For students in College Park, few things are held in as high regard as happy hour. These precious moments, typically between 5 and 7 p.m., but realistically from whenever your last class ends to whenever you feel like leaving, are the very foundation holding us all together. Sitting on a dirty patio or in a musty booth, eating fries and getting drunk with your friends. This specific type of nirvana exists in such sacred territory that any change can prove catastrophic.
And yet, a dark horse has risen from the ashes. Further down Route 1, away from the typical trio of Bentley's, Turf and Cornerstone, a siren call beckons students with an irresistible voice. It whispers liltingly in your ear, "We have $1 margaritas."
That's right. Until the end of October, Applebees is offering margaritas for only $1. Four quarters. Ten dimes. Twenty nickels. One-hundred pennies. However you want to pay. This is a margarita you can buy with your lemonade stand money and have plenty of change to spare.
At the end of August, students were struck with the news that Applebees would be getting rid of Thursday night karaoke, a College Park staple that gifted students the ability to drunkenly scream lyrics in a public setting. The restaurant had to have known that the margarita deal was just around the corner and decided to get rid of karaoke for our own safety. After all, the combination of $1 margs and karaoke could likely produce a rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" so horrible it would cause the entire building to burst into flames.
But how will this new promotion affect the delicate balance of life in the College Park happy hour scene? Granted, the $1 margarita deal is not specifically for happy hour, it is an every hour deal. You can walk into Applebees at 11 a.m. and be served as many $1 margs as your heart desires.
And yet, this change will surely impact the way students decide where to spend their precious evening drinking money. Turf's $4 margarita deal on Mondays now seems too pricey. Bentley's will continue to try and draw us in with half-price burgers and drinks on Wednesdays, but that's still not as low as $1. Looney's will give you $2 rails on Tuesdays and an entire bucket of Orange Crush for $6 on a Thursday. Cornerstone comes the closest, offering $1 vodka and bourbon drinks starting at 10 p.m. Wednesdays and $1.50 rails on Fridays. But even then, these deals are constrained by dates and times, unlike the $1 margaritas, which are only $1 at any time, on any day, as long as that day isn't past Oct. 31, 2017.
It seems that, for the time being, a great migration will take place. Just as the birds begin to fly south for the winter, flocks of students will head south down Route 1 to satisfy their instinctual desire for tangy drinks made with bottom-shelf tequila.
And when you inevitably join in this migration, please, for the love of God, tip your poor server handsomely.