The Twin Cities’ Best Birthday Deals, Ranked

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Young woman in restaurant booth reaching for birthday cake

It’s 2018, and you’re still paying for stuff on your birthday? Cut it out!

There are so many companies willing to groove you a birthday gift just for signing up for their e-clubs, you can easily make a list of 100 or more … but how many of those are really worth going out of your way for? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone listed ONLY the good ones?

Well, here I am! This list offers only the best birthday discounts and freebies in the Twin Cities. No empty calories. I made this list with two key factors in mind:

Value Score: This one’s pretty simple: what do you get? We’re only interested in the big deals. Free appetizers and desserts don’t make the cut.

Degree of Difficulty: Almost all of these freebies and discounts require signing up for a club and thus “costs” your email address, but does it require a purchase? How much time have you got to redeem it? If it’s not worth the trouble, it’s not listed here.

This list is being constantly updated. If I’m missing a good deal, let me know and I’ll have a look! Thanks to everyone who has left comments on the site and on social media. Last update: November 1, 2018

1: ACME Comedy Company (Sign up here)
What you get: Four free tickets!
Value Score: 20
Degree of Difficulty: 2
This is the best birthday freebie in the Twin Cities, and it’s not really even close. I’ve never seen a bad show at the ACME, and here you go getting $60 in tix. You can only cash it for Tuesday-Thursday shows, but you have all month to figure that out. Seriously, the only hard part is finding friends who won’t back out at the last second (good luck with that, though).

While you’re at it, their Insider Club gets you into a free show once a month on top of that!

2: Tria (Website)
What you get: A free dessert, and a killer discount on a bottle of wine!
Value Score: 9
Degree of Difficulty: 3
It’s a fancy restaurant in North Oaks, but the prices aren’t as bad as you’re probably thinking. Sweetening the deal: you’ll get a free dessert and a dollar amount equivalent to your new age off a bottle of wine! That new number doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? It’s good within three days before or after your birthday, and requires the purchase of two entrees (thanks Karen!)

3: CARA Irish Pubs (Website and Sign up)
What you get:
 $25 in CARA Pub Cash
Value Score: 7
Degree of Difficulty: 1.5
Um, yeah, so $25 in CARA Pub Cash will buy you a Vincent Burger AND leave you with enough to get a head start on your birthday buzz. The cash gets credited onto your CARA Pub Club card, which means you need a CARA Pub Club card. Check out what you get with it, though! The credit goes on a few days before the big B, and you have a week to spend it once applied. It’s good at any CARA Pub, and you can see the locations on the CARA website. (Read my Cooper Pub review here)

4. First Avenue/7th St. Entry/Turf Club (Concert Calendar)
What you get: Two free tickets to a show
Value Score: 13+
Degree of Difficulty: 4
First Avenue offers a free concert ticket for you and a friend on your birthday, even if the show is sold out. On top of that, once you’re in, you’re given a ticket for a free bottle of champagne. If it was good enough for Prince, it’s good enough for you (thanks Alison!).

And hey: if you don’t like any shows that night on the main stage, don’t sweat. This deal works at the 7th St. Entry and Turf Club, too!

5a. Red Cow (Sign up here)
What you get: A free burger!
Value Score: 5
Degree of Difficulty: 1
Look in your inbox a few days before your birthday and BOOM! You’ve got three weeks after you receive the email to cash the coupon, and it’s good at any location. The only way this gets easier is if they mail you the damn burger. You have to be a member of their e-club, but they toss you a $10 gift certificate right away when you sign up. That’s almost another free burger right there! (Read my Red Cow review here)

5b: Red Rabbit (Sign up here)
What you get: A free pizza!
Value Score: 5
Degree of Difficulty: 1
The brains behind Red Cow grew the brand with Red Rabbit, a sister restaurant serving pasta and pizza. What does Italian food have to do with rabbits, you ask? THAT’S THE WRONG QUESTION TO ASK! You’re here to find out what freebies you get for your birthday and at Red Rabbit, it’s a free pizza (thanks, Nichole!). It’s a different e-club than Red Rabbit’s, but the same process: your freebie is emailed to you, and you’ve got three weeks from its arrival to cash it. (Read my Red Rabbit review here)

