Bed Stuy/ Bushwick

Is the $8 40 in a paper bag as stupid as we think?

Please don't get this. via Facebook
Please don’t get this. via Facebook

So, as you may have heard, Beast of Bourbon, a new bar in Bed-Stuy, sells a 40 of Miller High Life in a paper bag. We know, bars need to stand out in this bar-land of ours, especially one that’s a barbecue joint. And the price, which was $8 when we visited last night, as opposed to the previously reported $10, doesn’t seem outrageous as far as bar economics go. That paper bag though, is where we draw the line.

If you want to sell 40s at your bar, fine, go right ahead. Sell the largest quantities of alcohol you can find, if someone’s foolish enough to buy one and end up with warm 40 swill at the bottom for eight bucks, fine. But why put it in a paper bag? A 40 in a paper bag signifies urban poverty, the kind that’s been swept off the far corners of the city these days. You aren’t reclaiming anything doing it, you’re not removing a stigma. It feels more like laughing at poor people from a position of privilege, which isn’t just mean, it’s also incredibly obnoxious. Like the kind of thing that Judge Smails did in Caddyshack, except you’re wearing skinny jeans and a Peter Gabriel tour t-shirt from 1982 instead of golf stuff.

Unless we’re being giant babies about this. Which we don’t think we are, but why not chime in on this. Just harmless marketing stunt or faux dive going too far?


  1. Tim Donnelly

    it’s not actually possible to get drunk off High Life. The water content of the beer flushes out any inebriants contained within. so if this were an actual 40, like Olde English or King Cobra or Hurricane, then it might make sense. But that would also probably lead to a lot of bare-knuckle fighting.

  2. no one in particular

    Having just moved here from SF, I feel like I have a different perspective. EVERYONE in SF drinks out of paper bags. They just hand you one, without asking, when you buy a beer. (And no cop will ever stop you for it.) It doesn’t seem like mocking anyone to me, but I suppose it’s different here.

  3. At Bar 169 in Chinatown you can buy a 40 oz of Colt 45 in an ice-filled champagne bucket for a similar price (also $8, I think). Is that even more offensive or less so?

    To No One (from SF): many bodegas here automatically put beers in a paper bag, too, but in a bar there’s no reason to do that other than to be funny. Is it funny? Sorta.

  4. The point of the paper bag is to allow the individual in question to drink in public. It’s obvious what is inside the bag but for a police officer to stop the individual and look inside of it would be considered searching that individual and in some specific cases a violation of their rights.

    But is this also an invitation to buy a forty for a fraction of the price at the deli and bring it into the bar in your own paper bag?

Leave a Reply