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October 25, 2007


In the movies, bartenders let their patrons run up big bills over the course of a week or two. For example:

Me: Frank, put it on the bill.

Frank: The bill, sir, is very high.

Me: So am I!

*By the way, if anyone gets that reference (without Googling!), I'll see if I can send you a Baltimore Sun tchotchke.

I just wonder sometimes -- do bars ever let you run up a bill anymore? Did they ever let you do this back in the day? 

I've never seen it. I've had bartenders who wrote down what I drank all night and then made me pay before leaving.

But I've never been able to walk out of a bar without paying and say, "Put it on my bill."

Have you?

(David Hobby/Sun Photographer) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:43 AM | | Comments (13)


hmmm.....never took you for a Broadway musical type........
there are two bars that allow me to run up tabs. If I gave them away, they wouldn't let me run up tabs no more!

JM, I was the lead in this play sophomore year of high school.

Brigadoon! ha!

Ben! You win! I'll be emailing you shortly with your prize. Don't get too excited.

i knew that....

hey! I was first! where's my Sun die cast devlery truck!

jm, you didn't name the play, you just said it was a play.

side note: if i had a die cast truck, i'd keep it for myself.

Forget to send?

I've walked out of bars that I regular and forgot to pay and they just add that to my next tab...I know the bartenders though

That goes back a while and would only be at neighborhood bars. The patrons would pay their tabs on pay day.

This subject reminds me of the TV show Cheers. Norm told Sam to put it on his tab and Sam pulled out a real thick 3-ring binder !!

Yes, there are bars that will run tabs for regular patrons in town, and not just neighborhood bars. BUT, the practice is illegal.

You have to be a regular, every night drunk.

When I lived on Long Island there was a bar that would run a multi-day tab for me. It's a rare thing, nowadays.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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