7: Cherokee Tavern (Website)
What you get: Free 10-oz steak, or tuxedo chicken dinner
Value Score: 5
Degree of Difficulty: 4
This requires more premeditation than the other freebies, but you cannot miss it. The Thursday of the week of your birthday, bring a friend who’s willing to spend at least $15.95 and you get your steak or chicken on the house. No email club, just bring your ID and your most reliable friend/s. Take no chances. (Read my Cherokee Tavern review here)

8: Lindey’s Prime Steak House (Sign up here)
What you get: A gift certificate for $25
Value Score: 5
Degree of Difficulty: 3
That’s enough for a steak! Two things to consider, though: 1) the certificate comes in the mail, which leaves you SOL if the wind gets a hold of the mailbag on its way to your house; and 2) you’ve got a two-week time frame, within seven days before or after your birthday. You might already have a lot planned. Well, cancel one. You can’t miss this. (Read my Lindey’s review here)

9: Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room (Sign up here)
What you get: A free entree (up to $13)
Value Score: 5
Degree of Difficulty: 2
So you’re reading the sign-up page like “Yeah, yeah, I’ve read all this 20 times today,” and then you see something that just about knocks your ass out of your chair. That’s no joke: you get a gift from Craft and Crew Hospitality on your birthday, and you get another one on your half-birthday. And don’t sleep on that 5 percent cash back you get on every dollar spent at their locations.

Craft and Crew Hospitality has a few restaurants under their umbrella, but I’m pointing you specifically to Stanley’s for their tap list and dog patio. Don’t forget to grab a drink up at Al’s Place. (Read my Stanley’s review here)

10: Free Cheeseburgers (Sign-up for Red Robin, Crooked PintRuby Tuesday)
Value Score: 2.5-3
Degree of Difficulty: 1-2
Red Robin burgers are perfectly fine, thank you very much, and did you know they offer unlimited French fries?! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! You get the coupon emailed to you toward the start of your birthday month (so, yep, more e-clubs) and you’ve got all month to use it. Same with Ruby Tuesday: their burgers are okay, and you’re emailed a voucher that covers your first $11. Crooked Pint e-mails you – not just a free cheeseburger – a free Juicy Lucy! Minnesota stand up!

11: Jersey Mike’s (Sign up here)
What you get: A free sub AND a free drink!
Value Score: 4
Degree of Difficulty: 1
From the site, “Every year on your provided birth date, we will send you a one-time use coupon for a free regular sub and 22oz fountain drink. The offer is valid anytime for the next year.(!!!) Your Email Club subscription must be confirmed at least 24 hours before your birthday to ensure your receive the offer.” Do it! Now! Jersey Mike’s makes a legit sub. Don’t be the idiot who has to wait another 300-some days.

12: Denny’s (Website)
What you get: Free grand slam!
Value Score: 4
Degree of Difficulty: 2
You just need your ID and it needs to be on your birthday. If you’re just waking up and you’ve a Denny’s nearby, aces. Order extra stuff. Pay $4 and get a table of food. Drink their glorious tar-coffee until you’ve got lightning coming out of your fingertips. Denny’s.

13. Pazzaluna (Website
What you get: A free dessert, and a $25 gift certificate for your next visit (with free valet).
Value Score: 5
Degree of Difficulty: 3
This is more like a thank you gift for having a birthday dinner here, but hey! I’m not complaining about a free $25. It won’t cover an entire meal, but it’ll come close. Just stop in during the week of your birthday, and enter your information onto an iPad at the end of your meal. Your gift certificate will be in your mailbox within a few weeks, and doesn’t expire for a year!

Free valet might not sound like a big deal, but have you ever tried parking in Lowertown? Free valet is a big deal.

Last: Wild Bill’s (Website)
What you get: Ten minutes hunched over a toilet and a brutal hangover, most likely.
Value Score: Oh boy.
Degree of Difficulty: I don’t even know how to score this.
Bring four friends to Wild Bill’s on the Friday of your birthday week and be showered in free drinks, a free boot mug, a free birthday shot, and a birthday toast! They call it “Buck Wild Birthday Fridays” but we’re a little too old for this, right?

Right?

(Unsettling silence)

A breakfast meal with hashed browns, eggs, bacon, ham, and toast
Grand Slam, Denny’s, made grander

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
The Comments Section of This Post
I’ve had some great readers post links to other birthday freebies and discounts. Many of them didn’t make the cut, but it doesn’t hurt to have a look since you’re already here. Big shout out to Mark, who left some highlight-worthy deals down there.

