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  1. Bars & Breweries

Drinksgiving, one of the biggest party nights of the year, is upon us

The night before Thanksgiving has become a traditional time to imbibe before the true holiday commences.
South Howard Avenue's booming bar scene, and the crowds like this one at MacDinton's Irish Pub and Restaurant, have Tampa officials looking for ways to make the street less congested and safer.
South Howard Avenue's booming bar scene, and the crowds like this one at MacDinton's Irish Pub and Restaurant, have Tampa officials looking for ways to make the street less congested and safer.
Published Nov. 27, 2019
Updated Nov. 27, 2019

It’s the most drinkiest time of the year.

It goes by many names: Drunksgiving. Drinksgiving. Blackout Wednesday. Awkward Wednesday. So many more. Thanksgiving eve has become recognized as one of the most alcohol-heavy holiday related traditions.

Urban Dictionary, arbiters of trendy jargon, says Drinksgiving is “the day and night before actual Thanksgiving where you drink and have fun with your friends because you’ll have to endure family the whole next day.”

Bar & Club Stats, a company that makes app-based ID scanners for bar, attributes the rise of Drinksgiving to a few factors: Most people are off from work the next day, no one wants to entertain the night before hosting a big Thanksgiving meal and everyone is home and wants to see old friends. It also helps that a big meal the next day can be a good hangover cure.

The proof of the pseudo-holiday’s rise also lies in the numbers. According to Upserve, a restaurant software company that also tracks food service industry trends, beer sales went up 270 percent and liquor sales went up 114 percent on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving compared to the week before in 2016. Food sales only went up 28 percent in the same time period.

This pie chart from Upserve shows the increase in alcohol and food sales on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving compared to the week before. [Upserve]

But it’s not all toasty toasts and fun times. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that between 2013 and 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-related driving crashes during Thanksgiving weekend (around 6 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday). In 2017 alone, 528 people were killed in driving crashes nationwide that weekend.

There’s no shortage of boozy bashes scheduled all across Tampa Bay to celebrate. Chances are, if a bar’s got a Facebook page, they probably have an event listing to celebrate some iteration of inebriation.

In Pinellas there’s Drinksgiving parties at Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails, all of the Caddy’s properties, MacDinton’s, Copper Shaker and the Lure, plus “Thanksgiving Eve" marketed events at the Bends, Yard of Ale, Independent and Shadrack’s.

In Hillsborough you’ve got another Yard of Ale and MacDinton’s, O’Brien’s, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Circles Waterfront Restaurant and many, many more across the bay area, You can even get free shuffleboard with an awkward family photo at Shuffle in Tampa.

And if you choose to imbibe in this bacchanal business, make sure you don’t drive. And if you do, AAA and Budweiser are offering Tow To Go, free tow service within 10 miles to anyone who feels too intoxicated to drive, all weekend long by calling (855) 286-9246.

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