“Drinking with Lincoln,” a benefit event where patrons pay a flat entry fee and then only one cent per beer for the evening, will take place in Southampton Village on Thanksgiving Eve—Wednesday, November 23.
Hosted by 230 Down on Elm Street, the event is primarily a food drive that benefits Maureen’s Haven, a homeless outreach based in Riverhead that services the entire East End. The cost to attend is $20—but patrons who donate three nonperishable food items will be asked to pay only $15.
Sean McKenna, 43, one of the fundraiser’s organizers and a local nightclub manager and reggae concert promoter, explained that “Drinking with Lincoln” actually dates back to the late 1990s—though it was not a food drive at the time.
Back then, Mr. McKenna was a college student and tended bar at Green Derby on County Road 39—now the Blue Collar Bar—a place that he described as a “college dive bar.” In those days, the drinking special—named after Abraham Lincoln, as his face appears on the penny—was offered every Wednesday night, and the entry fee was a flat five bucks, and the beers cost only a penny each.
“‘Drinking with Lincoln’ is a thing we did years ago, so this is like a reunion,” Mr. McKenna said.
Steve Frankenbach, 38, of Conscience Point Promotions said he frequented Green Derby back in those days, and that is why, this year, he has decided to fold his separate food drive, “The Halloween Throwdown,” into Mr. McKenna’s event. For the past two years, “The Halloween Throwdown” has collected food to help stock the pantry at the Hamptons United Methodist Church in Southampton Village, which serves as a temporary homeless shelter during the winter months for Maureen’s Haven.
Mr. Frankenbach estimated that about 80 people attended his first event, in 2014, and they filled the trunk of a sedan with donated foods. The number of attendees jumped to about 120 last year, and organizers were able to fill up the bed of a pickup truck with all of the donations, he noted.
The Reverend Leslie Duroseau of the Hamptons United Methodist Church said this week that Conscience Point Promotions has held various events throughout the year benefiting the parish’s Maureen’s Haven programming.
“Everything they collect goes to the Maureen’s Haven program,” she said. “We ask participants of the program what they are in need of, and Conscience Point has a drive based on that. They have helped us a lot.”
While much has changed with the-now merged fundraisers, one thing has not: the cost of the 9-ounce refills. They will continue to be a penny, thanks, in part, to the fact that Miller Lite is sponsoring the event, according to the organizers.
“I feel like when we first did it, it was very gimmicky,” Mr. McKenna said, referring to the original “Drinking with Lincoln” nights. “We haven’t done it for at least 15 years, but everybody still talks about it.”
Kicking out reggae tunes throughout the night on Wednesday will be MC Jamalski, Winston Irie and the Skadanks. In between sets, DJ Twilo will be spinning music. Mr. McKenna also said the guest bartender of the night will be Patrick O’Donahue, who was born and raised in Southampton and now works at Red Bar.
Those who want to attend can purchase tickets at www.drinkingwithlincoln.brownpapertickets.com. Doors will open at 10 p.m. on Wednesday.