Caribou Coffee (Sign up here)
What you get:
Free coffee! 
Value Score:
 5
Degree of Difficulty: 1.5
Caribou Coffee’s birthday program is straightforward: sign up for the club and get a free coffee in your email.

Grizzly’s (Sign up here)
What you get: A free entree, up to $12.99
Value Score: 4
Degree of Difficulty: 7
There’s only one Grizzly’s in the metro area, though, and it’s in Plymouth. To complicate matters, this offer is only good on your birthday. If you’re in the west ‘burbs and you’ve got a meal slot free that day, killer burgers and a criminally-underrated tap beer list await you at Grizzly’s. (Read my Grizzly’s review here)

CRAVE (Sign up here)
What you get: $25 $15 off a $50 meal
Value Score: 3
Degree of Difficulty: 10
The loyalty sign-up page finally works again, but the discount got nerfed! Is $15 off a $50 tab worth it? It depends on how much you CRAVE. Me? I’m most interested in the ANY-versary 15-percent discount. That could be a more worthy reward in the long run.

Benihana (Sign up here)
What you get: A $30 gift certificate!
Value Score: 5
Degree of Difficulty: 10
Thanks to Carrie Moritz for pointing this one out. Members of Benihaha’s Chef’s Table club get a $30 gift certificate emailed to them during the month of their birthday, which is awesome … but there are so many restrictions on it that GETTING the certificate and USING the certificate have their own separate FAQs on the sign-up page. How complicated is this deal? I made this article almost 10 percent shorter by deleting my explanation. And I ain’t typing that shit again.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Glaring omission: First Avenue will let you and a friend get into any show in “the main room” ON YOUR ACTUAL BIRTHDAY (((EVEN IF IT IS SOLD OUT))). And, they’ll give you a drink ticket that is good for a well drink, or a bottle of champagne (albeit a cheap champagne). Just show your ID at the door on the day of show to redeem the offer.

  2. Point of clarification: the offer is only good for shows in the main room AT First Avenue- not just any First Ave booked show at other locations.

    • Point of clarification. This works at the Mainroom, 7th Street Entry our Turf Club. But not other shows where they act as promoter but don’t own the venue.

  3. Unfortunately the Downtowner car wash has been bought out by Mister Carwash recently, and no longer offers birthday washes. That was the best part of driving home from work on my birthday :(

  4. I’ve been collecting birthday freebies for years, here are some additional Birthday Freebies that you missed:

    Au Bon Pain – Free Sandwhich
    http://aubonpain.com/eclub
    Bruegger’s Bagels – Free Bagel
    https://www.brueggers.com/eclub/
    Sbarro – Free Slice of pizza
    https://www.sbarro.com/eclub/
    Chammps – Free Mile High Ice Cream Pie
    http://champps.com/mvp-league/
    Kona Grill – $15 Gift Certificate
    http://www.konagrill.com/join-konavore
    Panera Bread – Free Pastry
    https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/mypanera/registration-page.html
    Jamba Juice – Free Medium Drink
    http://www.jambajuice.com/campaign/insider.html
    Perkins – Free Magnificent Seven
    http://prkmc.fbmta.com/members/UpdateProfile.aspx?Action=Subscribe&_Theme=45097156841&InputSource=W
    Auntie Anne’s Pretzels – Free Pretzel
    http://www.auntieannes.com/my-pretzel-perks-app
    Hooters – 10 Free Boneless Wings
    https://www.hooterseclub.com/
    Ben & Jerry’s – Free Scoop of Ice Cream
    https://secure.benjerry.com/about-us/contact-us?selectedForm=newsletter#selectForm
    Firehouse Subs – Free Medium Sub
    https://www.firehousesubs.com/firehouse-rewards/
    Country Kitchen – Free Meal up to $10
    http://www.countrykitchenrestaurants.com/eclub/
    Houlihan’s – Free Entrée up to $15
    http://www.houlihans.com/email-club
    Green Mill – Free 1-Topping Deep Dish Pizza
    http://www.greenmill.com/rewards/
    Stanley’s/The Howe Kitchen/Pub 819/The Bar Draft House – Free Entrée at any of the 4 restaurants up to $13 (works on your half birthday too)
    http://loyalty.focuspos.com/craftncrew/
    Crooked Pint Ale House – Free Jucy Lucy
    https://www.crookedpint.com/rewards/

  5. The carwash deal is back on! It is now called Waterwerks and the Golden Valley location at 901 Louisiana Ave S gives a free basic carwash on your bday when you show your ID

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