In Defense of Free Bar Pizza

A recent Gawker article slams free bar pizza, and insults the true spirit of taverns in the process

These pies from Brooklyn's Alligator Lounge were free with the price of a beer.

Earlier this week, Gawker’s Dayna Evans filed an article titled “Ban Free Pizza at Bars,” arguing that free bar pizza is infantile and usually doesn’t taste very good, and that bars shouldn’t feel the need to “reward” their customers for drinking heavily. Well, I humbly disagree. Free bar pizza is in fact fantastic, and immediately elevates the caliber of said bar, because they give their customers free pizza.

Once upon a time, bars used to be places that you could steal away to on your lunch break, and for, say, a nickel, down a frosty mug of ale and help yourself to a fine liverwurst sandwich or two. Today this tradition is carried on via steam tables of varying quality, offering free snacks like wings, quesadillas, and the like. Bar owners know that you’re hungry, and that you’d probably be perfectly okay with paying for some food, yet they still choose to give it to you for free, more or less out of the goodness of their hearts. The fact that some bars will rise above steam table wings to actually cook you a fresh pizza, to order, free with the price of a Blue Moon, is damn near saintly. Who cares if the sauce contains high fructose corn syrup? It’s free!

Evans claims that only babies happily accept “food that was given to them for no real reason.” Not only is this inherently false (you eat from the free bread basket at restaurants, right?), it also displays a lack of understanding of what bars truly are. They’re not simply places to go and get hammered. They’re hangouts, ports in a storm, places to meet up with friends, have a couple drinks, play some darts, and maybe eat a little something, free or otherwise. Bar proprietors are looking to foster a loyal clientele and instill a general feeling of good cheer, gemütlichkeit, if you will, and offering visitors a little something to eat is simply a common courtesy, carrying on a time-honored tavern tradition that dates back hundreds of years.


If you don’t want free pizza, don’t eat it. But don’t look down your nose at those who do, and don’t insult the bar owners who go through the trouble of cooking up a fresh, hot pizza for every guest that wants one for no reason other than the spirit of hospitality. Who cares whether it’s delicious or not? It’s free!

Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers. Click here for our ranking of the 101 best pizzas in America.