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Hell’s Kitchen may have some of New York’s highest gas prices but it now has the cheapest beer, as local watering hole Scruffy Duffy’s offers a gallon of beer for the price of a gallon of gas!
Bar owner Pat Hughes says the promotion is his humorous way of dealing with the significant rise in fuel pricing: “It’s a cheap publicity stunt to have fun amid the commotion and point out the skyrocketing gas prices,” he said, adding that recent inflation has reversed the price of his previously cheap wings.
“What’s really skyrocketing is the price of wings. In the old days, we’d lure in customers with 10-cent wings — now, it’s gotta be the other way around because chicken is essentially the price of steak,” he said. “I just had to raise my wing entree to $15, which makes me feel like a thief! But I have no choice.”
If you’re looking to refuel your tank, be sure to bring along three thirsty friends (there is a four-person minimum on the sale) and ensure that you order some of Scruffy’s signature wings, as each participant must order at least one food item to participate — “We don’t want to knock people out here,” said Hughes.
The steady increase of supply costs throughout the pandemic is impetus for the pricing change at his 10th Avenue bar. “Throughout COVID I’ve been spinning my wheels. Whatever money comes in from food I’d have to spend it right back out because prices are so high,” said Hughes, who recently took down his outdoor dining shed after a long pandemic tenure and a few unwelcome rats. Scruffy Duffy’s, like many area eateries, has been navigating the third year of the pandemic without support from the federal government, which failed to renew the Restaurant Replenishment Fund.
Despite the supply chain issues and rising costs, the price of beer has remained stable, said Hughes. “I ordered six kegs for this promotion at $59 a keg — which is close to what the price was 10 years ago.”
As for gas prices — which average $4.93/gallon statewide and frequently flirt with $7-8/gallon citywide — Hughes isn’t sweating them. “I do not worry about gas prices,” he said. “I commute from New Jersey and when I don’t have anything to carry, the $10 NJ transit bus works. It can’t be beat.”
This isn’t the first publicity seeking stunt that Hughes has hatched up to promote his bars. During the pandemic, he offered to sell Scruffy Duffy’s and Hellcat Annie’s Taproom (the bar he owns next door on the corner of W45th Street) for bitcoins. Before the pandemic, he also ran “Wage Gap Wednesday” at Kiabacca (now called Scruffy Duffy’s) which gave women 21% off their midweek tab to recognize salary inequity.
Hughes says he’ll play the promotion by ear as gas prices fluctuate — the price will change to match the highest price being charged at the Mobil gas station on 11th Avenue and W51st Street. A reason to believe in inflation?!