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In a town where nothing comes cheap, hosting a shindig always means shelling out for the pricey bash you'll drunkenly have to clean up later. But hell, it's spring: time for tapping the keg and downing the (gulp) Heiny, which can all be done for less than you've spent in the past.
To get you started, we've compiled a list of some of the better beer distributors and a few cheaper liquor stores throughout the city, with basic price comparisons. For more info, also check out the indispensable NYC Beer Guide; unfortunately, we have yet to find an equally useful website for spirits. Most places deliver, but it helps to have a car or a sympathetic friend with wheels. Also keep in mind, NY State Law requires a $75 deposit on all kegs, on top of whatever security the store charges. Sometimes it's just easier to go with the case.
1. B&E Quality Beverage
This Chelsea beer distributor delivers everywhere in Manhattan below 100th Street. A case of Bud is $18.95; a six-pack of Heineken is $7.50; and a six-pack of Brooklyn Lager is $7.95.
2. New York Beverage Wholesalers
With next-day delivery to anywhere in Manhattan, this beer seller also has a thorough website with constantly updated prices on everything in stock. A case of Bud is $19.99; a six-pack of Brooklyn Lager, $8.99; and a half-keg of Bud is $80, in addition to a store deposit.
3. American Beer Distributing
The friendly Cobble Hill distributor will deliver in Manhattan and nearby Brooklyn, and is phenomenal for unusual beers. Ask about the one-stop party service: $75 minimum with a $7.50 delivery, mix and match on everything in the store. A case of Bud is $19.85; a case of Heineken is $31.49; and a half-keg of Bud is $79.99, plus a $130 deposit.
5. Flair Beverage
This distributor compensates for the trek up to Inwood with some dirt-cheap prices. A case of Bud is $15.49; a six-pack of Heineken is $5.99; and a six-pack of Brooklyn Lager goes for $5.99.
6. Warehouse Wine & Spirits
Astor Wines' inexpensive next-door neighbor offers ridiculous specials like a gigantic 1.75 liter of Skyy for only $22.99. A liter of Absolut is $21.99 and a liter of Jim Beam is $12.99.
7. PJ Wine
This monster warehouse in the further reaches of Manhattan (204th Street) is for those with transportation only, as it does not deliver spirits. A liter of Absolut is $20.99 and a liter of Jim Beam is $14.99.