have to sign up and no purchase necessary.
Dave & Buster's (Crossgates Mall) - free $5 of play, if you sign up online at least a week prior to your birthday
Sephora (Colonie Center) - a free item of the store's choosing, if you sign up for their Beauty Insider program
The Barrel Saloon Rock & Roll Country Bar (942 Broadway) - a fish bowl with beer/lemonade
Madison Station (851 Madison Ave.)- a fish bowl
Professor M. Barley's (198 Quail St.) - a special beaker (they wouldn't tell me what's in it)
The Washington Tavern (250 Western Ave.) - half a yard of beer, and champagne on your 21st
Center Square Pub (32 Dove St.) - a grenade (find out what this is exactly and report back)
Lark Tavern (453 Madison Ave.)- a big mug of beer
Thatcher Street Pub (16 Thatcher St.) - a mug of beer
Hill Street Cafe (180 Madison Ave.) - a liter of beer
The Rusty Nail (1781 Rt. 9) - one free wing for each year (ie - for me, 31) and a free birthday drink refill with purchase of first drink
Trick Shot (1602 Rt. 9) - same as above, coincidentally
Power's Inn &Pub (130 Meyer Rd.) - a stein of beer
Panera (601 Troy Schenectady Rd) - free baked good, if you sign up online
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers ( 880 New Loudon Rd.)- free burger, if you sign up online
J.J. Rafferty's (847 New Loudon Rd.) - free drink up to $10 and free entree up to $10 either the day before, on, or after your bday with no purchase necessary
Starbucks (549 Troy Schenectady Rd., 675 Troy Schenectady Rd inside Target) - any drink, any size for free with option of ordering food as well. Just register your gift/rewards card online. One guy used his bday drink to get a $47 coffee.
Katie O'Byrne's Restaurant & Bar (121 Wall St.) - a fish bowl of rum punch, if a certain amount is spent
Van Dyck Lounge (237 Union St.) - six 10 oz glass beer samples
Johnny's (433 State St.) - a free cocktail
Daurizios FatBoy Style Pizza & Catering (2315 Curry Rd.) - a free 8-cut pizza, if you sign up online
Brown's Brewing Company (417 River St.) - paddle of shot-glass-size beer samples
The Daily Grind (46 3rd St. Troy and 204 Lark St. Albany) - a free item on their menu up to $10
Moe’s Southwest Grill (1527 15th St.) - free burrito, if you sign up online
Finnbar's Pub (452 Broadway) - a chalice of beer and cute paper crown
Bootleggers On Broadway (200 Broadway) - a large "vessel" for the middle of the table with a homemade cocktail, if a certain amount is spent
Villa Valenti (369 W. Sand Lake Rd., Wynantskill) - a birthday card with restaurant promotion, if you sign up online
The Confectionery (12 Second St. Troy), Daisy Baker's (33 Second St. Troy), and the Brown Bag (156 4th St. Troy) all said they try to make birthdays special for their customers as well in various ways.
While some of these are outright "free", several businesses require that between $15 and $20 is spent by your group so it helps to bring a few people. Some places are more strict about these rules than others. For my birthday, there were places that didn't even check my ID, but then there were other places that asked that we pay the difference of what our bill came to and what the minimum spent requirement was. It all depends on what day you go out, how busy it is, and how cool your waiter/waitress/bartender is.
Each place is also different regarding when they'll allow you to get your free item. Bombers, for example, will only honor the promotion on your birthday and not the midnight before but if you email them ahead of time they may be able to accommodate your party for another day. Then the national chains usually give you a couple weeks to do the offer.
Along with these, there are multiple birthday promotions including a buy one get one entree at Casey's (77 Washington Ave.) in Rensselaer and a similar deal at the Barnsider (480 Sand Creek Rd.) in Albany. There are also a lot of places that do free desserts with a purchased meal.
I did want to give a moment of silence for past birthday deals that are no longer with us including the yummy free birthday Bomber's burrito and the free champagne at Junior's.
Some area restaurants/bars blame - I mean, credit - Bomber's/Wolff's/Olde English/Sciortino's owner Matt Baumgartner with starting the Albany bday freebie trend. He said he actually got the idea from the Washington Tavern, where he went for his 21st birthday. His favorite local birthday promotion, by the way, is the Barnsider.
Now that you know the basics, check out my Albany Freebies Survival Guide to get a better idea of what to expect from your bday experience.