A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 06, 2016
“The best band name is ‘Free Beer‘“

The best band name is often said to be “Free Beer.” Who wouldn’t show up for a bar band called “Free Beer”?

“Free Beer” was actually the name of a bar band in Australia in the 1980s. They found it difficult to get repeat bookings after people realized that they would not be getting free beer. The newsgroup alt.slack posted “The Canonical List of Weird Band Names” on August 7, 1996, and included on the list were “Free Beer” and “Free Beer and Chicken.”

The Denver (CO) folk rock band The Lumineers had the early name of “Free Beer” about 2002 when they played in New York City.


20 August 1988, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, “Great Band Names of the ‘80s,” Good Weekend sec., pg. 8, col. 2:
Free Beer (they drew large crowds but found it hard to get repeat bookings)

16 March 1991, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, “Column 8,” pg. 1, col. 8:
ANother candidate for the Great Band Names Hall of Fame is a local group called Free Beer, which usually attracts a large crowd whenever it is advertised, not necessarily to hear the music.

Google Groups: alt.slack
Found: Weird band names
cuthulu
8/7/96
The Canonical List of Weird Band Names
The Peculiar and the Profane
These are names of actual bands, past and present.
Updated 7/28/96. There are currently 671 band names.
(...)
Free Beer
Free Beer and Chicken

Google Books
Women of Mystery III:
Stories from Ellery Queen’s mystery magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s mystery magazine

By Kathleen Halligan
Edison, NJ: Castlebooks
2002, ©1998
Pg. 135:
Q: What band name on a marquee will always guarantee a crowd?
A: Free Beer.

Snopes.com
Topic: Best band name ever: “Free Beer”
Rollerwings
posted 09 September, 2003 12:15 PM
I saw an ad for a show that included a band called “10 cent wings,” which would look pretty neat on a bar’s marquee. My husband tells me that he’s known of several bands that chose “Free Beer” as their name to ensure large crowds at every show (at least until the public caught on.)

1 December 2003, Brandweek, “Skul of guer-rock top 10 tactics by unsigned bands” by Luke Eddins, pg. 28, col. 3:
10 IF ALL ELSE FAILS, CHANGE BAND NAME TO FREE BEER, AS IN “FREE BEER TONIGHT AT THE ROXY.” (Band: wanted to remain intoxicated)

Twitter
John Halcyon Styn
‏@Halcyon
@mathowie, conversely, if you name your band ‘Free Beer Tonight’ you will do wonders for attendance. (actual band name)
4:47 PM - 19 Jun 2008

Twitter
BrettTrout
‏@BrettTrout
@jahinke Nice. My favorite college band name was “Free Beer” You can imagine the crowd “Free Beer Friday Night at The Pub” signage drew.
3:06 PM - 3 Nov 2008

Birmingham (MI) Patch
Sign Promoting Band Named ‘Free Beer’ Leads to Police Citation for South
Alleged liquor law violation reported to state authorities. Birmingham bar accuses city of selective ‘targeting.’

By Alan Stamm (Open Post) - April 19, 2012 3:53 am ET
Middle-age rockers call their band Free Beer to be amusing, but the didn’t smile when that name was displayed outside .

There’s no free beer at a licensed business in Michigan and South is accused of breaking a law that prohibits restaurants and bars from giving away alcoholic drinks.

Twitter
CBC Radio 2 Drive
‏@CBCR2Drive
When @thelumineers started, they tricked people into seeing their shows with the band name “Free Beer”.
6:00 PM - 25 Feb 2016

Twitter
Digi-Dude Nate
‏@NateMagnum
If you want to start a successful band, name it “Free Beer”. That way when you post flyers that say “Free Beer @ 8pm” everyone will show.
6:26 PM - 17 Aug 2016
Sandy Springs, GA

Buffalo Rising
One chef’s high-wire act at the North Buffalo Farmers Market
by NorthBuffalo.org October 6, 2016, 8:02 am
An old joke has it that the best name for a band would be Free Beer. Put that on the marquee and watch the crowds come.

Free Food … a close second, right?

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Thursday, October 06, 2016 • Permalink