Why a Massachusetts Bar Decided to Accept Monopoly Money
Ralph's Tavern in Worcester thinks it deserves a space on the city's Monopoly board.
Despite its classic design and enduring pastel color palette, Monopoly money usually isn't good for anything except paying off your least favorite cousin when you land on one of his railroads. But that changed for two glorious hours on Wednesday night, when a bar in Worcester, Massachusetts accepted those Hasbro-printed bills as payment for drinks and snacks.
According to Boston.com, Ralph's Tavern is trying to ensure that it gets a square on an upcoming Worcester edition of Monopoly, and it thought this would be a good way to get attention and make its case.
Between 4 and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Ralph's customers could pay $5 in Monopoly money to get into the bar, then cash in $10 for a hot dog, $20 for a non-alcoholic Jell-O shot, and $50 to enter a raffle for some assorted swag. Ralph's also encouraged its patrons to dress up like Mr. Monopoly, the game's monocle-wearing mascot, or to BYOMP (Bring Your Own Monopoly Pieces).
"A friend of mine, Eric, works here part-time, so he came up with this idea, and initially I was a little hesitant," Scott Bove, the owner of Ralph's Tavern, told the outlet. "I was like, it sounds kind of corny, but then it took off." He added that the bar isn't allowed to give alcoholic beverages away for free (or even for board game-tender) so those Jell-O "shots" didn't contain anything stronger than the dessert's own artificial flavoring.
It seems like Ralph's should have a strong case for making that all-Worcester game, since it's been open for going on 90 years. "We were the first bar room that opened up after prohibition in 1934, so we're the oldest tavern on Shrewsbury Street," Bove told WCVB.
There are only 34 spaces on the Worcester-themed board up for grabs, so it's no surprise that they'd be hotly contested in the community. "It's a point of pride, I think," Dominique Goyette-Connerty of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce told NBC Boston. "They're not going to do another Worcester edition [until] five years from now, so if you get a space on this board, this is potentially a board game families will have in their game cabinet or in their living room for years to come."
A United Kingdom-based company called Top Trumps USA has gotten the official OK from Hasbro to make "community editions" of Monopoly; it has already made two of them, for Cambridge, Massachusetts and Greenwich, Connecticut. Anyone who wants to submit or recommend a location for the Worcester version can email them (email@example.com) until the end of the day on Friday, June 25.
Whether or not Ralph's Tavern makes the cut, Bove should be set for his next game night: the bar apparently took in $1,800 in Monopoly money on Wednesday.