Free Beer At Corpus Christi Bars & ClubsFREE BEER! If I ever have another band I would name them Free Beer. Think about that, 'Tonight Free Beer at the Corpus Christi Coliseum!!!' what a way to fill seats. Well FREE BEER was a way of life in the 1970s in my hometown.
The beer was usually rotgut swill like Milwaukee's Finest, Pearl, Lone Star, Texas Pride, even Hamm's or Schlitz. You paid a price at the door, $5-$10 a head, and the place had some local bands who should not have ever picked up a musical instrument, on other hand, some local bands who would go onto bigger and better things, whether as band or solo acts. Who cared, the beer was free. Well...not really free if you had to pay a cover to hear Noise With A Beat band.
Free Beer nights sort of went the way of drive in movies, the 8 track tape, and ladies nights. Have not seen a FREE BEER event in many years now, at least in Houston. Corpus Christi different bar scene though.
Some of the places I recall in a drunken stupor I went to for these events was Ritz, also in Port A Crazy Chuck's, and on Saratoga just north of Ayres a big warehouse Yellow Rose that had worse acoustics in world but who cared, free beer!
Being a bartender 25+ years, I was not one then, many times a number of us got together and went to these which were heavily advertised on local radios like KEYS, KZFM & KRYS (I think that is how it is spelled, let me have another free beer! Yes, it was $5 "cover charge". At the time a Full Sized Keg, also known as Full Keg or Barrel of Beer was (and still is) 15.5 gallons, or about 1984 ozs. And in 1970s these were about $29, so HUGE mark up, whoever was throwing FREE BEER event would make mucho dinero after they pay band, rent on place if they had any, staff.
I can't tell you how many times I slept in parking lots, but better than getting pulled over by cops who ALSO knew about these events! They would not bother you in parked car, heck no one ever bother anyone in a parked car, whether downtown on the beach, Port A or off Saratoga, sometimes looked like a drunken retirement community so many cars with folks passed out in them at the Saratoga location! The wafting smell of urine & vomit was permeated only by free beer! Some of these locations like the Saratoga Warehouse (Yellow
Rose) you had to bring your own drinking mug. I still to this day 40+ years later have my Coors heavy clear mug, holds about 12 oz, don't think I ever had Coors in it then, just cheap swill.
The trick to going to these Corpus Christi places was to go EAT something before you went. If you went on empty stomach, yes, would get drunk pretty quick and then the bands sound that much better singing Lynyrd Skynyrd Free Bird. The lines usually large for these events, especially the Saratoga location, would wrap around building. Wonder how many kegs they went thru in one night?
As a bartender over quarter century, please be sure to tip your bartenders, waitresses and waiters at least 15%, the "minimum wage" for TIPPED employees who make over $20 a month in tips is only $2.13 in Texas, so hook them up.
Photos! Photo #1. Line wrapped around Ritz downtown because BEER NIGHT not Anniversary, no one cares about that. You could give away free iPhones and no one show up, but BEER, now we talking. Chances are it was not free, maybe $1 a cup of cheap swill, who cares. Sharp eyed car people will notice a Chevy II convertible in front, also a 4 door Maverick & farther back a Chevrolet Vega.
Photo #2. Longtime friend Emilio Gutierrez in front of Ritz in about 1979. Dude! Red Pants ha ha. Ok, I had some KISS boots I wore to white Rabbit Disco, so red pants cool in late 70s. Sort of.
Photo #3. Like Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, I like BEER. Everything tastes better if free or stolen. This is a keg of Heineken am hoisting up, having fun with customers, or regulars as we call them. Sure it was empty, but was having fun with it behind the bar. Look closely, on upper far left is W. B. Ray Fighting Texans banner. Go Texans. Go Free Beer! By the way this is a 16 gallon keg, full...it is 130-140 lbs.
Photo #4 & #5 These photos taken in front of our crappy house 723 Doss. The tshirt is Crazy Chuck's which was in Port A. On it shows a pair of boobs, sort of like what you saw on the early KLOL-101 FM mermaid logo. You can actually see the boobs here and partially Port Aransas, Texas. Not sure why my hair was so short, either had mange, or bartender job that required that. Momma INSISTED I take some food for long trip back to uh, Weber Road where I had place at The Landing. She HATED the Crazy Chuck shirt, which made me want to wear it more. Am wearting it here, she told me "what if Monsignor Schmidt sees you in that??!" I curtly replied "uh, momma, he will probably smile & stare!" I threw it away when she was diagnosed with breast cancer though and had her own breasts removed. Not sure what the food way wrapped up in aluminum foil, hell, they didn't have money to buy food andI was usually taking food over to them, so maybe it was food circle, some of my own stuff being given back to me. And it probably went good with FREE BEER. Which at my apartment, was not free, but icebox always stocked!
Photo #6 My how times have changed. In the 1970s, you pretty much had one size keg. Had to get big garbage can, you and buddy or fellow bartender drop it in, pack with ice, and put pump on it. Now there are kegs you can buy that fit in your icebox, not that anyone calls it a icebox anymore, but fridge, 'mini kegs' where at home or apartment you can have your own FREE BEER!