Well, we can all admit it: Living in Oakland is pretty expensive. And while hoofing it to nice cocktail bars in Uptown and spending $12 a pop on drinks make us feel fancy, sometimes dropping $40 on a night of drinking just isn’t on the menu. Which is why I wanted to let you guys in on a little secret.

Sure, there are places where it’s easy to get a cheap drink. You can buy a $3 well drink at Merchant’s Saloon any night of the week, and tried-and-true dives like Geo Kaye’s will still sell you a Jack on the rocks for the quirky price of $5.25 (which is still cheaper than the $7 or $8 at most local bars). True aficionados of alcohol have already mapped out strategic day-drinking happy hours and those sometimes elusive late-night happy hours, but I want to hip you to the cheapest drink deal I have come across in my entire time drinking in Oakland: 80-cent ’80s Night at the Ruby Room.

Yeah, that’s right: a regular gin and tonic, whiskey Coke, tequila soda — if you order well, those will only run you 80 cents. Eighty cents! Can you believe it? You can put down $2 and feel really good for giving the bartenders more than a 100 percent tip.

The Revenge of 80-Cent ’80s Night is something that pops up at the Ruby Room occasionally. This month, it will be on April 9th. It’s the kind of event that gets too big for its britches, gets cancelled and then comes back months later. Obviously, it attracts quite a crowd, and that crowd generally tends to be young, broke and non-ironically clad in ’80s-era gear. But that’s mostly because if your big night out is 80-Cent Eighties Night, you might be the type whose entire sartorial repertoire has been culled from the Chinatown Salvation Army (hint: because it’s cheap, too).

So, naturally, you’ll find yourself almost getting elbowed in the face by the best, the brightest and the brokest of Oakland’s scummy hipster crowd, along with the usual cast of Ruby Room bikers, punks and night crawlers. Of course, 80-Cent ’80s Night gets packed. As in, it’s probably worth your while to buy five drinks at once because you might be crammed into the bar with way too many other people who have been waiting twenty minutes for a drink. It’s a deal that generally only lasts from 10 p.m. to midnight, so you kind of have to cash in while you can.

Currently, ’80s Night is the second Thursday of each month, presented by Slime City USA and Popgang, two locally renowned outfits that feature Jonathan Reddick and Jordan Deherrera in the DJ booth. The dance floor gets pretty crowded, with people bobbing along to the sound of The Smiths, New Order, Prince, Yacht Rock, New Wave, Post Punk – all the usual suspects from your quintessential ’80s wet dream, and also everyone is drunk on well liquor, so, yeah, things get pretty slurry. Or, rather, you’ll get really slurry, and you’ll also be able to recreate that scene from your favorite ’80s teen movie, you know, the one where they’re all at the prom and Molly Ringwald is wearing that dress — you know what I’m talking about. This is your chance to dress up like your favorite character from The Breakfast Clubget drunk and dance around like the ’90s never happened!

Eighty-Cent ’80s Night is one of those Oakland events that everyone talks about and is necessary to experience just once because, hey, why not. It’s not like it’ll cost you much. And, hey, chances are you’ll see at least one Ally Sheedy or Molly Ringwald lookalike, skulking around in the smoking room and giving you the eerie sensation that if anyone were ever brazen enough to do a St. Elmo’s Fire remake, at least one scene would be set in the Ruby Room.

The Ruby Room is located at 132 14th Street.

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