How Big Was Your Biggest Bar Tab?

It's time to prepare for the sticker shock of a Saint Patrick's Day drink bill.

A debaucherous season is upon us. The weeks surrounding Mardi Gras and Saint Patrick's Day mean it's time for those who make partying their full-time job to take the streets and hit up their local watering holes for all the beer, shots, and cocktails they can (responsibly) handle. But that life don't come cheap, and the only thing worse than the next day's hangover is looking at that bonkers bar tab in the sober light of day.

Which states have the wildest Saint Patrick’s Day drinking habits?

A recent survey from online gambling site time2play took a look not only at the states that drink the most on Saint Patrick's Day in particular, but the most popular drinks and the average amount of money spent on drinks that day.


Unsurprisingly, beer is the most popular drink of the day, making up 75% of drink orders. When it comes to straight up imbibing, Pennsylvania takes the top prize with an average of 4.26 drinks per person, with the rest of the top five—Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, and Nevada—hovering right around 4 drinks per person as well.

Strangely there's not much correlation between the heaviest drinkers and the biggest spenders, implying that folks in top-spending New Jersey are reaching for top-shelf offerings to make up an average of $57.76 spent on drinks per person. Nevada makes it onto both lists, where an average bar tab is $53.18 per person.

Top reasons for a high bar tab

An average night of drinks for me can cost anywhere from $6 to $40 depending on where and what I'm drinking. In some beloved Chicago dives, I can get four PBRs for under $10, but sometimes I want a couple dirty martinis in a fancier joint.


But the absolute highest bar tabs I have paid go into the hundreds—when you get the check at a neighborhood bar and the total is more than $100, other factors are at play. While I personally can't blame Salt Bae for this one, here are a few of the top causes of my most financially irresponsible drink bills:

  • Generosity. Everybody loves the person who's buying the next round, and who doesn't love being the person everybody loves? The phrase "this one's on me" has to be my number one reason for sticker shock.
  • Pure indulgence. I knew what I was doing, I went for too many drinks or the most expensive cocktail on the menu on purpose (with the help of that building liquid confidence), knowing even in a tipsy haze that my wallet would have to deal with the consequences at the end of the night.
  • Price discrepancies. Sometimes you just get so used to paying $3 for a beer or $6 for a glass of wine at your local dive that you forget that other bars, whether you're traveling to a more expensive city or simply trying some new place, don't have the same deals. Always check the menu—if the prices aren't listed, like at an airport bar, just assume it's gonna be a lot.
  • Tipping big. Whether it's because of the alcohol going to my head, to make up for a lapse in bar etiquette by someone in my party, or because of my fundamental belief that bar and restaurant workers are grossly underpaid, sometimes it's a giant tip that puts my bar tab over the edge.
  • What's the biggest bar tab you've ever encountered? And what was the cause for racking it up? Sound off in the comments.